Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nearly Going Home Time

Where has this week gone?? I am sure that its less than a week since we left for Belgium. We have had mixed luck but all credit to our friends they have not let the burglary get to them and have carried on without too many worries. We have made the most of the dry weather and been out and about. We have walked some of the way around the lake and tom and Rick rode around this morning, Tom measured it at 4 miles. The kids went to the rafting again this morning and had a whale of a time, they really love doing the rafting and its well worth the extra euros to have the whole pool complex to just 6 of them.
So far they have been swimming every day at least once and often twice. They are in for the second time now!!
Yesterday we decided to go out for our evening meal. We decided to travel into Germany for a 'Gyros' This is a type of kebab made out of cooked while you wait pork, along with sauerkraut, cheese, tomatoes and the secret ingredient garlic tzatsiki (sp). These had come highly recommended by our friends and they had been lusting after them all week. We set off for Germany, the mecca of Gyros and an hour and a half later arrived at a grill place opposite a Army base somewhere near Dusseldorf. We had our Gyros and enjoyed them although our friends were not thrilled with the quality. I am all garlic'd out and it must be a pleasure to be near me today!!! This has to be one of the longest journeys to eat dinner out, a round trip of 4 hours!!!!
This past year we have been jet setters, and can now count France, Belgium, Holland, USA and Germany on our list of countries visited!!

The kids wanted to hire the bikes, we refer to them as Chuckle bikes after the Chuckle brothers. They had them for an hourand wentallover on them. Beth had the easiest part, she sat on the front and let them do all the work!!!
So tomorrow pray for dry calm weather for our crossing back to England!!

'Scary' Card!!

This week just has to be a 'scary' card. I though that I would use up some of my odds and ends of stickers that I have left over from my scrapbooking. Lat year we were on the way back from Florida for Halloween, but due to a huge delay with the flight we missed the 31st of October!! This year we will be returning from Belgium so will miss all the trick and treating again. Its a shame that Beth won't be able to dress up.
This card has a black background, Orange and black 'bats' ribbon by my old friend Offray. I have used a sakura gold pen around the outside, all the stickers are from Poundland, real left over bargains!!
Check out the other cards HERE.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good Holiday - Bad people

Here is Beth enjoying a huge ice cream in the burger bar. We had just had a burger meal consisting of the most enormous portion of chips I have ever seen and they only described them as 'large'
Anyway the reason for the bad people title is that our friends who we are travelling with have had their villa broken into and have lost all their electrical bits and pieces, laptop, camera, mobile phones, electric razor and binoculars. We are so fed up as it has caused us and them a load of problems, waiting in for police, making statements and finding something else missing only when you go to use it. The thing is if they sell the stuff they won't get much as its English and of limited use in Belgium without the chargers etc. I hope that they blow up in their thieving hands.

We have been a fair few walks around the site, and we have found loads and loads of different 'fungi' here are a couple of the more stunning ones!!

While we have been away the weather at home has been brilliant, Snow and more snow so its a shame that we are away experiencing only frosty mornings!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Town Monday - Grandads Back Garden!!

For this weeks post I am staying very close to home, in fact in my dads back garden!! We have lived in Welwyn Garden City for some time and around 8 years ago Mum and Dad decided to move closer to us, so close that they now live in a house which is literally at the bottom of our garden!! When they were looking for a house one of the considerations was the back garden. Dad has always been a gardener, everything he touches grows. As we live in a town the gardens are generally not too big. When they found the house that they eventually bought the garden was smaller than they were used to and pretty much all laid to patio with a pond in the middle. In total it measures around 12 feet by 20 feet.Within a year of moving in dad had converted it to a lush area with plants of all sorts growing there.
In the spring he makes hanging baskets, these baskets have become very popular with friends and neighbours, he plants up their baskets and the money he makes from it funds the purchase of new plants. One year we all ended up with very exotic baskets. He had loads of orders and wasn't able to keep them all in his green house. He ended up lining them up the side of the garden path all around the garden. Some of them were under the bird seed feeders. So we all hung up our baskets and started to find these strange plants growing, and growing and growing. One of my baskets had 12 or so of these plants. I checked out our neighbours and his neighbours and they had them as well. I asked him what these plants were as I had never had them before. He didn't know. Then the penny dropped, he had sold us all baby cannabis plants!!!! We think the seeds must have come from the bird feeder!!
So that was 'My town Monday' bought to you by Travis Irwin and your local cannabis dealer!!!!

Hello From Belgium!!

