Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas this year...



 Christmas this year followed family traditions, 
like remembering loved ones
 

 


getting into the festive spirit



and spending time with friends and family.


And one of my favourite photos has to be my granddaughter  
asleep at the table.  I know exactly how she felt, but this
  is only permissable when you are one year old!  
 

 



I hope your own Christmas was peaceful, 
and everything you wished for.



Saturday, 24 December 2011

Twas the night before Christmas...











        Wishing you all a VERY
          happy Christmas and a 
        wonderful year to follow.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Gathering myself together

At the moment I'm finding it hard to focus on Christmas or to get into the spirit.  I won't bore you with details except to say life has been full on and there has been no time for shopping or preparations.  My decorations are still in the loft and hopefully they might see light of day, but I am making no guarentees.  But at least my Christmas cards were finally posted, yesterday.  Which led to the woman at the post office commenting that my card to Australia was a bit early to post for Easter.  If only I could be so organised! 

With a big sigh of relief I finished work today and I am now home for the holiday.  So at least I can try and do some catch up.  I have only bought 3 presents so far and have not even thought of wrapping them.  But I refuse to get stressed over it.  What will be, will be.

For some light relief I visited a couple of blogs this evening and came across two that caught my attention.  First is a new online Scrapbooking class run by Miss Smith at Curiouser and Curiouser.  Just one Sketch costs £5 for 6 weeks, and all proceeds go to GirlGuiding. As a former Brown Owl and Rainbow Leader I am happy to support this cause and anyway, I always find it hard to resist another class.  Even if it is anything like my recent track record, where subscribing is as far as I will get.  Did I mention that so far my JYC pages are blank, blank, blank?

2011 has been a challenging year in many ways and while I am a cup half full person, I am left feeling physically and mentally exhausted.  So, while I don't wish time away I won't be sorry to see this year out.  And that's why I printed Susannah Conway's free workbook 'Unravelling the Year Ahead'.   It invites you to look back on the year and foreward to the next, and it might be what I need right now to help me refocus and to gather myself in. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

MELANIE & MORE MAYHEM

I had such plans for this week.  I have time off work you see, and friends coming Saturday to have a creative day.  I hoped to have my Cabin tidy and organised as this is the long-awaited day when we celebrate my new workspace.
But I didn't count on taking the bookcase out of the house and putting it in the Cabin to make way for the new sofas we have ordered.  So once again the house is in upheaval, and there is an enormous pile of books and boardgames on the lounge floor and half way up the wall.  Goodness knows where they will go now!
And the Cabin is also in a state of mayhem.  Shelving units had to be emptied so they can be replaced by the bookcase, and I have worked solidly for three days trying to organise the space. Of course, rummaging through my craft materials is fun, but it is also proving quite stressful.  I never realised how much I had collected, since I have a habit of not finding what I want and just buying more.  The other day Sian wrote about glue and it made me think about the different types that I use.  And when I gathered them together they filled two boxes boxes, one with assorted tapes and one with glues (shown here) ..... 


And I also found lots of empty Pritt Sticks.  I so hate how you can't get to that last bit in the tube. And so I scraped it out and loaded it into one - result - one nearly full tube.
So, I now have tidy boxes and an endless supply of tapes and glues.  Enough to last me for some time and I shall work on putting it away so I know where to find it in future.  That way I won't feel the urge to buy even more!


And just when my momentum was flagging I had a wonderful and unexpected surprise.  My friend Melanie is over from Australia and she phoned last night and wanted to know if I was free today to meet.  So the Cabin was abandoned and we went to visit 'my girls' as it has been several years since Melanie last saw them.  Fortuantly Unfortuantly Summer & Ivy are off school with throat infections so this meant Melanie was able to see them all.  As always we took a group photo, which caused some laughs as we tried to position ourselves
Summer had made a long cord out of wool and wanted to show it in the photo, so I had to scoop Wren off the floor and do a limbo as the timer on the camera counted down.  Needless to say two attempts were needed but we were happy with the result.  Another photo and story for our memories.

