Sunday, September 20, 2015

Busier than ever!

This year is flying by, I have no idea where it is going! I like to be busy but its starting to run away with me! A big part of the business is trying to sort out our trip to Hong Kong, which has been both a nice thing to do and a  bit of a chore. I like to research where we are going but that seems to lead you into all sorts of dead ends and decisions to be made! Thank goodness for and Trip Advisor. I feel that I am an expert in all hotels in Hong Kong now. I find one I like the look of it seems to have all we are looking for when you read the description, so I am tempted to push the 'book now' button. Luckily checking Trip Advisor reveals the reason one of the hotels has space is its at the top of a steep hill and the taxi drivers refuse to take you up there!! Well if they can't get up there, I am not attempting it with my hip and my luggage!! Finally I think I have had a stroke of luck, a brand new hotel only opened 6 weeks ago in Causeway Bay, 4 stars and a rating of 9.5 PLUS they are doing opening offers. I contacted them and they have agreed to late check out, free airport transfer and buy one get one free in their restaurant, I have decided to go for that. Being new its at least going to have spanking new furnishings and fittings!! So now I have started on the itinerary to make sure that we get to see all we want to see!

My new camera is going well apart from having a pretty naff strap, I really fancied a scarf strap which is gentle on my delicate neck and has the added advantage of protecting my camera in my bag. I had seen them on Etsy and Folksy but they cost a fortune, the cheapest I had seen was £25 ! So that got me thinking that perhaps I could make one for myself. The biggest issue was sourcing the parts, particularly the bits that attached it to the camera. It had to be man enough for the job because I couldn't risk dropping the camera. So after extensive searching I bought a replacement strap off of eBay and used the parts I needed. The actual making was quite easy I used a scarf that I bought at Camden Market last week. It found it easy to stitch it by hand using the machine holes in the leatherette made by the original construction. I am thrilled with it !! 

Best of all it cost considerably less than the versions that I had previously found!!

I started a new project at pottery, I have a plan in my head and I am not sure if it will come out as I envisage it, but I'll have to wait and see!

I am making a little hamlet on a hill , the plan is for light from a tea light to show through the windows and I plan a slight dent to put essential oil on so that the heat activates it! It was a long more involved that I had appreciated, so I will have to finish it off next week. At the moment it looks a bit derelict !! There is a fair bit of refining to be done, failing that it will be 'rustic'!!!

Yesterday morning I went up to Ally Pally for the paper crafting show, it gets smaller each time you visit!! I am still in awe of all the talented people who have their wares on display! Its full of good ideas! In the end I found my favourite 'pound' stall and spent £12!! bargain!!

Last night started with this......

What can I say??? That bottle went, along with a bottle of port and half a bottle of Vodka :( It got messy, very messy!!!!

A very good night was had by all!! The general consensus is that two thirds of the ladies in the above picture  are far too old for shots and the after effects of shots, still nothing ventured nothing gained!!! 

Still some good news, clearly Christmas is just around the corner Morrison's is stacked with these boxes of loveliness!!

Hope you have a great week, I have another week of 'decrepidness' checking, with nurse, Specsavers and dentist all in the same 3 hours!! can't wait!!
My friend has made it back home along with her extended holiday she has a sore leg to remind her of Crete plus another week or two off work!! Welcome home Sue, see you at the Crooked Chicken next weekend!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I have resumed my pottery classes.

Well after what seems like ages away I resumed my pottery classes! I was excited about going back because our pots had been finished over the summer and we would finally get the chance to see how they had turned out. I think on balance I am happy with the results but realise that going forward I will concentrate on preparing ideas to take with me. I am happy with the above bits, I like the colour and shape of the plate, but can see a little more effort is needed in the finishing! Its not as smooth as it could have been. The hearts are fine, but again I can see where in future I would refine them. I wanted them to go on my wall and two of the four have actually made it to my wall so that's a result.