We have arrived in belgium, their version of Centre parcs. We have got a lovely villa a stones throw from the centre and we are enjoying ourselves!!
So far the weather has been reasonable, chilly but not wet. The kids have been living in the pool and this morning they have been rafting down the rapids. Tom and I took a run out to a market in nearby Mol. Not understanding the language we thought we were going to car boot sale type of market but it turned out to be a livestock market with boxes and boxes of rabbits, chickens, budgies and turkeys!!
The park is covered in fungi including the fairy tale red capped variety with white spots that you only see in picture books. There are loads of them. Beth thinks its like Super Mario land!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

You're the Best

Here is this weeks sketch for Di Hickmans design team. I have used Junkitz Shabby Chic blue flowers, the brown paper is by Papermill, blue and brown spotty ribbon by Hobby Craft. Cream spotty ribbon is by East of India company. Wooden flower from Hobby craft. Greeting sticker by QVC.
Please check out all the other designs on Di Hickmans Blog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First one of the season???

Tonight is cold, very cold, my temperature gauge thingy is telling me that it is 1 degree C outside, it has been dropping steadily for the past few hours. I expect that if the weather man is right we will have a frost in the morning. I'll have to charge the batteries on my camera!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

End of an era - My Town Monday

Today is my eldest daughter, Laura's birthday, she is 23 years old. I can't believe that it was 24 years ago that I found myself pregnant and attending anti natal appointments at my local hospital, known locally as the QE2.

This week it has been announced that we are one step closer to having no maternity provision at the QE2. This will be a dreadful shame for the towns of Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield and the end of an era of children born at their local hospital.

The QE2 was built in the 1960's and at the time was a medical flagship, with cutting edge facilities. The way that the health care was funded was different back then and most large towns had their own hospital. As time has gone by local area health authorities have been amalgamated until we have arrived at what we have today which is the East and North Herts National Health Service Trust.

The trust have decided that they can only fund one major hospital so some of the major functions will be transferring to Stevenage a town around 10 miles away. Over the past few years this has been gradually happening, the latest department that they have announced will move is the maternity department along with Special Care Baby Unit.

So Happy Birthday Laura, you are going to become one of those rare people who were actually born in the town that your parents live in!!

Happy Birthday Laura!

Today my baby is 23!! TWENTY THREE??? I mean where has that time gone? Its barely five minutes since she was born and here she is 23 and all grown up. Today she was not feeling too well she has the start of my cold. We took her a birthday cake and we did the traditional singing and blowing out! She asked for a DVD of Red Dwarf which we got her along with some scrapping bits and some money. Happy Birthday Laura!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good News.

Remember the hassle we had at the end of August when Carl had his car broken into?? Well the Police have been very good, they have called us back a few times with property that they have recovered which might have been ours. In the end these have been dead ends.
Today we had a change of luck, I was at work when I got a call saying that they had a man in custody and that he had admitted to the theft and damage. They wanted a quick statement so they could charge him. I was more than happy to help out AND I asked for compensation from the offender, we'll see if that ever appears!! (I expect it'll be a pound a month for the next 200 years, but I don't care as long as it makes life difficult for him)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beautiful Night

I love the Autumn, I love the crisp mornings, the 'smell' in the air, the promise of cosy evenings at home but most of all I love all the celebrations, Halloween and Guy Fawkes night. It seems that the moon is always stunning and some how seems closer to the earth around this time. Tonight the moon was stunning, with beautiful clouds reminding me of traditional Halloween views!! I am hoping that this year we will be able to take part in Halloween celebrations, last year we missed it due to the delay coming back from Florida.

That's the other thing, I can't believe that a year ago today we had just arrived in Florida, I want to go back for some more Florida fun!!! (mainly craft shopping really!)

Best Wishes Card.

This time The card sketch was quite a simple one, but sometimes simple is more effective!!
The back ground paper is by Paper Adventure, from a mat stack. The spotty and green stripe paper is from an acid bright 8 by 8 stack by paper mania. The coloured stripe is by Junkitz. There are three prima flowers and three pink gems by paper chase. Brown chalk in and Best Wishes Sticker from QVC.
Check out the cards the other ladies have done over on Di Hickmans Blog.... HERE.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We were Rumbled!!

Not actually discovered but we were prime suspects when he got up this morning!! It was well worth it though!! We received a text message at 7.30 this morning probing us to see if we would 'cough' to the offence, we stuck it out. A couple of hours later his mum tricked us into admitting it!!
I wonder who will be next??

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Made Me Laugh!!!

