Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I am famous!!!

Back in the summer I was lucky enough to be able to go with my friend Karen to a QVC crafters day held in the Queen Elizabeth Centre in Westminster in London. We were able to go because Karen is a very good QVC customer!! (I have told her to keep her spending up so we can go again next year, it was a great day!!!)
Anyway today was craft day on QVC and they did lots of little videos from the day we visited, lots of folks gave their opinions of the craft stuff that was on offer for us to try which was sold today. I was not asked my opinion BUT I was in the background of one video. Now before you all go rushing off to You Tube to find this clip I think you should know that all that you can actually see is my bright pink top, not a peek of my head or any other identifying part!!!
If you would like a signed photograph, please ask I'll see what I can do!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Town Monday - The Regeneration Debate.

My town is run by Welwyn and Hatfield District Council. For a number of years the general feeling has been that Hatfield has been the 'poor' neighbour. It does seem at times that Hatfield does get left behind and recently Hatfield has been suffering. Hatfield has a 1960's very dated town centre that is in desperate need of regeneration. There is one huge supermarket which is modern and dominates everything. The rest of the town centre is on its last legs. The council have been promising for years to pump money into a regeneration scheme. Just as they manage to locate a partner to carry out and help fund the vision, the country is plunged into 'credit crunch' recession. The regeneration is put on hold.

Welwyn Garden on the other hand has a thriving town centre, lots of shops, pubs and at least a million coffee shops. There is however a large patch of land owned by 'The' supermarket giant Tesco's. This site was mainly factories, but they have been flattened and the area can now be reused. The council want the site to provide houses, leisure and employment opportunities, but not big retail parks. This is to preserve the town centre area. Tesco's on the other hand would love to build a big superstore.

In a very clever move by Tesco's they have identified something that Welwyn Garden City wants and has wanted for a while, a swimming pool, we used to have an open air one, but it was closed around 10 years ago and the one that the council promised the town has never been forthcoming. So they have submitted plans for a centre to include a big store, swimming pool, town square and housing. This was reported in the local paper last week as a done deal. The artists impression of the place looks great. People are talking about having a 'new pool' . Sadly it seems that it was a clever bit of marketing on behalf of the supermarket owners as this week the council have come out and said that the plan contravenes the current planning regulations. So unless there is some heavy negotiating carried out we will be looking a bare patch of land for the next decade.

Take a look here to see the full sorry tale!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Autumn is here.

I got up this morning, looked out the window and couldn't see to the end of the garden! The first 'pea souper' of Autumn!! When I let the dog out I noticed that the garden was covered in spiders webs, highlighted by the damp fog. There were hundreds of them spiders must be very busy this time of year. I am amazed at how delicate and strong these webs are. A sign that autumn is with us.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sand Storm.

A few more shots from our Dutch holiday. We were not too lucky with the weather so one sunny evening we headed for the beach. When we got there we were amazed to find that the wind on the beach was so strong that it was whipping up a storm!!
It was amazing to see, the sand was blown across the beach but only to the height of around 12 inches, it really battered your legs and the kids said it was really painful on wet legs! We stood and watched the beach in a blur of sand, I took loads of photos but none of the really show the true movement, which we watched for ages.
In the end we sheltered behind a beach hut and waited for the sunset. We didn't get that far as we were all frozen!!! Wassenaar 2008.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blog Candy

One of my Stamping Sisters is celebrating and has a load of stamps up for grab!! Take a look HERE and sign up, you might be lucky!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not Much Blogging

This week is a mega busy one with so much going on at work and at school. I failed to do My Town Monday :0( I thought that I had a couple stored up but I didn't. I was hoping that things would start to ease off at work, but if anything its got busier and I have spent a lot of time driving all over the county which is a pain.
Beth seems to be settled at school but I am still getting used to the getting her there bit, some days its Carl some days its me and although I have a timetable pinned up, I still get it wrong.
Will have to try harder!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunny Saturday

Looks like we are having a last minute Indian Summer, with the prospect of the whole weekend being sunny and HOT at the moment 4 o'clock in the afternoon its 25 degrees in the garden, I have done a bit of house work had my hair cut and think its time to have a lie down on the trampoline, just to soak up the rays!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Third Week Card!

