Saturday, January 31, 2009

Postcrossing - Giving it a go.

I was introduced to Postcrossing by a friend on a forum that I go to. It somehow sounds a bit dodgy, but at first look it 'looks' like it might be fun!!
The theory behind it all is that people still love to receive real live mail, specially in this age of email. Once you join you can add your preferences to your profile, so if you really have a desire to see postcards from around the world on particular theme you can let people know. It doesn't mean that your swapee has to stick to your preferences to the letter, but it will give them an idea of what you like.
You start slowly by asking for a maximum of 5 addresses, I have sent off my 5 cards to the USA, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Lithuania. Once they have arrived, they are logged onto the web site and my address is then passed to the next person asking for an address.
The site is quite interesting and has lots of statistics about who the users are. 192 Countries are represented with the biggest group of users coming from Finland and China. The UK only accounts for 2.5% of all users.
I'm looking forward to my cards arriving at their destination and being logged on the web site. At least there is no commitment with this new hobby beyond how much you can afford to spend on a stamp!!
The link to the site is on the right hand side of my blog >>>>>>>>

Friday, January 30, 2009

These things are sent to try us!!!

Usually we don't have any trouble booking ourselves a holiday but this year of course is going to be a little more challenging, nothing will fall into place and its beginning to annoy me!!!!

On the plus side I have a mini break booked in February half term, we are going to Sunderland for a few night. We'll catch up with Tom's sisters and families and reintroduce Beth to the wonders of the North East.

On an absolute whim I have booked myself a weekend in Edinburgh. My friends Jen and Shirley are having a get together and mentioned it to me, I am not sure if they were actually expecting me to say yes, but I thought I would take a look at the train fares and see if it was possible. I found that there was a direct train from Stevenage to Edinburgh so I checked out the fares. You really have to have your wits about you when looking at the fares. I first of all priced a return journey, which came out at £103. Luckily the site I was on suggested that single fares may be cheaper. So I checked out the single fares and managed to get the journey to Scotland for £24 and the return leg of £16!! How on earth is that possible??? So what started as 'we'll ask her she'll never come' has turned into reality!!!!

Onto the summer holiday which is causing a fair amount of problems. First of all we couldn't go before the 1st of August due to Carl's commitments, work, cub camp etc. Then Debbie Lou couldn't get the 13th off so that was a no go. When we thought we had it sorted Tom then found he had lost the first week in August. So now we are looking at trying to sort something for the last two weeks if Deb can get one single day off right in the middle of the holiday. Its driving us all nuts, because we dare not book anything until we are 100% sure that she has the time, I am just hoping that if she does get it sorted that there are still vacancies !!!

Snow from last year,

This weekend we are forecast snow, Hurrah!!!! So far this winter we have missed every snow fall, once we were out of the country when a freak snow storm hit at home. For the past few years there has been snow right at the end of January so I am hoping this year will be no different!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Card for Di Hickmans Blog

This week I have used the template Di has supplied and changed it just a little bit!! Brown paper from papermill, letter stamps another set from Studio D (different font this time!!)The patterned paper is from papermania . Stars from Casa home in Belgium. I punched out the scalloped oval using a wood ware punch.
Please check out the other cards over on Di Hickmans blog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Carl is hoping to go to University this year, he has applied and is now starting to get the replies and invitation to interviews. He wants to be a Primary School teacher so he has to be interviewed to see if he is suitable material. The amount of 'stuff' he has to take with him is daunting, so we have got it all together in a folder, along with photocopies so he is prepared. The University that he really wants to go to is Hertfordshire, right on our door step, its where he works so he could continue to fund himself and it has a great reputation, its also the only one he hasn't heard from!! So we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will hear from them soon and that they want to have have him.
I am still shocked by how much University will cost, £3000 per year tuition for three years, plus accommodation and living expenses of around £500 per month, on top of that is the cost of course materials, books and the likes. He could come out of this with a huge debt to pay off. If you consider that its just about impossible for young folk to buy a property these days, he could be in debt for a good long time. If he was able to stay at home and attend Hertfordshire he would only have to pay the tuition which would feel much better!! Fingers crossed he hears from them soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Vote for ME!!!!!!!!

