Saturday, April 28, 2012

Something Different.

Today I decided to 'alter' a little footstool that I found in one of the charity shops. I liked the shape but not the colour. It was old fashioned and covered in a dull floral tapestry material. I wanted to jazz it up to fit in with my new furniture. 

I forgot to take a before photo so this is one very similar from Google world.

I prised off the padded bit on the top, the tapestry was attached by staples which were fun to remove .

You can see what I mean about it being a bit dated !
I rubbed the stool down and started the painting process. In the end it took 4 coats to cover up the awful dark colour. Last week I spotted a really pretty floral tea towel in Matalan and I knew straight away it would be perfect for my stool. So after finishing the painting, I covered the top with my pretty tea towel and transformed the stool in a much prettier object!!

I am really pleased with the final object, I have added up the cost and as I was able to use a couple of match pots for the paint, a tea towel for the material and the original box, it came to £3.40 Bargain!!!

This weekend so far has been a wash out, nothing but constant torrential rain. the garden is awash with water and lots of the roads resemble duck ponds. I now realise that the weather can play its part in how you feel. I feel very peed off !!!!

On a very positive note Mum has been going to the Spire Hospital in Bushey for physio. The NHS have not provided very much assistance once she left the Herts and Essex and she has had to muddle through herself. She has a couple of ambitions, one is to be able to get back into bed by herself and the second is to walk with just her sticks and not with the zimmer frame. So after two weeks at Spire they have got things going and they have suggested a home private physio, the lady came around for the first time yesterday. She has decided on a plan of action and hopes that Mum will be a lot more mobile at the end of it. So yesterday for the first time since December 2010 Mum walked using just her walking sticks fantastic progress !!! She even managed a fair distance walking from her chair to the front door and back . We are all very proud of her achievement. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

4 days without the internet????

I have had a terrible week, its been hard to cope with. I have been without the Internet!! It is amazing how much you come to rely on the magic of the web. Beth has not been able to do her research for her home work.  I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to look for something before realising that I couldn't actually look it up. I wanted to upload photos and sort out some photo shop posters, all to no avail!! Last night I phoned Virgin again and they said that it was a fault on my modem having spent three days telling me it was a general fault, they refunded half a months subscription and arranged for an engineer to call tomorrow. As it turned out we received an automated call to say that they had fixed it remotely and did we still need an engineer?? So now its back and life can get back to normal!!!

So what did I do to fill up my Internet free time?? Well made beads of course!!!

I have been playing with 'silver' glass. This glass reacts with the base glass to produce some interesting effects . Making beads is like making cakes, you have to experiment a bit and keep a note of what happens. I used silver leaf on top of ivory glass and they reacted  together I then put a bit of silver glass over the top.

To make the glass shine you have to allow it to cool for a while and then gently waft it in the tip of the flame. If you get it right it has a mirror like shine. I am pleased with these few beads. Some time soon I will make them into jewelry and hit the craft fairs!!

I am glad we are heading towards the weekend, it seems to have been a hard week not helped by the torrential rain that we have been enjoying. Every day this week we have been drenched getting from the car to the office. Today we had a presentation outside and that was wet as well. This is what happens when you are in the middle of a drought and hose pipe ban!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Strange Weekend

I had so much that I wanted to do over the weekend and in the end got very little of it sorted out. It went by in a rush of nothingness. I think a lot of it was the aftermath of Carl getting his job and all of that sinking in.
On Saturday I decided that along with all the other stuff I had to do housework wise, I would make him a congratulations card. As always a card for a man is far harder than any card for a woman or child, so I spent a huge amount of time trying to come up with a design that worked for me. I knew that in my stash I had some 'large' card blanks. I also had some school stickers, so I had a bit of a start. In the end I virtually spent the whole day thinking about it all.
Eventually I came up with this :-

I am pleased with the result a combination word art and stickers. Simple but effective! 
I liked it so much that I adapted the design for a couple of other cards. 

I did manage to get another go on my beads. I have been trying to perfect the use of special double helix glass. These glasses are all very expensive so its a bit of a worry using them, I don't want to waste them. So I did some experiments and I will photograph them to record them for a future post.