This week I really liked the sketch, I like the regular nature of the design. I have used Blond moments spotty paper, the plain paper is from paper mill, three prima flowers and three dove craft brads. I stamped the greeting with Studio G stamps. To cut out the ovals I used my oldest piece of scrap booking equipment, my creative memories oval cutting system,I really love the cutting system!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Its Good News Week!!

Today Beth was picked to play netball for her new school, the year 7 team. She was really looking forward to playing, it seems like a long time since she last had a game. They played another St Albans school and won 17 - 5. Beth was goal shooter and scored 15 of the goals!! Her new netball teacher was very pleased with her as were the rest of the team and that can't do any harm!!
Straight after the match I had to take her for a re read for a part that she had auditioned for in a Panto for this Christmas at the Barn theatre. She was very excited but really didn't have too much time to worry. She re read the script several times and was rewarded with a fairly big part. She is going to play the Cat in Pinocchio. This part has a fair few words and the character is a bit on the naughty side! For the first time ever she will be acting with adult actors! Rehearsals start at the end of the month. There will be around 15 performances over the Christmas period. How exciting is that??

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend away.

We went down to Tina and Rod's Chalet for the weekend , we seemed to have accidentally picked a weekend where it didn't rain!! Amazing!! We took Hunny and she had a good run along the beach, she didn't get too brave with the sea this time, I think she remembered getting soaked the last time!! Friday evening we arrived and had Fish and Chips with Rod, Tina, Emma and Dave. We were all really hungry having worked all day and travelled down there.

Saturday was beautiful so we walked to the beach and I took these photos, we were expecting it to be windy but it wasn't so Beth soon ditched the hoody. The sun was so hot that I picked up a bit of a tan! We popped to the shops to track down a few bargains and ended up having a Chinese for tea!!

Sunday we had a lie in, Beth and I went to the amusement arcades and managed to win some fantastic 'glass' diamonds from the 2p machines, I just need to decide what to do with them now!!! While we were out Emma decided to take a shower unfortunately the shower door decided to break, it broke into two pieces, one huge lump hitting her on the head and the second falling towards the sink scraping down the wall before exploding on the floor. The noise was so loud in our chalet that the dog jumped up, Tom thought that a car had hit the wall. Luckily Emma was not hurt badly, a small cut from flying glass.Dave ended up rescuing her and cut his feet! We all had lunch at the club which was delish! We headed home around 5.30pm, it was a brilliant weekend.

My Town Monday - Anne Franks House Amsterdam.

On our recent trip to Amsterdam we decided to visit the home of Anne Frank.Beth had recently been studying her story at school and was very interested in it. I can remember reading all about her when I was at secondary school and I remember the story being quite a sad one. I had for the most part forgotten about the finer points.
When we arrived at the house, there was a big queue, curling all around the road . We joined the queue and debated if we would wait to go in. The Men decided that they wouldn't wait, but the rest of us decided to go for it!!
Otto Frank, Anne’s father was born on 12 May 1889, in Frankfurt’s Westend, a well-to-do neighbourhood.Otto Franks father was a banker, Otto attended high school, and briefly studied art at the University of Heideleberg. Via a friend he was then offered and accepted a job from 1908 to 1909 at Macy’s Department Store in New York, USA.

When his father died, Otto Frank returned to Germany and worked for a metal engineering company in Dusseldorf until 1914. During WW-1 he and his two brothers served in the German Army, where Otto attained the rank of lieutenant.After the war he worked in his father’s bank, but banks did not fare well at that time, however whilst working in the bank he became acquainted with Edith Hollander, the daughter of a local manufacturer.

Born in 1900, she grew up in Aachen, Otto and Edith married in 1925 and settled in Frankfurt, they then have two daughters, Margot born in 1926 and Annelies (more commonly known as Anne), Marie born on 12 June 1929.

In 1933 after Hitler seizes power and anti- Jewish measures are introduced, Otto Frank leaves Frankfurt for Amsterdam. He starts a branch of the German Opteka Company there, and soon Edith, Margot and Anne joined him in Holland.

The Frank family moves into a house on Merwedeplein in the southern part of the city. Anne and Margot attend the nearby Montessori school. They are popular and make lots of friends, as do their parents with other Jewish refugees who settle in the same neighbourhood.
However, the German invasion of Holland on 10 May 1940 soon shatters this carefree life for the population of Holland.
During 1941 the Nazis increased the number of anti-Jewish, and the Franks started to prepare for going into hiding. Thanks to the cooperation of his staff – Miep Gies, Jo Kleiman, Viktor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl, Otto Frank was able to secretly prepare a hiding place for his family, the Van Pels family and others. Mr Van Pels worked at Otto Frank’s company.
On 12 June 1942 Anne celebrated her thirteenth birthday and her parents give her a present of a diary, in her diary she wrote about everything she experienced and felt.

