Month: October 2010

Scrapbooking December – part 2

Here are first half of the base or ‘front’ day pages of the album I have made to document December a la Ali Edwards. I decided to go with a reindeer theme dotted through the album because I seemed to have lots of them in my stash of christmas goodies and it stopped me going with my usual star or snowflake theme. Although there are still are some stars and snowflakes scattered about as I can’t resist.  

Day one, on the left of the picture above, is a plain A5 acetate cut down to size and stamped with white Stazon ink and the snowflake from Tim Holtz mini holidays images.

Day two is a last years Basic Grey christmas card stock with an Making Memories ‘Noel’ number. The reverse, which you can see in the photo below, is old K and Company paper.

Day three is a baseball card page protector cut vertically into three sections. I bought these on the ‘big trip’ as I couldn’t find them here in the UK. I was really pleased with my modification of these protectors. The ‘three’ is stamped onto more of the Basic Grey card stock that I punched out with a scalloped circle punch.

Day four is simply kraft cardstock covered half over with red cardstock and I stamped the Tim Holtz reindeer stamp in Tim’s distress ink Walnut Stain.

Day five is more old K and Company paper adhered to red card stock with a star tag stamped with the number 5. I attatched the star with a jade green brad and on the reverse, as seen below, I put a reindeer brad to cover the back of the green one.

Day six is a narrow piece of plain white cardstock with a strip of the flocked acetate. And Day 7, you can just see it behind the six, is the second of the baseball card protectors cut down to size.

Day eight is more red cardstock with some more very old paper attached and the number stamped onto Basic Grey basics lined paper with a bow brad above. This brad was one of a set of fancy christmas brads I think from K and Company about four years ago. And even though I’ve taken my time using them up they are great. really fun and special. Watch for more on other pages.

Day nine is another plain acetate stamped with red stazon and a little star stamp. The 9 is stamped onto a star tag and attached with a red brad. I’m really pleased how these home made acetates turned out.

Day ten is red card stock cut smaller than the album. I love that you can see through to get a sneak of the next page when you use smalled front pages. The adorable reindeer charm is, again, from an old set. He is too cute and I’ve been saving him for a special project. The reverse side, seen below, is more basics ledger paper from Basic grey.

Day eleven is a simple narrow piece with more circle paper and a punched circle stamped with the number.

Day twelve is a piece of the red flocked acetate and a tag stamped with the number. I so love that flocked acetate.

I apologise that I don’t have the exact names of the products or that most of the supplies used are old.  To me using up what I have form projects like this is half the fun. I’ll post days 13 – 15 soon.

Things that go bite in the night

On my reading list this year has been the Sookie Stackhouse series of books by Charlaine Harris. My obsession with Vampires did not start there though. No. Actually I have been in denial about having an obsession with vampire’s. But when you examine the evidence it’s pretty hard to even try to deny it.

It all started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 90’s. The show was stuck on BBC 2 at 6pm and I watched the first couple of episodes then lost interest, only to have it stirred again when I was visiting my sister’s house and her 13 year old daughter was watching it. Oh my. I thought to myself and tried not to drool over the gorgeous looking hunk. I was hooked again after seeing Angel. Inspired choice of name. Oh, Angel.

I was out of their demographic but who cares. I loved it and was an avid viewer right up until the series where Willow lost it and romance went awol and I gave up on Buffy. But it was the lure of the love story that really captured my attention. Not the fangs or the beauty that was Angel. It was the romance.

And romance brings me to my next vampire fix. Twilight! Ah, Edward. I see a theme emerging here. Younger good looking guy who will love me and live forever………hmmm.

Anyway, back to Twilight.   

I have to credit a couple of USA bloggers for introducing me to this story. As I read on their blogs about their trips to see the first film. Thanks Cathy and Ali. Then I saw a trailer and thought… oooo, love story. That sounds like me. My niece, now 22, and I went to see the film and our obsession was born. Okay, there is a Rob factor to our obsession but also the love story.

I devoured the books and waited for the next film, the soundtrack, the next film and I sit waiting still for the last one to be filmed. Can’t wait. No really. Can’t. Wait.

So see, it’s the love story not the vampire story that I’m into. Except I can’t sell that one on the Sookie books now can I? Oh don’t get me wrong there is romance, well a teeny bit. But mainly it’s a bit gory and bloody and full of sex and supernatural stuff and a good entertaining, escapist read. I’m waiting a while before I read the latest one, book 10. I have high hopes of more romance for Sookie and Eric in that one and I don’t want to be disappointed!