So here we are with Monday nearly out, work is busy as usual and there is loads to do. The weather is wet and cold and to top it all a tomato has exploded over my nice clean top. Time for bed I think!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Good News!!!!

This week has been one of those weeks. It was my first week back after the holidays, Beth was back at school and Carl finally finished his University course. He has submitted all of his work and has been confirmed as a 'Newly Qualified Teacher' Fantastic news and the end of a long three year slog for him. 

As the week went on the news got better. Carl applied for a job at his old Primary school after they advertised a vacancy. There were over 50 applicants for the job and he was one of six short listed.

On Thursday he went for his interview at 8.30 in the morning. He had spent some time preparing for it. He had to carry out a written task and also teach a lesson. He went in on the Wednesday afternoon to make sure that the resources he had chosen to use would work with the systems the school had. After a restless night for both of us thinking/worrying about it he set off.

After the interview he said he felt it had gone as well as he could have hoped for, he felt he had done his best and couldn't have done anymore. So that's all you could hope for. The long wait then started to see if he had been successful. I was in a day long meeting so I kept checking my phone to see if there had been any messages, but with six people to interview it was going to take all day.

Finally at 5.30pm he received a call to say that he had been successful and was now a NQT with a job!!!!
We are thrilled for him and very proud that he has managed to secure a job first time in. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More Beads!!!

Over the weekend I got time to make a few beads. Before we went away on our mini holiday I managed to buy a new implement, a bead roller. I wasn't sure how I would get on with it, but I am pleased to report that it has worked very well. I needed something to enable me to make beads of the same size time after time. I cracked on and managed just that!! The roller has 4 different sized holes so I was able to make 4 different sized beads. Most of the ones above are the same size but there are a couple a bit bigger when I over did the amount of glass !! All in all I was very happy with a regular bunch of beads and I feel inspired to do more.

I tried to keep a common theme, spotty beads!! I don't know what happened to the blue ones though. They all developed red streaks. I have checked he rods and they are pure blue no red in them at all. I have checked my work surface and that's clear, so its a mystery, perhaps I over heated the blue and got a reaction.

All I have to do now is make them into something, so I need to work harder at making 'sets' of things!!

In more good news Carl is now designated as a 'NQT' Newly qualified teacher. He has handed all his work in and they have signed him off at Uni. We are so proud of him its been a tough few years and he has had to work very hard to get there. I think he will make a great teacher. Well done Carl !!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Millions of Tulips.

We left the ship at 10am and boarded our coach to Keukenhof. The coach driver was great took us there via some rural roads.Once in the country we were surrounded by fields and fields of brightly coloured flowers, Tulip and hyacinths mainly. Even from inside the coach you could smell the heady fragrance of the flowers!

The colours were outstanding every direction there were rows and rows of bright colours.
Once inside the gardens there was more formal planting, but it was still impressive looking at so many flowers in one place.

The entrance to the park was heaving with people and Beth said it felt like going into Disney. There was a fountain and a huge music organ playing, it definitely sounded like walking into a Disney Park. Once people started to move away from the main entrance the numbers thinned out and it didn't feel so crowded.
What was amazing was the number of people taking photographs. There must be millions and millions of photos of Tulips in existence simply from that one day. I took over 300 in the space of three days!! 
Everywhere I looked there were people with fantastic cameras promoting feelings of camera envy in my head. My camera felt very inferior in comparison, but in the end it didn't matter I stood my ground, I waited until  the back ground was clear and I snapped away!! 

The hyacinths were fabulous, the scent was on the breeze all day. 

Then onto the Tulips. We learnt that the tulips grow so well in the area because of the system of polders and canals. To reclaim the land canals were built to allow the land to drain. The land that is left is rich from the silt that had been at the bottom of the drained lakes. Because its not too far from the sea, there is a lot of sand blown in which mixes with the silt which results in the perfect mix for growing tulips!

So with so many tulips on display I became a bit confused about exactly which sort I liked. I have narrowed it down to 'pink' ones. That doesn't really help too much because there are many many shades of pink. 

Then the next problem is pink ones are lovely,
 but look how gorgeous they look when you add in yellows and reds!!! 

Then there are the special ones with frilly bits ....

And the most Delicious raspberry ripple ice cream shades.....