Melanie has gone now and so it is time to go back into the Cabin and carry on.  This really is proving harder and taking longer than I expected, but I need to press on because I know it will be worthwhile in the end.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

10 things on the 10th (November 2011)

It was July when I last posted 10 things on 10th, despite thinking that I'd like to do this regularly.  So I'm pleased to be part of Shimelle's monthly group this time round and to share some random ramblings:

1.  Nearby there is a tearoom at the top of a granary, high in the sky.  It overlooks the watermill and river and it is a tranquil spot where I like to sit and linger over a cup of tea and slice of cake.  Which is what I did today, because I decided this was the perfect place to leave a couple of books that I hope someone might find by chance, and enjoy. 

2.  A week ago you see, I joined BookCrossing.  So I hope that whoever finds the books will record them and that I can follow their travels.  If you have not heard about BookCrossing I have briefly explained it here. I love the sense of surprise so am quite excited about leaving books for others to find in unexpected places.  And I hope I might find the occasional book too!

3. I recently discovered 'Simple Stories', a beautiful collection of papers & elements that are ideal for quick pages or mini albums.  And there are some free digital downloads here that are perfect for the 'starting school books' I plan to make.  Shimelle has been suggesting in her 'Pretty Paper Party' class that you can combine bought and digital papers or elements.  I have done this for a long time and I love being able to mix and match and to expand my materials.

4. While downloading new digital papers and kits I realised just how many I have saved on my computer.  Mmmm.....  along with my boxes of 12x12 and other papers, I cannot possibly work my way through this collection but it does not stop me buying more on a weekly basis!  Jessica Sprauge offers some wonderful bargains on One Buck Wednesday.  Note to self: do NOT buy any more Christmas papers!!

5. A friend has just been given a new camera and she is very excited and keen to use it.  What's more, she has asked if we can get together for some photoshooting fun.  I would love to use manual settings rather than rely on automatic but I am lazy and short of time, so I go for the easy option.  But now I might be inspired to use some of the ecourses I have bought and saved on my computer.  This will give me a basic idea, and then I just need to put it into practice.  I was much inspired by Margie's clever shot where she added two images of each family member in one photo.  I love creative ideas using photos.

6. That's probably why I love programmes such as Picasa, Befunky and Fotosketcher.  All are free downloads with lots of creative ideas that are quick and easy to do.  I have Photoshop but  this takes time and effort to use, so like manual controls on my camera, I often resort to quicker ways of achieving what I want. 
Hopefully one day there will be more time to experiment and play!

7.  I am woefully behind in organising my photos and Project 365. I keep telling myself I should spend time doing this, instead of browsing blogs.  But another hour or two passed this morning as I enjoyed reading different takes on 10 things on the 10th.

8. I have received and sent Mail Art.  I was lucky enough to be the recipient of Sian's Pass the Book and I did not anticipate the envelope to be so thoughtfuly decorated by Deb.  I especially liked the Google map she printed on the back showing her home and mine.  What a brilliant idea!! 
And I loved reading Ginger's post about the Mail Art she has received.  I have decorated envelopes for as long as I can remember, as I have always used opportunities to create and use my imagination.  It is only recently that I discovered it is an art form in its own right and it is lovely to see a focus on sending happy mail as I'm sure I'm not the only one who misses handwritten letters and interesting post arriving through my letter box.  I plan to connect with other Mail Artists and it has been interesting reading the book that Deb sent me.  I have picked up tips and ideas, and I'd love to send out mail to people who appreciate what it is about.  So drop me an email with your address & blog if you would like some post to come your way. 

9.  As much as I love good paper mail, an occasional email brings much joy too.  Over the years I have dipped in and out of tracing my family history but one connection left me completely stuck.  Recently I put a message on Ancestry.com and a wonderful woman has done some research for me and untangled the thread!  I need to follow up her leads now but I am very excited.  At least I know some answers and more questions will follow. Perhaps there will be a story there to tell?

10. Another reason for being excited is that my workspace has made more progress.  It finally has electricity and heating, and I have bought new tables and chairs.  It will remain work in progress as I like to live in space and allow it to naturally evolve, but it is comfortable enough to finally invite friends for a celebration and creative day later this month.  And I hope to start preparing pages for Journal Your Christmas.  I learnt a lot last year about how not to do it, so I hope I can make it less complicated and time consuming this time round.  Only sometimes, I have discovered, I need more than one lesson!!

Now, I am off to look at more '10 things on the 10th' blogs before I snuggle infront of the log burner.  I so love a real fire these dark nights.... 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

BOOKCROSSING

I have been trying to declutter this week.  I have made an impact and feel quite satisfied with the space I have made.  But there is still lots to do and I often look at my piles of books and quickly walk away.  That's because I know there are many I will never read again but I hold on to them 'just in case'.   There is only so many books I can accomodate though and to be honest I really do need to make way for new books that I keep buying.