I have entered a photo into a competition being run by my preferred photo printers, SNAPFISH. The theme is what does love mean. There are hundreds of entries all for a paltry £50 prize. That said when I entered it did say tell all your friends to vote for your photo, so here I am asking you to vote for my photo, it might not be the best but if I win it will show I have the best friends!!!!!
Please vote HERE (you just need to give the photo a star rating, Thanks)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Creative Sunday!!

Yesterday We spent a very pleasant afternoon and evening around Debbielou's house, we enjoyed her fantastic cooking including her stunning pudding of Pecan Pie. The trouble was her husband was very derogatory about her Pecan Pie (I think she said it was a Jamie Oliver Special) It was truly delicious. The secret ingredient was sweet potato and it made it lovely and moist. I should have taken some home with me!!
Debbielou was wearing a gorgeous necklace that we had seen in a bead shop in Delft last summer. Her very attentive husband had noticed that she liked it and he some how dodged back and bought it for her. Seeing it I remembered that I had bought some waxed black thread to give the tying technique a go. So last night I carefully examined it and today I have made a couple of proto types. I have loads of 'odd' beads, left overs from other projects (I never throw anything away) Its great fun knotting the beads on the thread and a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. The only thing you have to watch is under estimating the amount of thread that you need, the knots use far more that you would think!!
I have made one long one that wraps around twice, and one shorter one that just pops over your head. I really like the bright colours and as Debbielou said they look like sweeties!!

This is the longer one, loads of different beads in this one.

This is the longer one all crunched up!!

This is the shorter one, which is versatile as you can choose your own favourite beads to wear to the front!
I am going to try some different variations, perhaps brown cord and brown and beige beads, although I'll need to go and look for some new supplies............

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hardly little Flower.

Over the past week we have had a load of heavy rain, some really frosty nights, some really dull
and miserable weather. Today when I was putting the lids back on the dustbins I noticed this little Ox Eye Daisy on the front lawn. This Daisy is a one off, no signs of any others. Is it confused?? My front lawn in the summer is covered with them. I really can't remember seeing one flower in January before. I would put it down to global warming, but I have had to scrape the car for the past two mornings!!
Perhaps summer is on the way.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Card for Di Hickman's Blog

This week I have had to use a half circle in my card ARGGGHHH I hate circles!! That said I am actually quite pleased with how this has turned out.
The background is pink pearl paper from Crafters companion embossed with swiss dots folder the pink circle is cut from a piece of paper from a pad of papermania paper. The ribbon is offray, the lace is lakeland plastics and the circle with mum is from a papermania tag set.
Check out the other cards over on Di's Blog.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Challenge Card - The Pad Happy Birthday!!

I have decided to do a few more card challenges, I like the fact that they are quick to do and you can use whatever you have to hand. This challenge called for the use of the colour yellow (I don't have a problem with that colour so not too much of a challenge!!) I also had to use a flower and a button. The paper is from paper mania ( I am really loving that 8x8 pad of papers, sweet nothings) The ribbon was a freebie from one of the magazines and the flower and button came from The Range. I really like the Studio G stamps and I have used them loads.
Hope everyone has a great week, can't say I'm looking forward to work too much, roll on the big lottery win!!!

Weather Obsessed.

Its a sure sign that you are getting older when you start to notice the weather. I have started to detect a bit of a pattern. I think it started off quite slowly last year. I saw one of these inside outside digital weather monitoring devices. So I treated myself and now have the monitor set up by my computer. The purchase of this device was spurred on by changing our car to one with a temperature gauge in it.
We now have three cars that can tell us the temperature plus the digital one indoors. I find myself looking at the monitor at all sorts of times. For instance now, it is telling me that would need to take my umbrella with me, (I don't actually need to look at the monitor for that, the din its making on the conservatory roof is drowning out the sound of the TV!!) Its 6.1C which is warmer than this time last week (I am getting sadder and sadder) its 20C inside which is toasty, In fact if it gets to 21 it will be too warm!!
So I think the next step will be investing in sensible slippers and a 'housecoat' its all down hill from here on in!!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

What is it????