Well tonight in the deepest darkest part of night before we had gone to bed, Carl and I decided to recycle some of his banners from his 18th birthday. By a strange fluke I have a friend called Sue who is precisely 4 days younger than me. We were both expecting at the same time and Robert was born precisely 4 days after Carl, how strange is that??
Anyway because Carl and I are green Eco warriors we set off for his house and decorated his car. In the process we managed to lock ourselves out of the house and had to wake Tom up to let us in (This was no mean feat, we had to knock and ring the bell, the dog was going bonkers, but Tom slept on!!)
On our arrival we commando crawled up the road being careful to set off absolutely every security light that there was, and there were a few. We had to stifle our giggles while trying to find the end of the sellotape which broke off every couple of centimetres, We adorned the car with yards of 'Happy Birthday 18 Today' silver foil banners. As a nice finishing touch we added the contents of two cans of silly string and a bang free party popper - Giant Sized!!! Unfortunately we thought it too risky to photograph our handy work.
Carl popped his card through the door and then ran back to our car, sounding like a herd of fairy elephants. I would love to see his face in the morning!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Town Monday - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - October.

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and all over the country lots of folk raise money for cancer research. Pink is the colour associated with this charity so for the past few years the council have reminded everyone by dying the water in the town centre fountain PINK . It certainly makes the fountain a talking point. Sometimes on a dull day it just looks muddy but on a sunny day it looks very striking.

This post was bought to you by My Town Monday, brain child of Travis Irwin!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Its Funny........

Its Funny how when you are holding the camera, that you never seem to star in any of the photos of any family celebrations. I took this one last night using the tried and tested 'long arm' method, so as you can see large chunks of me are missing, which I don't think is a bad thing!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet 18!!!!

Today Carl was 18, I can't believe that this time 18 years ago I was in hospital looking at this little tiny baby, well not that tiny really. It all seemed unreal at the time.He was a good baby and has been a good kid and now he is eighteen and starting out in life!

Beth decided this year to make him a unique present, in fact she made him two. She decorated a wooden figure for him, complete with a picture of Carl's face. Her 'best' present was a white T shirt that she thoughtfully decorated with a photo of herself for him!!!!!

At Lunch time we went out for lunch with mum, dad, Laura and Scott. We had a lovely three course meal at The Stanborough in town. We took a little cake with us but we were forbidden to sing the 'tune' , we had to wait until we got home.

So here is the mini cake along with his first legal alcoholic drink, a pint of Magners cider!! He was very lucky with his presents, he was given around £300 plus gifts of jewelry, Pens and of course his prized T Shirt!! Tonight he is off to a night club with his mates. I hope he doesn't return home needing a bucket.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Busy Day.

It has been a glorious Autumn day, crisp morning followed by sun and bright blue skies. I was lucky that it was still beautiful when I got home from work, because work has been a real chore today.
We had known for some while that we had to move office, but it seemed to be some way off until yesterday when we realised it was upon us. We had prepared by chucking out loads of old rubbish, but we still managed to fill around 35 crates. We also had all the usual office equipment to move as well. Just to make things interesting I started with a really heavy cold yesterday and this morning felt like a sneezing snot machine.
The removal guys turned up at 9am and three of them loaded all of our 'office' into the back of their lorry. The old office was well past its best and we were the last occupants in the whole building. It felt quite sad to be going.
Once we got to the new place we decided that we would butter the removals men up with a few bacon butties, it worked, they were very helpful and set all the furniture up in the right place. We slogged through stopping only for hot tea and biscuits. By 5pm we had emptied every single box and had set up 3 computers, two printers and a fax machine. We are all exhausted. Tomorrow we continue to work as if nothing has happened!!
On the plus side the new office is quite nice and we have already made it our own, pictures back up on the wall, drinks chilling in the fridge (I mean Coke!!) and everything in its place. The real bonus is that we now have a kitchen and nice toilets!!
I took these two photos when I got home, its amazing what you can find on your doorstep!!

Sponge Bob Says Hi!!

I love this sketch, I like the look of straight lines and regular angles!!
Sponge Bob is a picture from a piece of ribbon by offray. Two bottom papers by paper adventures mat stack, top paper from Do Crafts acid brights 8 by 8 pack, green paper by TLC. Yellow circle paper mill paper, brown chalk ink, and brown sakura pen. 'Hi' Sticker from a pack by QVC.
Please check out the other cards over on Di Hickmans Blog .. HERE.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I can't understand where the years have gone.