But I think I really love pretty pale pink. They are all beautiful!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trip to Amsterdam!!!!

We have just had a very pleasant few days travelling to Amsterdam to visit the bulb fields. I had been in two minds about booking the trip but I am so pleased that I did. It was a great trip and I restrained myself, only took 300 photos!!!

We drove up to Newcastle and arrived early in the pouring rain. The port of Tyne was right next to an 'outlet' centre and it was at this point in the rain that we realised that Beth didn't have a rain coat. Every time we visit Amsterdam it rains so we decided to buy her a coat before we set off, just to be on the safe side. 

Once we pulled into the port, Tom dropped us off and then parked the car. Beth was in her wheelchair as too much walking has an effect on her knee. We wanted her to be able to get around once we were on the ship. 
The staff at DFDS were very helpful and they helped us get through passport control and onto the ship. We were met by another man who took us up to our cabin. A brilliant service which continued all through the trip.

Leaving Newcastle we could see some of the old dock areas that were being demolished and regenerated. There were lots of these dock areas where they used to work on the ships.

A little further on there were some new buildings and the place was starting to look cared for again.

These made us laugh from the ship it looked as if there were bodies hanging over the rail. on closer look they were diving outfits!!!

Although we have been on quite a few cruises and sea trips we don't usually have a cabin with a window. (We are too cheap!!) this time we had no choice as all the inside cabins had gone. So this was the view from our window, one of the life boats!! We were on deck 11 so we had great views across the ocean.

On the first night we went to a presentation about the wild life in the area, although we didn't see any, there are  porpoises, dolphins and whales all around in the North Sea!!

We had a beautiful sunset that first night and the sea was very calm. We had a good night in the cabin and slept reasonably well considering it was a strange bed!
After breakfast the following morning we headed off to the bulb fields.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

If that was Easter, we have had it!!!

Well that long weekend has gone by in a flash, plenty of rain and miserable weather. On the plus side Beth did get some nice Easter Eggs. The whole of the weekend was fairly uneventful but it was nice to be able to chill out and do very little. 
Today we are preparing for our little jaunt to the Dutch bulb fields so just need to pop out and get some Euros and that will be it. Beth had physio on the knee and she is looking at at least another month in a brace, she is making progress but its slow. Today they started to work on getting her onto one crutch so she is going to try that and see how she goes.

So just a bit of packing to do plus checking the car over for the journey. We are taking a wheelchair for Beth as we may well have a bit of walking to do and because of the crutches lots of walking makes her hands ache!!!

Monday, April 09, 2012

New Beads!!

Well the weather this Bank Holiday has been as we have come to expect - wet!! Here we are with four days off faced with a hose pipe ban and it has been steadily raining and being generally miserable. I have had a good time crafting caught up with my scrap booking, enjoyed digging around the family tree and yesterday had a go at a few beads.
I am particularly happy with these for a couple of reasons.
1. They are just about the same size.
2. There has been a great reaction between the glasses.
I might be able to make these into something nice, so I am thrilled!!!

This afternoon I went over to Van Hages Garden Centre to support my friends son, Sam, who was putting in a spell  as a garden gnome riding a snail!!! He is a very talented young man and he has passed the audition for a place with The National Youth Theatre. (400 out of over 5,000 applicants countrywide!) He is raising money to help cover some of the costs associated with the training.
His costume is great and a couple of his friends turned up to rattle a bucket for him. Good Luck Sam!!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter!!!

Happy Easter!! Its very nice to have a long weekend now and again. So far its been pretty chilled and I have taken the time to catch up on lots of bits and pieces that I have wanted to do for a while. One thing that I had wanted to do for a while is re look at my family tree. Its been a few years since I dabbled with it and when I was sorting out the conservatory I peeped into the box file of certificates and found myself wondering again. Since I last looked thing have moved on line so you can research from the comfort of your house. So yesterday I spent a very pleasant day searching and looking for my old relatives!!!
By the end of the day I ended up with a pile of post it notes all covered with info which I had updated into my on line tree. I found quite a few new details and realised that I had previously made some mistakes, just reading things wrong and coming to the wrong conclusion !!! I have corrected them. The added bonus is the census returns that are now indexed and on line, cuts the searching down no end. 