Books to the ceiling Books to the sky. My pile of books Are a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I'll have a long beard By the time I read them.

Well, I'd be seriously worried if I grew a beard, but you get the idea!  Recently, I have resisted buying paperbacks as I have so many on my shelves unread, but the other day I was intregued by one I saw in a charity shop.  'The Road Home' by Rose Tremain is not the type of book I would usually read, but something drew me to it and I am so glad I am weak willed at times!  The book was thoroughly enjoyable and I recommend it, but it made me think that there could be other books that I might enjoy and would normally pass by.

Fast forward...........

Yesterday, in the midst of organising paperwork, I suddenly remembered BookCrossing:

n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.
Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 2004

So, I immediately left what I was doing, to go find out more and several hours later I was signed up and had registered my first book.  I was buzzing with excitement!

Part of the fun is thinking up somewhere interesting to my 'release' my book.  Airports and railway stations are out as I don't want to cause panic over unattended packages!  Then I thought about our GP surgery, but that would mean someone has to give a donation for charity which is a nice idea, but it is  more fun to leave it in an unexpected place for someone just to find.  And so on Sunday I will pop along to a tearoom and discretely leave it and hope that someone is intrigued enough to  read the label and record the book as 'found'.  How exciting would that be!!  The idea of BookCrossing is that each book is uniquely registered, and that you can track who has read it and it's journey around the world (well, there is no harm in wishful thinking)!   And with that in mind, I feel happy to sort through my book piles and to release some in hope that other people will enjoy reading them and that I might be able to follow some of their travels.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, I am going to my monthly crop.  And to make it doubly exciting I have discovered that someone has hidden a book in the locality.  So guess what I will be doing while the rest of the group are eating their lunch?  Yes... I'll be going around looking under benches for a hidden package!  Ofcourse, there are other BookCrossers so someone may have beaten me to it.    Oh... incase you are wondering, sometimes there are clues or a locaility where books are 'released' while others are just left to chance.  Why has this got me excited?  To quote from the website:

BookCrossing combines serendipity, adventure, altruism and literature in an unique mix that true bibliophiles find irresistible. With its similarity to releasing messages in a bottle, or notes in helium balloons, BookCrossing harkens back fond childhood memories. Also, you can see BookCrossing as a worldwide free library. 

I couldn't put it better!  Now remember, the idea is for me to reduce my book collection and not add to it, but next year I will have great fun releasing books in different locations as we travel around in our campervan and perhaps I'll go on the search for the occasional book too. 

I'd love to hear from any fellow BookCrossers, and if you love books and have not heard of this idea before you may just want to check it out for yourself and join in the fun!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

WOYWW - Post Belstead & Halloween

Well, my bags are still unpacked after a weekend away at Belstead.  I spent time trying to finish the Halloween Tag Books for my grandgirls but Halloween come and went and they still sit on my workspace as work in progress:



Also  on my desk you can see the mini book that I made using an off cut piece of paper that I mentioned here.  In the same post I told how I made the paper, after being inspired by Shimelle's Pretty Papers class.
At Belstead I made handmade paper and I dared myself to cut into this and new 12" papers.  After all, Halloween was approaching and I was getting prepared for taking risks!

But would I feel tricked or treated after I had mustered up my courage.....?



What do you think?  I was extremely pleased with the finish wallet and album, and I will be taking many more risks in future, Halloween or not!  There are lots of hidden pages and pockets and I am not quite sure yet what I will put in the book.  I will keep it a while until an idea emerges but any suggestions are welcome!  And I'll also be using many more scraps and strips to make my own papers.  Idea's are bouncing into my head and I just wish that life did not get in the way of creative time.

Have a good week what ever you are doing.  And do pop over to Julia's if you have time to see more 'What's on your workdesk' this Wednesday.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

BELSTEAD..... FUN WHILE IT LASTED

I'm home after another 3 days at Belstead and how I wish I could have stayed longer!  My creative energy bounced back and the time went even quicker than usual, so I am left frustrated as I started new projects that I want to work on.  Such is life.  Some of these are packed away until until Saturday and I can atleast look forward to my monthly Eclectic Keepsakes crop.  And I am off work all week, so I really should not feel too sorry for myself.  At least I have time to start on some major decluttering and rearranging around the house.  This is something long over due and it will eventually allow me more time for creating and crafting,  so I need to use that as my motivation.

