Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Father Christmas or Tim Holtz?

I hope everyone had as great a Christmas as I did :o) The fact I got all the things I really really wanted may well have had something to do with the fact I ordered or bought nearly all my own presents this year :o)

So Father Christmas came in the shape of Tim Holtz, with some distress ink pads, stamp sets, perfect pearls, stickles and ideology bits. I also got a gorgeous red jumper, booze (never goes amiss), money (never goes amiss either) and some fantastic black furry slipper boots that make me look like a cartoon character (huge black feet) but who cares ........... my feet are so warm it's unbelievable (shame the rest of me isn't).

Oh look at the goodies ........... shiny, pretty things

Postman Pat feet

A wonderful Christmas dinner cooked by Mum and yet again I forgot to take a photo of it, but it was scrummy. And to top it all a 2 hour post Christmas dinner siesta - what a good day.

My lovely neighbours gave me a bottle of sherry, a home made Christmas cake and some of Sarah's wonderful mince pies. No I am not a lover of mince pies normally, coz I don't like 'flies' but for these I make an exception - the pastry is to die for ......

Yum Yum

A nice few days off and now back at work. MP is having to take me and pick me up at the moment (he's on holiday) as the lane to our house is still covered in snow and ice and MP's car has snow tyres fitted (one of his Christmas treats to himself). Just as the snow started to melt it came back again and It's still snowing on and off, with bad weather predicted for New Year. Good job we don't have any plans but a quiet night in.

The photo opportunities have been great though and the icicles amazing ....


icicles from our guttering and drain pipe

icicles at the side of Bacup Road

Impressive or what?

Not done much crafting. TBH I have still got a cold and my asthma is quite bad at the moment but a trip to the GP's today and a shiny new inhailer and hopefully I should be back on track soon. Hope so, as Mum, Kathb and I are booked for Sarah's cards Warrington crop on Sunday and we haven't been for a while so I am looking forward to it. Lets hope the snow stops and I can get down the hill, no way I won't need my car (and full boot) to go to that.

Well, best get on, MP is cooking dinner and I should at least offer to help :o)

Take care all and drive safe

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

I'd like to wish everyone who reads this ...................

A very Merry and Happy Christmas

Hope your day is filled with love, good cheer and of course presents

Sunday, 20 December 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well, several days later it's still snowing.

I did the shopping Friday after work and MP picked me and the goodies up from the supermarket. The nice men from the council had been and gritted the road/hill to our house (the drive down in the morning was hairy to say the least. Looked like they had started gritting and run out half way) so we managed to get all the way up. After reading the weather predictions (we have the met office in favourites!) I suggested to MP we take one of the cars down and park it on the main road, just in case, but MP didn't think it was going to be that bad so didn't bother - bet he wishes he had now :o)

Looking out of the window it's blizzard like and about 3-4 inches covering everything and it's so cold but we have a lovely fire burning to keep us warm.

Yesterday we put up our Christmas tree. Now I love a real tree, think it stems back to the dodgy silver tinsel ones we had when I was a child, so we usually get at least a 7 footer for the lounge. Getting it in is easy but not so when it comes to take it down and we have to throw it out the patio doors which are over a conservatory (my house is upside down - lounge, kitchen upstairs, bedrooms down with one of the bedrooms having a conservatory attached!), no patio, making sure to throw it clear - not an easy task. So this year in a moment of wisdom, MP suggested a pretend tree.

So ............... Snow + Real fire + pretend Christmas tree in all their glory ............

Ho Ho Ho .........

As well as trying to make bookmark/tags for my team at work I have been busy doing door hangers for the children of one of my work colleagues. Took me a full day to do these, but I am pleased with the results - just hope Finn and Joe are .......

One of the blogs I check out on a regular basis - Ink on my fingers - is giving away these goodies. Why not pop over and have a look - the stamps are gorgeous :

You got to be in it to win it!

Well, best get back to the bookmarks but the way it's going, looks like tomorrow will be a snow enforced crafting day - how sad :o)

See you soon xx

Thursday, 17 December 2009

12 months

Just a quick post ......