Tom wanted a coffee cup which has turned out fine, again a bit 'rustic' and 'organic' (for that read wobbly and uneven!!) It hold a small cup of coffee which is what he wanted and as a bonus in case he forgets his name I have helpfully provided a label to assist him. 

A better shot of the plate, I like the way the frit has bloomed like flowers on top of the glaze. The bowl behind was made from coiling, a technique I am not very keen on, so that a bit wobbly as well. The spotty pot was made with slab work, that was easier to construct but not easy enough for me to consider making two more to make a matching set!!

Not sure what to make of this bowl, I went all free lance on this one combined to death lots of techniques which have given an 'interesting' result!Pink paint, white glaze and some blue frit, mmm not sure that its one I would repeat!!

This candle stick was nothing like this in my brain, it sort of evolved as I went on, as I said previously it was supposed to be an underwater scene with fish and gently waving weeds, it was a 50% success, the weeds turned out looking like earth worms BUT its turns out this is one of those pieces that have improved with addition of a good coloured glaze! 

It actually fits in nicely on my unit, so its a success!

This last week we made weird bowls, not sure how they are going to turn out!!

I think they would not be out of place in an air raid shelter, but I am prepared to be amazed once they have dried out and fired!!

We also did some little free hand dish things, you'd be amazed at how fiddly they were and I am still not sure I actually like the result. I have decided going forward that I will have a project something that i will prepare beforehand and then work on it during the lesson. In my head I have a little ceramic village on the side of a hill, with windows that will light up with a tea light. Trouble is it will not end up anything like that!! I can dream!!

I have still been fiddling with my camera and I am starting to master it a bit better. I was helped no end by a very patient bee like thing that was sitting on a rose, I think it was a bit dozy because it stayed there for ages and let me take loads of pictures!!

I took around 20 photos and all the bee did was womble around a bit and ignore me!!

I have also been back at the flame this week with a remembrance bead commission. It was good to be bead making again, everything else seems to have taken over at the moment.

I hope that they like their beads.

It seems to have been a very busy weekend, Tom is 'enjoying' Sunderland on the telly, I am baking a plum cake for pudding and Beth is swapping her bedroom around, I just hope she doesn't get fed up mid move, it could be a long afternoon!!!

Finally I wanted to wish my friend Sue a speedy recovery, only Sue could go on holiday and delay her return by ending up in hospital with a badly infected leg after a mosquito bite. She has had a few days as an inpatient but has been released back into the wild this morning, they are now waiting for the insurance company to arrange a flight home. Thinking of you Sue, hope you are back in your own bed soon .
Have a great week.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

I wasn't expecting to be doing THAT this morning!!!

Last night after a lovely day out in London (more about that later) I came home to a suspicious looking puddle of water, we don't really have any luck with watery problems, so I expected the worse and I wasn't disappointed!! The puddle was near to our fish tank :( I am still not sure exactly where abouts on the fish tank it was coming from, but it was clear that's where the problem was. So last night we had to re-home the fish in a bucket and empty the tank. 

Bright and early this morning we headed off down to the local aquarium supplier and bought a new tank, gravel and a few plants. It then took us around two hours to set the whole thing up! Once we had finished we were able to put the fish into their new home. The new tank is a bit bigger and looks very spacious, The fish however were clearly cross with the enforced stay in their temporary bucket residence, they skulked around the bottom on the tank sticking very close together, we tried to tempt them out with food but they were having none of it :( so we decided to ignore them and see how they got on. Eventually several hours later they chilled out a bit and set off exploring.

This is the original tank with the fish buzzing around!

This is the new set up, still slightly murky with the fish all huddled together bottom left under the pump!
Anyway I am sure they will soon get over their collective 'hump' and get back to their regular ways!!