Now, did I hear there’s a new series of The Vampire Diaries………

I’m busy doing nothing……..

So yesterday was all about the new addition to our household and how I’m trying to remain calm and happy that he’s a little cutie and work through any issues with him and us! 

But as well as the new pooch coming into my life, another big thing is happening to me right now too.

I, am about to be jobless. Gulp.

I’ve worked for the same employer for the last 20+ years. And in the same job for the last 11 years. I work for the ‘government’. I am a good old civil servant. Well, we all know that budgets are being cut and jobs are going and I have decided to jump ship before the axe falls. So at the end of the month I’m unemployed.

It was time. Time for a change. Time for a fresh start or at least the glimmer of one, the idea of one, the dream of one. And even though I’m a teensy bit terrified it feels right. So, that’s the positive.

The negative? Well there are plenty of those. What if I can’t get another job? What if I hate any job I find? What if I just want to stay at home and look after my new pup. Or maybe my brain has turned to mush, like I always suspected after doing the same job for 11 years, and I don’t get any interviews.

What I know I must remember during the next few days and weeks however, is that I’m lucky to have the opportunity to be paid for leaving the job and that this is an amazing opportunity. I acknowledge that, even though I’m scared. I am turning the page on an unwritten chapter in my life. A chapter that, if I’m brave enough and dig out some gumption, I can make it what I want it to be.

I’ve had a tricky couple of years personally speaking and plans and hopes I had didn’t happen so now I have made a concious decison to do life differently and I need to remember that I can do it and I will do it, whatever ‘it’ turns out to be.

Please keep your hands inside the car…….

The following entry are just a few thoughts from the past week –

Sunday 17 October – Standing on the edge again. We are about to collect a pooch from Dogs Trust. I didn’t think I’d be ready for this yet giving a home to a little abandoned dog is a good thing.

But I’m worrying. I have all the past expereinces with Lewis to sit festering in my head making me worry more. I know some of the things that that can happen when you take on a dog. Not all, there’s more unknown stuff as well as known. And I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we are doing the right thing. The right thing for us – to have purpose again of some sort. The right thing for him.

But in my totally selfish nature I am dreading all that hard work and worry and all of those unknowns.

I remember with my adorable Lew it took months before we all found out pattern together. Maybe that was our fault for being soft. Maybe it just takes time.

So we will see. I feel guilty I’m not just exited. I feel guilty about Lew and I feel sad that there are so many dogs out there that get abandoned.

We will soon find out patterns again and that looking after someone again I’m sure we will. One breath and one day at a time.

Thursday 21 October – I was amazingly positive last SUnday, for me, even when I didn’t feel positive. So here we are at day four of living with the new pup. All week, since I collected him on Monday, thoughts have rolled around my head and I have pondered posting about the adventure os far. He is adorable and cute and full of energy, he’s 7 months old, so he should be. He is also the spitting image of Lewis!

How did that happen? Honestly when we looked at him on Saturday we just thought he was sweet we did not see a resemblance at all. But the longer I look at him now the more Lewis I see. Apart from the fact that of course he isn’t Lewis.

So how has it gone? Really we don’t have anything to complain about with him so far. His previous owner trained him to stay downstairs at night and we’ve kept that up – miracles happen, and he lays on his bed when I’m upstairs. He really is very good.

Of course there are a few issues. He’s a food monster right down to picking everything up off the street and he jumps up all the time but we will sort them out. I’m staying positive.

Worst of all though? I miss my sleep! I’m getting up between 6 and 7AM! I’d forgotten that part of the deal with pooches. Can’t linger in bed till 9am.

But really look at that face. I need to get a grip he’s a treasure and we should be thanking our lucky stars but you know me (well okay you don’t yet but work with me) I always worry that the worst might happen and forget to enjoy the now.

We will soon find out patterns again and that looking after someone again I’m sure we will. One breath and one day at a time.

Sunday 24 October – Almost a week in. And things are okay I guess with the poochy. We are all settling in together. We have started a little training and keeping up with the sleeping downstairs thing. He has developed an embarrasing little thing with visitors! And today was going to do it to me. But I put a stop to that. I hope he grows out of it and soon. This newest development sort of puts the other issues he has into perspective……….

Anyway another cute shot of him playing to remind me he is adorable and does a great job of chewing that rope toy.