Belstead gives me an opportunity to spend more time with my friends and I was extra excited this time as I met  Pauline, my 'Explore' Buddy.  I'd told Pauline about Belstead and she lost no time in booking a place for herself...... and it was like she had always been part of our group.  Pauline only started scrapbooking this year but she seriously has some stash and a natural talent!  We already have plans to meet up again soon, so thanks, Shimelle, for the introduction. 

As I said, most of the things I made at Belstead are works in progress so I will share these over time, but I was especially excited about this:


Moira, our tutor, had laid the table with acrylic paints and dyes for us to get messy with.  So I stamped on one, and used finger and hand prints on the others.  Four of us at Belstead are doing Shimelle's new class, Pretty Papers.  I was in good company because none of us had started any of the daily prompts but this was the day to bite the bullet.  My friends reminded me that we are meant to be using our papers and that my idea of taking my hand made paper home to scan was not the idea.  So I gritted my teeth as I cut into 2 of them!

Then I took a 12" paper that I do not like, and used the plain white side as my base.  I then used scraps and the strips to decorate my paper.  Moira loves her sewing machine and much of her work is multi media.  So, admiring her work I added zig zag and straight stitches to my strips and I must say, it really made a difference to the effect.

Then I measured,  closed my eyes, gritted my teeth even more, and cut into it!!  My bravery was holding up, and I was amazed how just by reading the daily prompts, Shimelle had changed my perspective on using paper rather than stroking it or saving it for that extra-special project.  After all, I told myself, my time is worth something and that should be reason enough to use my paper!  I added a few stamped words onto the A4 piece and then laminated the page.  To finish, I applied spray adhesive on the back, added a piece of felt, and then sewed across the top edge.  Finally, I folded into three to make a wallet, and used the sewing machine to run a line of stitching down each side and across the top of the flap.  

These instructions may not be clear without detailed instructions, so if you would like me to add these please let me know.  Unfortantly I am feeling pressured for time and really do need to make an impact around the house this week.

With the 4"x12" piece that was left of my paper, I made a mini album to fit inside wallet.  This was a labour of love, as it seemed to take hours and I was impatient to finish so that I could start other projects.  But I was pleased with the result and I will have to show this another time as I just realised I have no photos of it as yet.

So, a big thank you to Shimelle for helping be break my resistance to cut into paper.  It became a bit of a joke around the table as I took other complete 12" papers and cut into them, sometimes six or ten papers at a time.  It felt a sense of relief and was very liberating!  I'll share more of what I made another time.  Including the Halloween tag books that are still work in progress!

And an equally big thank you to Moira Neal for running such amazing courses at Belstead.  Moira never ceases to amaze me with her range of ideas and techniques.  And I'm already booked for the next two in February and November.  If you want to come book soon - places are already limited!!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Good Mail Day




Lately I don't seem able to catch my breath...  
life seems to be moving at such a pace.
And I am doing far too much of this:













               .......... and not enough of this!







And so imagine my delight when I arrived home from work and found this amazing envelope on my doorstep! 
I was lucky to receive it, because Deb was desperately rather sad to part with it!! This is part of the Pass the Book exchange, created by the very talented and generous Sian.

I hope Deb is not tooooo... sad though.
  Because I have just looked at her
latest post and she has also
received a Pass the Book.  And what is more, it is one that I also received  and reluctantly passed on.  So this is a coincidence and time for celebration, and a reminder that what goes round comes round.

I am still dashing and have a hall pcked with boxes and bags.  I am off on a 3 day creative retreat, you see.  I am making books about Me, Me, Me!!!  Ideally it should include photos and I tend to delete more of myself than I save, so this should be an interesting project.  I am packing my Explore album,  there is barely 2 pages done and this fits in well with the residential theme.  Hopefully I will come home relaxed and creatively challenged satisfied.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

INK ON MY FINGERS.....