It's been 12 months today since my gorgeous boy went to sleep. Can't believe how quickly the time has gone, how much we still miss him and how many stones in weight I have put on with no dog walking.

Winter is also upon us, with the first snow today. Drove up the hill tonight and fingers crossed will get down it again in the morning as it's our Christmas 'party' at work tomorrow and like being at school we are going to spend the afternoon playing games :o) What good use of tax payers money eh?

Murphy RIP

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Piggin flu!

Am massively feeling sorry for myself at the moment. Having nursed MP through swine flu recently, dodged every other person in the office sneezing and coughing all over the place and thinking myself lucky, I have finally succumbed to the dreaded lurgy. Not swine flu, just piggin ordinary flu which feels bad enough and thats despite having heroically had my vaccination a month ago!! So fire lit and house like an oven, lemsips and nightnurse taken, fleecy blanket a permanent fixture around shoulders and naff films on tv - sorted!

So not much done on the crafting front for a few days, haven't really had the energy and so much to do.........

Think I picked up the lurgy at the Christmas market in Manchester last Friday, where I met up with my old pals from Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) - Team Risk. A good time was had by all and it was lovely to see them after what seems like ages. MP came along for the food, which he consumed in large amounts and Gary's partner Michael came to meet us after he finished work which was great. Didn't take many photo's as it was packed and have to be honest, was not fit after several hot Gluweins!!!

Michael, Sue (surgery), Ian (team risk - peeping at the back), Norman (children's), Gary (team risk) and me

MP and I left them to it about 7pm and they looked set for the night! Bet there were a few hangovers the next day.

I took part in a circle journal (CJ) on UKS, hosted by my pal Kathb earlier this year. The theme for this CJ being 'all your own photo's'. How it works - there are 10 members in a circle, each one makes an album, containing enough pages for all 10 to do a double page layout, the owner does the first pages and then posts it on to another member of the team. They do their pages and it gets posted on again. This happens until you get your original album back, fully completed.

I decided to use the opportunity to get one of my Christmas presents done. An album of photographs of my neighbors dog, Beth, who sadly died not long after the photographs were taken.

The album arrived back last week and it is incredible. My neighbors are going to love it and whilst it may be a little upsetting at first I am sure they will treasure it. So here are the pages ....

first pages done by me - Beautiful Beth

pages 3&4 'Forever friends' by Amanda (Westiegirl)

pages 5&6 'Always in our heart' by Pennyk

pages 7&8 'Beautiful Beth' by Louise

pages 9&10 'Epitaph to a Newfoundland dog' by Donna (Teajenny)

pages 11&12 'Beloved dog' by Perdita

pages 13&14 'How gorgeous you were' by Lynne (Retired Nana)

pages 15&16 'Forever' by Clairbear

pages 17&18 'Adorable' by Joan (Lilacjo)

pages 19&20 by Jayne (Craftyfeeling)

So now I just have to bind it, add some ribbon and think of something to put on the first page which will explain it to non scrappers.

Thank you to everyone who took part and did the most wonderful pages and to Kathb for hosting. The next CJ starts in the New Year, now just to decide what to do!

Thanks for looking

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Finally recovered

Last weekends class at Art from the heart was awesome (sorry Kath I lied). 8 hours of inking, stamping, new techniques (alcohol inks and beeswax) was hard work but fantastic. Dyan was great and very patient and we got a good look at her journals and a quick peek at her new downloads (available soon). I came away with 6 'Tim' style tags and loads of inspiration .........

Tag 1 - stamping, masking, inking using Tim Holtz Christmas stamps, inks and rock candy paint. Has a hidden pocket for small tag.

Tag 2 - Inking and stamping with a tile to highlight Santa's face.

Tag 3 - Inking with arondak inks, TH stamps, stamped grungeboard and embossed tile.

Tag 4 - paint dabbers, pigment pearls and masks, alcohol inks and TH's stamps again (not finished yet)

Tag 5 - TH stamps, inks, grungeboard and metal work.