That’s a big hole in the ground

I really shouldn’t have put that because although it’s true, the Grand Canyon is so much more. It’s amazing for one and beautiful and tells some history of this planet in its pretty layers of rock.

This was leg two of ‘the big trip’. We drove from San Francisco to Williams stopping in Barstow overnight and arrived in time to get to the canyon to see the sunset. It was really exiting racing along the road watching the sun disappearing while we tried to get there in time. We made it and headed straight to the nearest viewpoint to be amazed and snap away with the two cameras.   

This picture was from our second day when we went to a different point to watch the sunset. We were in a great spot and could see the mighty Colorado river way down on the canyon floor.

The two things that surprised me most about this part of Arizona is first, the altitude. I didn’t realise that this State was 5,000ft up! And I didn’t not expect clouds either but the really made this shot. Another tiny bit of the river is just there at the bottom of the photo.

Truly fantastic and I’m so glad we came here.

Scrabooking December

This idea is a memory keeping project started by the inspiring Ali Edwards. I joined in a couple of years ago and this will be my third year.

I’m so excited about this year’s mini book because I will be able to document my process right here. And I have started to plan the album already. Even though it’s only October it does work, for me anyway, to prepare it ahead. Today I want to show how I began thinking about the ablum.

I started by going back to the albums I made previously to see what bits I liked or what I would change. Here’s a look at the front covers of 2008 and 2009 albums.  

I kept this one simple, just printing a title in Word onto kraft cardstock and adhering it onto a chipboard cover.

Last year I went more artsy and painted thick cardboard packaging with white acrylic paint, cut the shape of a tree from more of the same packaging then adhered part of a chipboard scroll to the tree shape, placed it on top of the cover and painted a few more coats of white over the whole front again.

As I looked back at these books I was reminded about why I returned to do this album for a second and now a third year. I love that this whole project is the opportunity to record Christmas. I adore Christmas and what better holiday to document as there is always lots going on. That said though I do put things in the albmus not particularly Christmassy, just daily stuff too. Just like Ali recommends.

What I also loved were the different sized pages used in both albums and I still love the red as a base colour. Initially I wanted to try a different colour scheme but kept coming back to red. So red it is.

After I’d settled on red and the different sized pages I went through my stash of cardstock and papers and pulled out a few that grabbed my attention. Working with the necessary redand adding in a little neutral, green and white.

You can see I am a hoarder of odd bits of paper. The trees punched out for that red sheet in the foreground was from a couple of years ago.

Then I searched for items to use as overlays or day headers. I’d bought an amazing sheet of red flocked transparency, in Las Vegas, which I wanted to use for a couple of day front covers, so that was added to the pile.

I’m not going to buy any other products so I searched for anything else transparent. These are not something I generally buy so I wasn’t surprised to find no other transparencies but what I did find were some acetate sheets in A5 so they got added to the mix and I’ll probably stamp on to them or add an embellishment.

Day numbers were next and I picked Making Memoires ‘Noel’ circle alphas and some tags to stamp days onto in Tim Holtz distress ink.

I need to come up with another type of number style but can’t decide which way to go right now.

Finally, in this first prep session I thought about the cover. And decided to make use of some blank chipboard covers I also bought in Las Vegas. They are 5 x 7 inches.

I have an idea of how to transform them and will work on that for next time.

So there it is, a start to this great project. I can’t stress enough how great and inspirational Ali Edwards is and all of my thinking behind behind this post came from her wonderful blog.

I’ll come back and share how I put all the gathered bits together to form the bones of my December Daily 2010 album next week.

Keep ’em coming

We grow our own tomatoes. Just saying that makes me feel all virtuous.

We grow our own lots of things and up until 2 years ago we had a patch at the local allotments. We’d been going down to the allotment for about ten years when we decided that we should convert some of our garden into a kitchen garden, so it would be more convenient and we’d be more likely to pop out and do a bit of weeding…………………. Well that was the plan. Joking aside though it is much better for us, anyway, to have the veg on site and not have to load the car up with the tools every Sunday.

The kitchen garden has been good again this year and we grew potatoes, courgettes, onions, borlotti beans, peas, salad leaves, sprouts, green beans and broad beans. It’s split into 4 big raised beds and 6 little raised beds.

kitchen garden in June 2010

We lifted a row of Pink Fir Apple potatoes on Sunday and have one row left to lift. The sprouts are plumping up well and I need to do some research into how to dry the borlotti beans as they were a first for me this year.