Yesterday I went to Camden Market, I had never been there before, one of those places that people go to but its always passed me by. It was one of those days where the weather was a bit of a nuisance. It was threatening to be wet and cold so we had to dress in case of rain. I really wasn't ready to abandon my summer sandals but decided to wear my trainers with sandals as a back up. After around three hours of walking in trainers, socks and trousers I was melting so had to make a pit stop to get back into my sandals!! I was surprised at the area it was cram packed with market stalls, quirky shops and millions of people!!

Here I am before the great footwear swap!!!

I really enjoyed looking around, I have never seen so many T shirts in such a small space, thousands of them! The regular shops were pretty impressive as well!

The shops are adorned with these huge representations of their wares. They are brilliant!

We even came across Alice in Wonderland !!

Look at Accessorize!! They have pushed the boat out on this shop front!! Lovely!

We adopted the time honoured method of market shopping, this being the end of summer we went for bar stops rather than look for mulled wine. Its a simple process, walk, look at the wares on offer until you have had enough, then find an establishment that serves refreshing uplifting drinks such as Bulmers Cider!! sit for a while, enjoy and recharge batteries. The all you have to do is repeat until you have seen all you want to see!! I can confirm that this method has worked very well for lots of trips, Amsterdam, Hamburg and now Camden Lock!!!
Yesterday was a good time to try out my new camera. I received an email from Mr Tesco advising me that I had £70 in club card vouchers, some were about to expire, so he suggested that I spent them in their double up bonus promotion. Well it would have been rude not to, so I chose a new camera, a Sony Cybershot, which is a lighter version of my current Fuji bridge camera. Its a different make so all the controls are in different places, so yesterday was a day of experimentation. I am starting to get to grips with it! I think I am going to like it!

Had a chat with Carl today and he is settled in his new place, the view from the 15th floor is fantastic!! I hope he will be able to share some photos with us soon!!

Back to the grind, I hope you all have a good week

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Here comes the Autumn!!!

1st of September - it is practically winter!! The nights are drawing in there is that autumn smell of dampness in the air  and it reminds me once again of being pregnant ! I have no intention of repeating that feat (immaculate conception would be required) but that smell takes me right back. Three children and always pregnant in the autumn. October and November birthdays meant that I went into hospital to give birth wearing summer clothes and came out one day later freezing cold and straight into the cooler weather. Happy memories and happy days.

We have just had the last Bank Holiday before Christmas. as usual it was a wash out, poured with rain all day. The good news is that dad was discharged from hospital, he is much better and just feels washed out now from the lack of sleep and the after effects of the drugs. I am just happy that he is home. 

While we were away in Scarborough Beth and Harry went crabbing, it had been a nice warm day but by the time we headed to the pier for the main event it was starting to blow a bit and felt quite chilly. They were determined to catch some crabs so they set themselves up on the stairs and waited.

Tom was trying to be brave, no coat ! Harry was also being equally tough, I gave up and put my hoody on and headed for a cup of tea !!

Scarborough is a pretty place, typical seaside town, lots of tat shops and not too much else. It was still pleasant walking along the front. For the first time ever we came back with a bag of copper, perhaps finally we have all outgrown the penny arcades!!

We spent an afternoon up on the Moors, its so pretty this time of year with the beautiful purple heather as far as they eye can see. Its such a peaceful area. We always visit Goathland, the village is still living off of the 1980's police series Heartbeat. It still seems to attract lots and lots of visitors.

Its hard to believe that Carl has been away for a fair while, its not too long until we see him again. I feel much easier knowing that I can chat to him on whatsapp and the weekend face-time is very nice as well!!

Today I am feeling extraordinarily excited about finding an app!! I have been experiencing all sorts of problems with the calendar app on my I phone, I seem to have some sort of software glitch which switches off notifications continually so I was missing appointments, well today I discovered google calendars and its a fabulous app!! It syncs across phone, tablet and pc, I can assign a colour to various categories and set up alerts to my hearts content, its far more flexible than my original apple version.  Such little things, so much satisfaction!!!
Have a lovely short week.