Tag 6 - Paint dabbers, TH stamps, downloadable cut outs, beeswax (needs finishing)

Incredible aren't they?

The downloadable cutouts in Tag 6 are from Lisa's altered arts and so gorgeous I just had to pop a few in my basket :o) Pop along and have a look, you won't be disappointed.

So, inspired by Dyan's bright coloured journals and with Lisa's downloads in hand I had to have a go at something, and here it is ..........

My first attempt at altered 'art'.

My colleagues at work like to ridicule my crafting. They joke about me changing into my crinoline when I get home and sitting sewing by candlelight. If only they knew!! We are rather prone to power cuts up here!! Anyway, I took the fruits of my labours (the tags) to work to show them and they were suitably impressed and now look at me in a whole new light, candlelight lol. I did get asked if I took orders, which was quite flattering, so what I decided to do was to make each of them a tag that they can use as a bookmark or whatever. This is the first one and is for my mate Carolyn. The quote ' Work is the curse of the drinking classes' Oscar Wilde is most apt because a) she's not very happy with her job at the moment and b) she drinks like a fish!! So 1 down, 8 to go!

For tag/bookmark number 2 (Fiona's) I'm going to use Dyan's new digital downloads so I will post up as soon as its done. I am also hoping to use this one as an entry to Dyan's competition to win some goodies, so if you fancy a go, pop on over to her blog for more info.

Finally, last month I mentioned I had won an altered art journal from the immensely talented Heather Robinson, well it finally arrived and boy was it worth the wait.

Thank you very much Heather, it's fabulous.

Well enough for one entry and time to get ready for work. Early start tomorrow as we'll need time to get the ark out!

Thanks for reading x

Friday, 20 November 2009

Staying in doors

It has been officially horrible this week. 60mph winds and flooding, what more could anyone ask for!! Drove myself to work Wednesday and there were alot of 'puddles' and lots of surface water. Now the Trevi fountain coming out of the middle of the road should have made me question my actions but oh no. I thought 'it can't be that bad, MP is in front of me somewhere and he'd either stop or text me if it's bad, so don't be a wuss and carry on'.

I did have second thoughts when I drove towards a car flashing it's lights at me, to realise as I got nearer, that he was stuck in the middle of the road with water half way up his doors and wheelie bins and black binliners of rubbish floating by but oh no, MP had obviously got through, so down into second gear, steady revs and through the pool I went. I continued and got to work to text MP amazed at the amount of water, only to get the response that it was the worst he'd ever seen!!

No surprises then that 1/2 hr later the road was closed!

Worse still, they closed my only other route home and I was 'trapped' at work!! Not a pleasant prospect. Late afternoon they opened the roads again and I have never seen the rivers as high, unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, missed opportunity.

Last weekend was a busy one. Golborne crop on Saturday and Whittle on Sunday. Saturday I spent the day doing Christmas ATC's for a UKS swap run by my pal Kathb and Sunday doing some slightly larger ATC's to fill a 7 gypsies ATC frame I recently bought. It has 12 compartments so, inspired by my trip to Art from the Heart and the fabulous Linda's blog I am trying to alter them Tim Holtz style, one for each month of the year. 3 done, 9 to go. I will post photos as soon as MP takes them!

Tomorrow I am off to Art from the Heart again to do a Tim style '12 tags of Christmas' class. Can't wait, should be a good day and I will remember to take my camera with me.

Back soon x

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Repeat Performance

Having had a fantastic time at the Greenday concert last Saturday, their first lot in the UK in 5 years, how suprised was I that on Monday they announced plans to do 2 UK Stadium concerts in 2010, with tickets going on sale yesterday (6th November) at 9am?

So keen to go see them again I dutifully penciled out 9 - 9.30 in my diary at work, told the team I was busy on important business and couldn't be disturbed, prayed the temperamental IT system wouldn't crash and logged onto the Ticketmaster website.