The tomatoes are in the greenhouse and its hit and miss as it was originally sited in the wrong spot really but we get on with it and hack the overhanging branches back every couple of years.

On our return from the US the tomatoes were still ripening up and there had already been a decent crop. I’d like to tell you what variety they are but Gav the sower of tomato seed never thinks it matters to put labels in pots. So we just eat and enjoy. Homemade tomato pasta sauce anyone?

(I noticed that the tomato photo is overexposed. Need to work on that in the blog upload)

Lost in a daydream

I took my sisters dog Emily, the mad Dalmatian, to the park this morning. Allsorts of stuff is floating around in my head at the moment as there are huge changes about to happen so it was great to get out into a perfect autumn Monday morning. Sunny and bright but crisp and made me feel great. And while we wandered around the little lake I got lost in the dream of perfect walks in the park and how they could fit neatly into my life. On days like these I believe anything is possible. And then, for the first time since I was a little kid, following a gentle gust of wind I caught a leaf as it fluttered to the ground.


It’s raggedy and yet perfect.

You may have noticed the mug in the shot above. I’m using my Emma Bridgewater Pumpkin mug in honour of Halloween. I have collected so many of these pretty mugs in all the various designs and now my cupboard is too full for me to buy anymore.

Anyway I digress. Back to my perfect walk in the park. After I’d caught my leaf, the three swans that had been drifting on the lake treated me to a take-off, not so graceful, and landing, quite graceful. And their wings caught the sunlight beautifully and made my heart soar even more.

So while I may be poised on the edge of life altering things life out there is still wondrous and beautiful and full of possibilities.

The big trip

We’ve just got back from a ‘big trip’. The extravaganza was all planned for Gav as he was having a milestone birthday. He wanted to see the Grand Canyon so we threw Las Vegas, San Francisco, DC and NYC into the mix as well. I mean what’s a few thousand miles in 16 days between husband and wife, eh?

I love to buy guide books and plan the itineraries and since we went to NYC for the first time in 2005 I pour over the travel guides and fill them up with little tab stickers indicating where we should go and what we should do. It starts off well but the book ends up with that many bits of fluorescent plastic spilling out from the edge it’s more a panic of how to cram it all in that a helpful reference point.

It’s a flaw I think that I want to get so much done and I hate to admit that I end up falling into the catergory of the tourist that just checks things of a list and doesn’t take them in, doens’t expereince them fully.This time though there was so much crammed in with just the travelling that my plans and itineraries bought it on the first leg. After I had a small tantrum I accepted that sometimes you need to manage your expectations. I won’t forget that lesson. No really I won’t. Not this time……. 

Anyway here’s a few shots from our first full sightseeing day in San Francisco.

Powell and Market Cable Car

From the reading of the guide book and my little knowledge of San Francisco I expected it to be vibrant and unique. It didn’t dissapoint it was just a shame we only had two full days. 

Our hotel was just up the street from the cable car terminus. So after we arrived we headed out to see them for real. I had the idea of trams in my mind but after thinking about the size of the hills for a minute I understand why they are actually cable cars. The tracks in the road make a sort of metalic chain like rattle and it changes in sound when a car is coming. Amazing.  

Handles and gears inside the car

Our first trip was from the beach near Fishermans Wharfe back to Powell Street and the driver was really funny and the ride was great fun.

Alcatraz Island

 Before we hopped on the cable car we snapped a few foggy photos of the bay and the sea lions at Peir 39.

They were just piled ontop of each other happy on thier rafts. Along with this little guy who decided to have a stretch.

Cute. And they are not really little. Seagulls are big birds.

So just a few reminders of our first day.

There’s plenty more where they came from.


This is a highly emotional topic to pick as my second post but I’d like to share it. This little fella was part of our lives for 9 and a half years.

running free

We loved him so much I can’t express it. But sadly he’s no longer brightening our days. But I want to remember him even when it makes me a little sad. He was such a fantastic character.

Who loved to sneek under the blanket on the bed. And hide. I mean we didn’t find him for hours.

It’s fair to say he liked his home comforts and after he came to terms with the fact that this chair was springy and rocked back and forth it was a fight between him and me to see who got to it first. I know dogs on the furniture is appaling….. but we couldn’t help ourselves. How could you deny the little cutie pie.

His other big favorite thing was the beach. Oh how he loved the beach. And we loved to see him run on the sand and find his little sand paws to get a better grip.

Our lives were richer and funnier and happier with him for company and we miss him every day. Thanks Lewis you were a blast.