Saturday October the 11th will see my 'young Man' turn into an adult. He was born at 10.43am on Thursday the 11th of October 1990 at The QE2 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City. I had been lucky enough to share my pregnancy with my life long best Friend Madeline. Her daughter Gracie was born on 24th of June 1990. Carl and Gracie have been friends from their very early days. Madeline and I have been friends since we were 5 and at Brownies in Bedmond where we both lived. So we have been friends for 43 years. I hope that Carl and Grace will beat our record!!

Carl (left ) and Grace aged 6 weeks and 4 months!

Carl and Grace Aged nearly 18 at a fancy dress party!!

They are both now making plans to go off to University Carl to do teaching and Grace to do media. It only seems like 5 minutes since they were born.

Monday, October 06, 2008

My Town Monday - Just like a London Bus.

There is a saying in England that you can wait ages for a bus and then two come along at the same time. Well those of you that read my MTM posts might feel a bit of deja vue now.
Last week I reported that after around ten years without a swimming pool that a major super market had put in a planning application for a supermarket and a swimming pool, the cynic in me believes that the pool was a sweetener to get planning permission for the shop.

Anyway guess what?? this week we have news of a second planning application for the land on the opposite side of the road to the original application, this is from the YMCA who plan to build a centre for young people (We already have a YMCA but as its popular it would make sense to enlarge the provision) They envisage a sports centre and a swimming pool!!! So as I said if you wait long enough without one, two will come along at once!!! (I bet neither will actually materialise, we are not bought that easily!!)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Feedback on my day.

Well I arrived at the venue in Huntingdon after Stella took me on one of her more exotic routes, she decided that I should take in the glories of the English country side with all of the slow moving farm vehicles which inhabit the roads in that part of the world.
On arrival I was shown to my area along side Do Crafts and Create and Craft. I set up my table and was given a cup of tea.
Then it started............
Hundreds of people all crammed into a small space all interested in what we were doing and wanting a go.I was well prepared, I had all my samples on the table (which continually fell over as the space was tight and people kept bumping into it!!) I demonstrated the things you could make using one of our CD's, I showed them the Rocker blocks, the envelope maker and the box maker. I must have said hello at least a million times and my jaw ached from smiling and answering the same questions over and over again.
I now know that there are several types of crafter and you have to change your line depending on the type. There are some crafters who line the more for less approach, some like production line simple but effective cards, some like to send their friends cards that are all totally different (I mean why?? unless all their friends live in one house and get together to compare them!!!) Some want to make exclusive cards to show off their talents. Throughout the day I had to either love or hate peel offs depending on who I was talking to.
All in all it was exhausting for a job carried out almost exclusively sitting down. I think it was not knowing what you would be asked which was the problem, having to wing it when you didn't actually know the answer. (I have had years of practice at that but not in this particular area, still I feel it is a transferable skill which once I settled down I was able to put to good use!!)
Around half way through the afternoon I had a surprise visit from one of my Friends Mel who popped in with her daughters. She was a very welcome friendly face!!
So would I do it again?? Yes I would, I now know what I would do different to make the experience better for me and the guests. That said the lady organising it said that sales have been high for the day and that's what counts in the end!!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Exciting Day!!

Today I am up bright and early, I am going on an adventure!! My friend Claire Hamer who is even more famous than me. (She is a designer and has loads of stuff published in magazines, I just partially appear on QVC!!) works for a great company called Crafters Companion. This is a British company based in the North East. Claire has the whole of Great Britain as her sales area so she asked if I would do some demonstrating for her this weekend.
So I am off to Huntingdon to a garden centre where they are having a 'craft event' to show off her wares. Claire came over on Thursday to show me the ropes and I have all my samples ready to be inspected by the crowds. I have a ton of paper so that people can try out the new 'rocker blocks' I am really looking forward to it, wish me luck!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Its Been A While

This is my interpretation of Di Hickmans latest sketch, I like bright colours and I am quite sad that Junkitz are no more. This card is made from Junkitz Sugar Plum Series, Hobby craft ribbon and Lake land paper lace.
Please check out Di's Blog HERE

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This is Summer.

I love this photo, I took it in Holland on the beach at Wassenar. It was the one and only day that we managed to get a spell on the beach. It seems even nicer now that it is positively autumnal outside. I wish we were back there now building sandcastles and laughing at Svens cruddy jokes!!
I now feel in the mood for booking next years holidays, but we will have to decide where and when. We really need to be around for Carls A level results in July/August so that we can help him with his University placement. We will need to plan carefully!!
On with the plans for Christmas then!!