I got the page up and it started to load the tickets sales and what seemed like ages later it finally offered me some tickets which I grabbed. Then it came to making the payment. By this time I was sweating. Ticketmaster has this little countdown clock that tells you how long you have to complete the transaction before your tickets go back into the pot and mine was going down as I struggled to get my card details in. Then, due to the stupid security system on the card, I had to put in a password. Now I can never remember the damn thing at the best of times, let alone under countdown pressure, so needless to say I got it wrong, 3 times and the card got blocked!!! So I had to go back into the payment and change the password to something that again I'll forget. Eventually, with seconds to spare I got in and secured my tickets, so

June 16th 2010 I am going to see Greenday at Lancashire cricket ground :o)

which I am overjoyed about :o)

Now back to more mundane things ..........

MP has become a statistic. This week he has been suffering with FLU and had to take time off work. It was that or go to work in his PJ's, sweaty and horrible (him and the PJ's) so for only the second time in the 11 years we have been together MP had time off sick.

Being the kind wife (really more nursey background kicking in) I kept him supplied with fluids, Daynurse, etc and even offered to be his Flu buddy when the online test identified he probably had swineflu and prescribed his pig pills but being a 'man', he declined the Tamoxifen and decided to 'tough it out'.

He's feeling a little better now but the slightest thing tires him out. Good job he isnt prone to doing much then! He should be back to 'normal' again soon.

Dan, MP's middle brother, sent me a message on facebook this week to let me know that he isn't seeing Lesley anymore. She seemed nice even when I tried to poison her (see earlier posts). So Dan is on the prowl again - beware Chicago.

I have managed some scrapping lately, dipping in and out of Shimelle's Scrap like you mean it, stress free scrapping and some other DIY LO's:

Stress free scrapping
Stress free scrapping
Stress free scrapping -Old Friend - Susan
Stress free scrapping - New Friend - Kath
My attempt at the True Friend challenge - Harley in my sink, playing with the running tap
Based on the monthly sketch from Sarah's cards - 10 years

So, onwards and upwards. Time to get dressed and go do the shopping or the furbabies will have nothing for lunch.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Oh what a night ..........

Halloween couldn't come quickly enough for me. April I managed to book tickets to see Greenday at MEN Arena and finally the big night arrived :o)

MP and I had a lazy day including a 3 hour siesta in preparation for a late night. Late afternoon we got ourselves ready for a trip up to Manchester. I as usual wore black and MP looked quite trendy in a t-shirt, jeans and jacket (he didn't want to look like an old man lol). We drove to Manchester and parked up in Victoria Station and then walked to Deansgate for a pre show dinner at La Tasca.

Now I am not really a big fan of La Tasca as I find it a bit dark and noisy in there but the food is ok and the service is quick, so thats why we went. Being good, no Sangria was consumed :o( but plenty of food, despite the fact MP wasn't really that hungry!

Then the short walk to MEN Arena. First stop the booth selling the tour t-shirts. Desperate to stop MP wearing his hideous 'biker' t-shirt I suggested he buy a Greenday shirt, which was bound to impress the other bikers and improve his street cred. So MP's picked, just me to sort out. I couldn't decide so MP suggested I buy both of the t-shirts I liked and who am I to disagree! So shirts paid for and into the arena to catch the 15 minutes of the second support act The Foxboro Hot tubs, fronted by Billy Joe himself.

Then the lights go down, the cheers erupt and on bounce ........... GREENDAY.

2 1/2 hours well spent. Fantastic concert. Great mix of the new album with some old classics and hits from the American Idiot album. Never seen a band engage with the audience so much and pulling people out of the crowd. At one point they replaced the 3 band members with 3 teenagers from the crowd - really great and the girl who played the drums was brilliant.

To my great pleasure they played Basket case. This is the song that reminds me of MP and the one I have on my mobile that plays when he calls!!

Saving the best till last. Billy Joe sang an acoustic version of When September Ends and my all time favorite song, the one I am having at my funeral, Good Riddance - Time of your life.

Finally, couldn't not post up some of the photos taken. Thanks for reading

Saturday, 17 October 2009

I'm in love ..........