On 5 July 1942 Margot Frank received the dreaded call to report to a labour camp, the next day the Frank family moved into the “Secret Annex,” on 263 Prinsengracht.

On 6 July 1942 Anne was awakened at five-thirty in the morning by her mother, the family dressed in thick layers of clothing. Miep Gies took Margot on a bicycle to the hiding place.

At seven-thirty in the morning the rest of the family went on foot to the “Secret Annex” located behind Otto Frank’s company. One week later Mr and Mrs Van Pels and their son Peter joined the Frank’s in hiding.
These people stayed in hiding in the secret annex of the house for the next two years until their location was betrayed and they were taken to the infamous prisoner of war camp Auschwitz.
In March 1945 5 weeks before liberation Anne died from Typhus in the camp, her mother and sister had died previously. Otto Frank survived and went on to have Anne's diary published.
Our visit was quite emotional, we actually walked up the stairs and through the door into the secret annex, we saw Anne's pictures on the wall and we saw where her father had plotted their growth on the door frame. We wandered through the house and looked out at the canals and looked at the artifacts, it was so sad to think that they stayed hidden for such a long time and died when liberation was just around the corner.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Presentation Night!

Tonight we went to school for prize giving evening. They presented all the students with their GCSE and A level certificates. Towards the end they presented all special awards. Carl won the 'Ray Mchugh' Trophy for services to Drama.
The deputy head did a round up of his attributes which included his dedication to assisting his fellow pupils by doing the stage lighting for their drama productions for their exams. He spent in excess of 150 hours setting up the lights for the school production of Oliver. He was the stage manager and production manager. On the night before the technical rehearsal he stayed at school until midnight to get things right.They said he was a pleasure to teach and a thoroughly nice guy!! I have video of the presentation but Blogger is resisting my attempts to upload it!!
He also carried out his first duty as 'Deputy Head Boy' and presented some flowers to a member of the comittee. He was under strict instructions to kiss this lady on the cheek while presenting the flowers, I think she was shocked!! The deputy head girl had the best job she got to kiss the professional footballer who used to be a pupil at the school!!!!

Second Card - Love You

I love to make things out of scraps or bits and pieces that I have saved or rescued from the bin!! Today I have use a serviette to complete my sketch for Di Hickman on her blog.
I have taken the serviette and cut it into four, the sketch called for the card to have four parts in the back ground, so I turned over two of the pieces to make the pattern lighter. The tag is an old basic grey one from the Alyssa range and the chipboard heart is by Heidi Swapp. I have stamped the heart with Studio G stamps. The ribbon is by Offray.
Pop over to Di's blog and take a look at the other cards.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Last Signs of Summer.

This year I planted 6 giant Sunflowers, (my all time favourite flower!)and while planting them I came across a self set plant. They pretty much look after themselves and never fail to amaze me. How can such a tiny seed less than 1 cm long grow into such a huge plant several metres tall with a whacking great big flower the size of a dinner plate ? All that happens in the space of 8 weeks.
Sun flowers are for me 'summer' in a plant.
One of the plants was not in a hurry to flower, while all the others had obvious buds, this one refused to stop growing. 6 of them flowered before this one decided that it would make an effort. It finally flowered last week and its massive the head is twice the size of the others, being a true maverick it decided to face my neighbours garden so I went around last night and got this shot, look at the lovely grey sky behind it!!
We only have a small garden and they dominate the space, dad gave me some dahlias which I planted underneath, he gave me six mixed plants which all turned out to be bright orange!! In the same border I have nasturtiums and cream roses, I am all co-ordinated this year!!
Once the sunflowers have finally finished their display, I will behead them and hang the heads up to dry in the conservatory, there should be loads of seeds for the birds and some to save for next year and a fresh crop of sunny giants.