Last week saw me at my monthly crop and feeling extra excited because Sue Plymton came to show us how to use Tim Holtz Distress Inks.  While I have started to collect a range of colours I have never learnt how to use them properly or how to create the layers. So, I was all attention and eager to experiment, this is how: 
 
1.  I inked a small piece of card using two complimentary colours, in this example I used Frayed Burlap and Dried Marigold:



2.  Using white acrylic paint, I stamped a scroll design.


3.  Then the next layer.
Now... this is where my learning took a leap, because although I have a large collection of inks and stamps I have never learnt techniques or how to be creative with them.  So learning about 'second generation' of inking was new to me.  If it is new to you too, here is a quick explanation:

First generation - Ink your stamp and stamp onto your project. 
Second Generation - Ink your stamp, but this time stamp onto scrap paper, and then onto your project without re-inking.  This creates a lighter image and you can use the first stamp for another project so nothing goes to waste!
You can go on to create Third or Fourth generation images by stamping multiple times on a scrap piece of paper before stamping it on your project. Each will give you a lighter image, and this is a great way of adding depth to your project.  It means you can use one colour ink but create different shades, brilliant!  Trying to match my colours was always a problem, but no longer.  From now on, just one ink will do!

So getting back to my project....  I added a Second Generation background stamp:



And to finish, a First Generation stamp.  You can see here how it is a little darker than the background image, using the same colour ink:


To finish I added a little ink around the edges.........  and I got the bug for more:








This may be a stamping technique that you are familiar with, but it was new and exciting to me, so I thought it worth sharing.


And while browsing the internet I found another stamping technique I thought I'd pass on.  It again uses generation stamping and involves inking the back and the front of an acrylic stamp.

Go here for the tutorial and if you have any stamping tips and ideas of your own, please do share! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

WOYWW - Time to unwind... finally!

My workspace has been neglected, birthdays overlooked and cards sent late.  I hang my head in shame....

I'm trying I can get back on top of things and catch up with some creative work.  I have my monthly crop to look forward to and a three day residential booked at the end of the month.  The prospect of a week off work soon adds to my excitement because I so need time to unwind and catch up with friends!  Meanwhile I have made a birthday card (this one was delivered on time!) and pages for the Log Book that I have mentioned in previous posts.
So that's what's on my workspace this Wednesday, a long with two postcards sent by friends.  I LOVE receiving that kind of post, don't you?



Here's a few photos of our first trip in the campervan.  We didn't have time to go far, but we found a lovely farm, cracked open a bottle of champagne and were lulled to sleep by the hoot of an owl.  Next morning I had breakfast in bed and a walk along the estuary before driving home.  Much of the area around here is salt marsh and I love the way the sea makes inlets and sculptures the land.  It is a landscape rich in birdlife especially overwintering geese, with an assortment of boats that add colour and character.  I never tire of it. And finally I can  start filling out the pages in our Log Book.  Yay!!  Life is returning to 'normal' whatever that is.
And if you are interested, this post shows the campervan in it's making ......


Have you been having this wonderful weather?  If so  I hope you managed to enjoy it while it lasted.  It is forecast to be on the turn now but what an unexpected treat - 28 degrees in October! Just perfect for our first weekend away.

And to see what other people have on their workspace this Wednesday, go over to Julia's page here, and have a good week what ever you have planned.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Creating........ a CAMPERVAN

Where did September go? 

For me it was a month filled with frustration, with measures of patience and persistence that I did not know I possessed.  The promise of a campervan never materialised.  We made so many trips to the converters that our car eventually drove itself, and Mr Converter commented ‘if I see any more of you Sandie we’ll have to get married’.  My LSNED pages lay empty on my workspace, and most days were filled with the mundane and mediocre, exhaustion and exasperation.

But there were sprinklings of special days of course.... such as my husband & granddaughter's shared birthday.  So there was a gathering at the weekend and then a lovely day spent with my daughter, followed by roller skating after school.  And our much enjoyed holiday to North Wales.  Even the wind and the rain could not temper our spirits!

And while thinking about how to write this post I visited Julie Ann Shahin's blog.   And I wondered about serendipity again because she relates a wonderful story told by Andrea Scher, which I thought was just beautiful.  Andrea says that :


 "Buddists believe that when a lot of things are going wrong all at once,
it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born,
and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be
                                                                born as perfectly as possible"

Did this relate to our Campervan?

Because with September's passing we FINALLY have possession !!

And I can reveal the story of it’s making...





Take one van and dismantle........

Cut strategic holes

Spray colour of choice










  
          Then start to assemble.....