Just back from 2 wonderful days in Wales. MP and I decided at the last minute to have a little break and with the wonderful internet sorted it out in no time.

So Thursday morning we left the boys in the capable hands of my mum and set off down on our journey. First stop along the way was to Mount Snowdon, where we paid the £25 each to take the train up to the top. We did debate walking but MP is an old man and he'd have needed a week to recover, and besides, if they'd meant you to walk up it why bother building a railway!!

So in just under an hour we were at the top and the view was .............. non existent!

MP at the peak

Train now leaving .........

After making the journey back down, we made our way towards Barmouth on the west coast where we were booked into the Morwendon Guest House for the night.

What a lovely place. Built in 1926, and still containing loads of original features, over looking Cardigan bay. The room was lovely and the couple who run the place very welcoming. I would heartily recommend this if you are thinking of staying in that area.

Morwendon Guest House

A run down to Barmouth was next in search of dinner but to no avail. The bistro that was recommended was closed and I didn't fancy the menu at the pub the owners recommended so a nice walk on the beach instead.

Barmouth beach

Barmouth Harbour

We ended up driving 5 minutes up the road towards Llanaber and having dinner at an Italian restaurant called Tony's. Tony was obviously no more Italian than I was and spent the evening 'entertaining' the captive audience with his terrible jokes but the pizza was lovely.

After a good nights sleep and a fantastic full Welsh breakfast we set off to our next stop of Portmeirion via Pwthelli. Pwthelli was a bit of an odd place, considering it was the nearest reasonable sized town it was a bit of a let down. Still not a total disaster and there was the most gorgeous clothes shop and MP bough me a beautiful cardigan as a treat.

Mid afternoon we arrived at Portmeirion where we had booked a nights stay in the village Hotel. Oh my God, love at first sight!

Now I'd been to Portmeirion years ago but I don't think I wandered down to the hotel, just around the village itself and then not for long as the people I was with weren't really interested in it. I can't believe I waited so long to go back. This has to be one of the most amazing places I have ever been, It's stunning. One mans incredible vision turned into reality. It's like stepping back in time to the 1920's and you can almost imagine the house parties and guests spilling out onto the lawn in their stunning evening dresses and black tie. I felt like I was in the middle of an Agatha Christie book or Noel Coward play.

This place, famous as the fictional town in the 1970's TV series The Prisoner also hosted George Harrison's 50th birthday party and has entertained royalty and celebrities over the years. So I of course, felt very much at home.

After checking into the hotel and our gorgeous Art Deco bedroom, we wandered around the village taking about 100 photos each. Every step is a photo opportunity and the light was just incredible.

Our room - what used to be the servants rooms

After undertaking the costal walk a quick siesta was called for and then off to dinner at the Castell Duedrath, a Victorian mock castle and their gastro pub. Dinner was fantastic. We had drinks in the lounge and a great table in an old conservatory. MP started with a potato rosti with a poached welsh hens egg and hollandaise sauce and I had a fresh local salmon and potato cake with salted cucumber and a sauce that escapes me. Main course, MP had belly pork with pak choi, shitake mushrooms and a light soy sauce and I had the most incredible calves liver on a bed of mashed root vegetables. To go with this we had some wilted spinach, glazed carrots and dauphinoise potatoes, accompanied by a nice bottle of Voignier.

We were so stuffed we didn't have room for one of the fantastic looking puds and retired to the lounge for coffee before heading back to the hotel in the minibus.

Castell Duedrath

A good nights sleep, another lovely 'full Welsh" and yet more photos, well the morning light was stunning!

Flicking through the book on Portmeirion in the room I discovered to my amazement that my favourite play of all time - Blithe Spirit was written here during one of Noel Cowards many stays here, and it's no wonder in this inspiring place that it only took 5 days to write. Of course this meant I had to find the villa he stayed in where this masterpiece was created!

The Fountain - where Blithe Spirit was penned

Sadly it was then time to leave and make our way home and this wasn't without sadness and a little tear. What a wonderful place and I will definitely be returning as soon as possible.