Monday, September 08, 2008

My Town Monday - Kinderdijk

I have decided to continue with my town Monday using some of the towns we visited while we were on holiday.
While we were away we rather relied on my ancient Sat Nav, who we call Stella. I have had Stella for around 6 years, and she is not up datable, which I don't think is too much of a problem because in the main the roads don't really change too much. If you let Stella get on with it, she gets you there, the problem arises if you look at a map as well. Looking at a map results in you doubting her and having to make a decision about if you do as she tells you!! Anyway on this day trip we all set out to visit a site in a town called Kinderdijk around 20 miles from where we were staying. This town is famous for windmills, an image that we all associate with Holland.
The bulk of the journey was on a major road, a dual carriageway, once we turned off Stella was telling us we were only around 4 miles away. We started to head off down some residential streets that were very narrow and then into an industrial area. We began to doubt Stella, this didn't look like the kind of place where we would find a World Heritage site full of Windmills!! We were in radio contact with Debbielou we were discussing our options. On our right was a huge river and our route was taking us along side it. All of a sudden Stella told us to take a right turn in 200 yards. It was obvious that we would end up in the water there was no evidence of a bridge.
So we stopped got out the maps and even resorted to asking someone in our none existent Dutch. Had we have continued as instructed by Stella we would have realised that there was a ferry across the river! It was the only way to get to the Windmills!!!
Once across the river a very short drive took us into another bygone world on the horizon we could see these huge ancient windmills. It all seemed at odds with the built up industrial area around them.
There are 19 windmills all fairly close together they were built in 1738 and 1740, they were used to pump water from the surrounding land into the nearby river Lek, this protects the low lying land from flooding. The windmills are no longer in use the water is now removed by modern pumping stations. Because of its UNESCO protected status one of the windmills has been preserved in the state that it was in while it was being used. (the rest of my party went inside to have a look around, all a bit too claustrophobic for me!!) But the outside was very pretty and the sails were very impressive flying around at an amazing speed.
It was a great day out, with an interesting twist provided by faithful Stella.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Lazy saturday Afternoon.

I have done a little housework, had a little bit of a lie in,popped to the shops and called into see mum and dad. Beth got up with a yearning to do something crafty, so she talked me into taking her to our local craft recycling depot a place called Wotever. (I think it must be great to answer the phone, 'Wotever' with a teenage attitude!!)
This place is a little warehouse stuffed full of interesting things that you can use for craft. Beth is going through the book covering phase of secondary school, so we managed to pick up some cellophane and I have covered 4 books. She plans to make a restaurant for her sylvanian animals. I had a riffle through the Cd's and DVD's and picked up two dozen DVD's, mainly films and single episodes of TV shows, all for absolutely nothing. I like to watch something while scrapping!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

So Far So Good

Beth still seems to be enjoying herself at her new school, lots of new thinks to do and try out, I think she particularly likes the variety of food for dinner!! She has had a few lessons now and I have written a note to her form teacher in her home work diary and he has replied, so everything going to plan. Hopefully things will continue that way.

I am pleased.....

I am so pleased to announce that I have been asked to design some cards for Di Hickman, Di produces some lovely card sketches which you can use as a basis for inspiration. You can copy the sketch or you can swap things around, turn the design and use it in a different way. I produced some cards for her back in February as a guest and I am delighted to join the team of a full time basis!!Pop over and check out the great work HERE

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day at Secondary School.

The day has finally arrived, Beth starts school at Nicky B, my little baby is moving on!! Today her uniform is all new and uncomfortable, just wait a couple of weeks and it will be battered and comfortable. She is quite lucky as today there is going to be year 7 and year 12 only, so a chance to find their feet and get to know people!!
Good Luck Beth!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Some Good News.

Found out today that they have arrested someone for the theft from Carls car, they have recovered some property but not sure if its any of Carls. Fingers crossed!!

My Town Monday - Gouda

This week is the turn of Gouda, a town in Holland famous for one thing - CHEESE !! Gouda is a very pretty town, it has a fairytale town hall which is dressed up with flags on market days. This building reminds me of the setting for Chitty Chitty bang Bang !!
Market day was very interesting with the producers attending the market in their horse drawn carts to sell their cheeses to the buyers. They taste the cheese and start to haggle for the best price. The cheeses are laid out in the square for inspection and once the deal is sealed they are taken off by the buyer.
Once the market finished we went for a walk around and ended up looking around the 16th Century Sint -Janskerk, which is a church dedicated to the life of St John the Baptist. This is the biggest Church in Holland which started out as a Catholic Church but as a result of the Reformation in the middle ages was changed into a protestant church. The stained glass windows in the church were spectacular.