          Line with carpet for insulation
          & comfort

          add windows

          flooring










and a roof.








                Build furniture......

                add a sink,

                water,

                toilet and

                electric.


                                                
                                                                                                  And finally...........       
 
           fit seats, newly
           upholstered in rosy red. 










                                                                           
                                                                                And here it is!  


I could come up with a string of metaphores to describe our experience, and truth be told, this has been like a bad pregnancy and difficult birth.  But most parents eventually forget the trials and tribulations and soon become besotted with their new off spring.

At the moment I am trying to think of a name for our camper.  Something that will roll off the tongue and give rise to interesting ideas and projects.  I've already mentioned that I plan to have a Log Book to record our overnight trips and camps.  I'm sure a name will spring to mind when my mind is quieter.  But if you have any suggestions they'll be greatly welcomed, because I know there are a lot of creative and clever minds among my blog readers and friends.  And I will offer a small giveaway if I choose one of the names suggested.

We finally accepted the camper on Saturday and we lost no time in having a night away.  Hopefully we can start to get back into a normal routine again, and catch up on all the other things that have been neglected along the way.  At the moment our excitement is still slightly marred by exhaustion and the amount of effort needed to bring this together, but like new parents, we will soon catch up on sleep and I'm already making plans of where we shall go and what we will do.

Oh, and by the way, I'm making space for some creative stuff to take along.... of course!!


Sunday, 2 October 2011

One dark morning.....

Every month Sian tells a story. Sometimes I join in, mostly I just read other peoples.  But this month Sian's story immediately took me back to an experience many years ago and I thought I'd share it.
 
I had a horse that I kept on a local farm and while I was feeding him I suddenly felt a presence.  It was early hours and still dark, so I was surprised that anyone would be around.  But I glimpsed a man looking over the stable door and then he disappeared.   I looked to see who it was, and saw a  man walk down the yard and through a five bar gate.  I thought it might be my imagination or a trick of light, and just assumed it had been the farmer moving around.

A little later I saw the housekeeper and she told me that Mr Butcher had not been out yet this morning.  He  was feeling meloncony because it was his deceased son's birthday that day.  I never told them about my experience and to this day I wonder about it.  It felt so real, and too much of a coincidence for it to be my imagination.  I'm a pretty grounded sort of person and not one for flights of fancy, so I'm happy to think it was the farmers son, popping round to see his dad. 

If you want to read more stories, just follow Sian's link above.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

WOYWW - WORK IN PROGRESS !

What's on your workdesk Wednesday?

Mine is a clutter from the monthly crop, still to be put away.  But I had to clear space to make a wedding card.

Next to it is an experiment - I inked the embossing pad before putting it through the Big Shot and this coloured the background, leaving the raised part white.  I quite like the effect but need to practice getting the ink more even.  Any tips?






Next on my workspace is my LSNED page.  I've only done 3 so far!!  I took the pages a long to the crop and managed to prepare some backgrounds, at least that will help in the catch up. 

And also taking space is the Log Book I took on holiday.  It was something I planned to start when we have the campervan but as I had prepared the book I took it anyway.  There are a stack of leaflets to add but I plan to keep it simple.  Perhaps that should be my lesson for todays LSNED!


Hope your workspace is full of good things.  Go over to Julia's to see what other's are busy with.

Monday, 12 September 2011

CAMPING WITHOUT A CAMPER....

Oh yes, we did camp without a camper!   But it was no surprise because despite all the promises and reassurance we knew it would not be ready in time.  Not to be defeated we packed the new drive-away awning that we had bought and set off for north Wales.  And true to form it lived up to my expectation, for it was wild, wet and windy much of the time.  The men did a grand job of putting up the tent in the rain, while I took refuge inside and pegged out the ground sheet and inner tents!

Despite the weather we had a grand time.  It had been Marc's idea to go to Wales.  He wanted to share some of the places he has been, since we were put off north Wales after our last wet and windy experience many years ago.  But this time we went prepared with good footwear and waterproofs.  The tent performed extremely well under the conditions and the site was just perfect.  We were surrounded by beautiful sceenery and the light and clouds changed constantly.  There was a pub on site that sold good food and real ale, and a small railway station with steam trains pulling in 4 times a day.  Add owls hooting throughout the night, and good amenities, what more could we want?  Other than warm dry evenings so we could BBQ perhaps?  But snug inside the tent playing scrabble was just as much fun and we did everything we planned except go on a cable car and walk out to South Stack Lighthouse.  Both were closed due to high winds.  But there were also breaks in the weather, and the changing skies added to the atmosphere and dramatic sceenery .  I will let the photo's speak for themselves.