I have put the whole of my tree on Ancestry and its great to see it building. I have the usual skeletons in the cupboards and I have made a fair few discoveries such as one of Tom's relatives was called Newyear, born on New years day, child number 12, they had obviously run out of names!!! But he was a train driver fully qualified after an apprenticeship of 20 years!!! He was a rebel and married a German girl who was 17 when they got married (he was 45!!) Exciting times. He died a few years later and she remarried and with her new husband ran a 'boarding house' . in the 1901 census there were 80 people lodging with her!!!!
I can feel my addiction returning.....

Friday, April 06, 2012

Thank You Blue Peter!!

Beth has been preparing for Easter and in particular the Easter egg hunt and yesterday on Blue Peter they had a fantastic idea of making egg halves by dipping balloons in chocolate. Beth was very keen to try it. So this morning I battled around Tescos with the whole of the rest of Hertfordshire and bought the supplies. 

So Beth melted the chocolate and dipped her first balloon........

Sadly the chocolate was still too hot and as she lifted it up out of the chocolate it exploded!!!

It covered Beth....

It covered the microwave, the walls the tiles, kettle, cooker and me!!

Beth caught the worse of it!!

We both had to change our clothes and We both ended up with a load of chocolate in our hair!!!

I am pleased to report that the next balloons were more successful and less explosive!!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Don't Panic!!!!!

I have finally got a couple of photos from Last weekends major incident training that Beth took part in. She is splattered with blood in the above photo with a nice cut on her cheek. 

When she got home she looked as if she had a bad case of sun burn!! It took a bit of a scrub in the shower to get rid of it all!!!
Thank goodness its the start of the long weekend. I a totally unprepared for the Bank Holidays. I haven't even bought any eggs as yet, so I expect once I get into the shops they will be gone and I'll end up buying bars of chocolate !! I am looking forward to getting some time to do my own thing, a bit of crafting and then a bit of chilling in preparation for our visit to Amsterdam Next week. I hope we hit a fine sunny day so I can get lots of lovely photos. 
Happy Easter 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

What a beautiful day!!

When I woke up this morning and looked outside the sky was clear and the sun was shining, it was still cool but it looks as if today might be a great one for taking a few photos. All week I had been planning to take some blossom shots but had not got around to it. I am a bit of an ignoramus when it comes to naming the trees, so I am going to see if I can do an identification by google a bit later on!!

I think its fair to say that the blossom is stunning this year, we have a fantastic tree on our green, but its always very late flowering, but it hasn't stopped the trees in the rest of the town.

I am amazed at just how many flowers there are blooming at the same time, they are the most delicate shades of pink with a few white ones thrown in.

It seems such a lot of effort for them to bloom when the slightest of breezes results in pink confetti every where, a true sight of spring.

This tree had less flowers in smaller clusters, but they were fragrant and you could catch the scent on the breeze. 

This tree was stacked with blossom. I took a drive around the whole of the town and I only found this type of tree in one place. 

The tree attracted loads of great big fat bees, they were buzzing from flower to flower.

Last of all is the magnificent Magnolia. Strong, big pink flowers There are a few of these in the main road through the town, they are not all in flower as yet, but this one was in a garden nearer to home, so I took a few sneaky shots. 

Beth has been out all day playing the part of a body for the Ambulance service who have a mock up major incident. She gets to take several roles, this morning she had a peanut allergy, she is now on her way home covered in blood!! I hope she got some photos!!!

Mum and dad have had a bit of a day, the stair lift has packed up, they have a call out service plan  but when the man arrived he found  that the gear box had broken and he doesn't have a spare one, they have to be ordered in. So Mum is trapped upstairs until its fixed, hopefully in the morning. 
My conservatory is finally 'done' we picked up the final cupboard Saturday morning and have that installed next to the bureau, so now my printer and craft robo are up and running again. I advertised a couple of bits on  Free cycle and one has gone and one is waiting to go. So then I will be clear I am happy with how it has all turned out and I was able to sit and make some beads this afternoon without spending an age shuffling things around to get ready first.
I can't wait to see what come out of the kiln as I have been experimenting with some special effects glass. I just hope its not poo on a stick!!!