Last October we visited Belgium for our half term holiday and while we were there I took loads of photos of fungi. I am now about to scrap them and I just can't identify this one. I have done a load of google searches to try and find a similar specimen with no luck, so I am asking if anyone has any idea what it is ? If it helps it was growing in a lightly wooded area in Belgium outside our villa, it was under deciduous trees.
It has the more gorgeous texture, looks like suede. Some shots of common puffballs look similar, but they seem to have a far spikier surface, so are there any amateur fungi fanciers out there who can identify this mystery plant?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Card for Di Hickmans Blog

This weeks sketch was great, I am very pleased with this card as it satisfies my need for simple straight lines!! I have used a Paper Mania pad for the blue gingham and the bluebirds. Offray Ribbon and mirror card from papermill. the creamy lace is from lakeland and the sentiment has been stamped using Studio D stamps and blue ink. Please check out the other cards on Di Hickmans blog.

Monday, January 12, 2009

He's back!!

Well Dad is back home, he surprised us all by coming home this afternoon. They had told us to expect at least seven to ten days, but he came home after 6. He is a tough cookie and has made fantastic progress.
He will have the clips out Friday so all moving in the right direction!

A New Week.

Well the weekend has flown by, not enough time to do anything really before its time to start over again. The weather has changed its warmer and now its wet, very wet, not really had much rain for a while, I think we will make up for it this week.
The reunion went well on Saturday night. It was great to see so many people that have been part of school life, Laura's reception class teacher, Mrs Greener plus all the previous heads. So we had all four heads (the only four heads) all together ! The turnover of heads is not great thank goodness. There were lots of teachers from over the years plus ex pupils and parents. It was a good night and one that we must repeat again. The strange thing is I took my camera but didn't take any photos, I put it down to the fact that I was taking photos with my friend Raymondes super dooper new camera and didn't use mine!! (I'm sure she'll share with me!!)
Dad is doing well and I am sure barring a major set back he will be home in the next couple of days. Its the same old story over the weekend the hospital runs on minimum staffing, which is a mystery as you still have patients and if you actually continued to assist them with physio and the likes you might actually aid their recovery and free a bed earlier. So I have been in with mum and Beth and we have assisted him with the exercises that he has been left. I have seen an improvement with increased mobility on his part and he is now able to get in and out of bed unaided. When will hospitals realise that they are a 24 hour a day 7 days a week concern???
Carl has one of his A level exams today, so he was preparing last night tweaking an essay that has to go with the exam today. This is a resit caused by an error that his teacher made. Last year for IT he taught the 'wrong' curriculum and every single pupil who took the AS level was ungraded, so the school are paying for the resit and the content has been checked this time, so fingers crossed.
So back to work for another week of arguments and meetings.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Its the Weekend!!!!

Two days off work, fantastic!!! The first week back at work after Christmas is awful, a couple of things have made this one worse. A colleague at work was involved in a 5 vehicle pile up on the way home from work on Wednesday afternoon and is now fighting for her life in a hospital in London. A very upsetting business for all concerned made worse by the fact that her colleagues had to deal with the accident. The accident was not her fault she was sitting in stationary traffic when an Arctic hit the traffic, not realising it had stopped, wrong place, wrong time.
Other sad news, a friend I have made through blogging, Travis, has had a terrible time of things this week. On a positive note, he and his family are unharmed but after an electrical fault they have lost their home to a fire which totally destroyed it. They have insurance but I can't imagine what they are going through and how awful it must be to lose everything. As he has said his boys have been very good, but have been really upset by small things like the loss of their hot wheels cars. Over time they will be able to built things back up, it really could have been so much worse.
Dad is doing well, he has been to physio, he can get out of bed virtually on his own and is making good progress, we will pop in to see him later on.

I have decided that I don't like working full time and that I will return to my part time hours as soon as I can, I liked having the two extra days off a month, it made a real difference. Now I am having to do my shopping with everyone else on a Saturday which is not nice!!!!

Tonight we are going to a 'Ruby Revels' party at Panshanger School. We have been associated with this school since Laura started there 20 years ago. Tonight is the 40th anniversary so they are having a party and a display of the school through the years. We are going with some friends we have known for the past 15 or so years who have had children in the same classes as ours. I am really looking forward to seeing the displays and seeing people I've not seen in a few years !

Hope you all have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Back on the Roller Coaster.