And perhaps I won't leave it so long to return to north Wales next time!







Wednesday, 31 August 2011

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES.......

Well, I have finally started to move into my new work space!  I began to wonder if the day would ever arrive and   I will eventually buy a new work table and storage but for now I will try out the space and see what I want to do with it.   And I lost no time in making two books to take on holiday.  These will be used to record our travels and there was no time for elaborate works of art.  But at least I managed to put some pages together and add envelopes for storage and notes.

 
We are currently having a motor camper built, you see.  Another long term plan finally achieved.  Well, nearly... because at the moment it looks like this:


I am assured it will be ready for our holiday.  Let's say we are on a very tight schedule and I am trying hard to hold onto my optimism! 

I recently read about someone who kept a log book, recording the travels in his campervan.  After collecting these for a number of years he decided to add photos and have the pages professionally bound into volumes.  What a lovely idea, I thought.  And so I plan to record brief notes daily and I will add leaflets and things we collect, adding photos when we get home.  I won't have mine professionally bound since I like making my own books, but I like the idea of recording our travels.  We have lots of ideas planned for the future but first we  will be heading for north Wales.  And of course, I shall take a small kit with me because I will have a another new workspace to try out!!  

Here at Julia's you can see see what others are busy with.  Have a good week, what ever you are doing.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Dear.........

Dear Favourite Son, thank you for the hours spent on Sunday trying to sort out the problems on my computer.  For showing that it is not just me that gets frustrated with Google sign-in when it constantly signs-out.  For managing my anxiety when you suggested deleting 8000+ photos from my hard drive.  For patiently explaining that when I delete photos they sit in a Recycle Bin.  I did not know I have to delete them from there also.  Is this why my computer has been running so slow do you think?  In high esteem, yours eternally grateful.   Dear Heart, can you please explain the nails that protrude in each the corner of the door frame?  Are they yet another unfinished renovation project, or a sign that you are releasing your creativity?  Yours in admiration.  Dear Brian the plumber, thank you for coming round so promptly to do the work in the utility room.  I thought you had been excessively busy, or on an extended world cruise.  Yours in appreciation.  Dear Heart, when I said we needed to rein in our spending I meant with stocking the wine cellar and the fine dining.  I did not mean with essential house renovations.  Next time can we compare lists of his and her priorities?  PatientlyYours.    Dear Granddaughter, when I suggested we camped out in the garden I did not mean build a raised platform with a ladder, and covering the ceiling with stars.  I admire your 7 year old vision, especially the bit about making planets and hanging them from the ceiling.  Did I mention that room is my new craft space?  Besottedly yours.  Dear Alexa, I'm pretty sure food colouring would work a treat as an art medium. You could also try tea and coffee, preferably without the milk.  And I hear red wine is good too, though I prefer to drink mine. Yours in understanding.  Dear Campervan Builder, thank you for not running off with our money.  No, seriously.  I began to wonder if you were sunning yourself somewhere at our expense.  We have a deadline and a holiday of our own planned.  Please deliver on time.  Trustingly yours.











This post was inspired by Alexa, and originally by Em at Todays Letters.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

SHAKING A LEG

How do you manage the mundane?  Usually I find time to create, meet with friends, or do something to change my sceenery or routine.  But I've not been able to do these things because even on my days off I have been busy working just to keep one step ahead.  So every day has felt much like the last.  And today, while my body demanded rest, I was lurred to the shoe shop by my daughter.  I always like to catch up with her when I have a chance, and spending time with my granddaughters is something I can never resist. 

Even on days when they are buying new school shoes. 

Even when my body is saying 'have a quiet day doing nothing', and I'd rather someone wait on me, hand and foot.   Here's why:


 Wren goes exploring while her mum turns her back



  


Summer & Ivy admire shoes and try out boots.

They certainly keep us on our toes!

Then it's time to head to MacDonalds for lunch and a play before heading home.

  






And now back home it's finally time to put my feet up and unwind.

A restful day?

No....   but I wouldn't have it any other way.  There will be plenty of other days for creating and relaxing. 

What have you done to give your day a lift?




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