This first week back at work has not been a good one, mainly because of all that is going on at home as well as at work. Before Christmas dad had his hip replacement operation cancelled. He was actually in hospital in the bed when they told him they didn't have the part. They rearranged it for Tuesday just gone. This time it went ahead even though there wasn't a high dependency bed available. He has come through it well and got out and walked yesterday for the first time which was great less than 24 hours after the op.
My colleague at work is dealing with her own problems, her father in law has had two massive heart attacks and is poorly in hospital 150 miles away. He is now waiting for a quadruple heart bypass and is so sick that they are refusing to let him home while he is building up to having the op. So she hasn't been at work which leaves me with everything plus visiting in the evening. Yesterday I didn't get out of my last meeting until 6pm, so it was straight from that into the hospital.
Another gripe, why do people who buy things on eBay (Beth has sold some toys this week) fail to read the listing?? Its easier if we accept pay pal as it means its quick and confirmed, but no, last night received an email from one buyer saying the cheque is in the post, so that means a trip to the bank and a wait for clearance, virtually a two week delay when it says quite clearly in the listing Pay Pal only. Grrrrr. The other annoying thing is that we sold thirteen lots and we are still waiting for contact from two and the auction finished on Monday!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
On a positive note the weather is looking better, positively tropical, 1C, first time in around 2 weeks its been above freezing, won't have to scrape the car today.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Card For Di Hickmans Blog

This week I have chosen to do a bright Birthday card!
I have used pink pearl card by crafters companion embossed with my swiss dots embossing folder on the cuttlebug. The pink gingham flower was in my collection, but I don't know who made it!! The pink lace tape is really useful but I can't remember who makes it!!! (bit useless really!!!) Take a look at the rest of the cards over on Di Hickmans Blog!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


The after show party was in full swing until who knows what time, we ended up leaving just before midnight, Beth is exhausted as were most of the other children. There were some very nice speeches including one from the director who referred to the five youngsters for who this was their first major performance and commitment. Beth was mentioned by name as never having missed a rehearsal and for her positive attitude and performance.
There were nine youngsters in this production and they all got on very well between them they have decided to ask the chair of the theatre to choose plays during the year that have some roles for children. The ones that have been chosen for this year only have very limited opportunity for youngsters.
They are looking forward to next Christmas already as they hope that they get The Wizard of Oz sorted out, lots of youngsters roles in that play!
This morning we are up early to go and do the 'get out' The next production team and cast need to use the green room and stage from 12pm today so we have to go in and clear all the props from the stage, check out the wardrobe and sort anything that needs cleaning and put everything else away. We need to hoover a months worth of rubbish off of the green room floor plus toilet and sink cleaning, should be fun. They are encouraging the youngsters to go and do their bit as its all part of the whole production.
Back to work tomorrow, not looking forward to that!!!!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Recycled Cards and the end of the Panto.

Today is sees the final performances of the Panto, its been a hard slog for all involved not least of all us long suffering parents who have had to stay sober all over Christmas so that we can get them there and collect them afterwards. We have made some cards for some of the people who have been helpful back stage and who have kept things on track, its not easy organising so many children and making sure that they are dressed and on stage at the right times.
I decided to recycle some of our New Years eve masks, as most of the cast at some point wore very similar masks!! The oval greeting has been cut with my brand new nestabilities, which gave me a bit of a worry by sticking fast to one of the perspex plates!!

Beth had several roles and several changes of costume, she starts as a villager, swaps to a cat, back to villager, then a clown and finally a villager. Lots of changes and lots of make up on and off.

This is how she feels at the end of a very long run!!!!
I feel quite sad on the one hand but we are looking forward to the after show party tonight and getting back to normal on Monday.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Me, Mad,Tom and John.

Tom, Carl, Beth and Grace

Carl and his 'Girlfriend' - Gracie

Me and Mad!!!

Happy New Year everyone!! Mad and John came over last night, we have been taking visits in turn since the kids were little, we were working it out last night and this must be our 17th year, we started after it became clear that lugging the kids back home in the early hours of the morning was having a detrimental effect on the amount of sleep that we were getting, that and the increased alcohol consumption was having an general bad effect on us all. Last night it was our turn to be the hosts. As the years have gone by and the kids have grown up we have found that we are not always able to stay over, we all have jobs and there is always someone who will be working on new years day. This year it is Madeline's turn to work. We celebrated with a Chinese, a few games and then pink champagne at midnight. We had a pack of the most ferocious and temperamental party poppers, some failed to go off, those that did went with a real bang that kicked back and burnt your fingers, I am sure we had a duff batch!!

So I hope 2009 is a great year for you!!