Thursday, 30 April 2009


I really must change the header of this blog - the black is much too depressing for Spring. Not actually growing anything as yet on the allotment, except rhubarb. James, my brother, very kindly helped me to dig over and prepare the ground for the potatoes. I will put the potatoes in at the weekend. I have bought some seeds so I really must get those done as well, might do sew some seeds tomorrow and put them in trays in the greenhouse. I am seriously considering giving up the allotment when the rent runs out in September. My knees and back ache too much and I just cant manage the heavy digging. It will be a great loss, but unless I suddenly lose a lot of weight and get very fit I can't see how things are going to change in that respect.

My brother was visiting us so he could start the prep for our new kitchen. He has pulled out the old larder and lifted the tiles off the floor. He has also nicely boarded up the door that did lead to the hall from the kitchen. The kitchen fitter came round yesterday to check the kitchen designer had done his calculations right. There is a bit of an issue about the fridge. it is too big to go where we wanted it to - where the larder was. The larder was under the stairs so there is a lintel in the way. We cant remove the lintel otherwise the stairs will fall down. So he has left the lintel and had to leave a supporting pole as well.

I was pretty upset about the fridge as it is only a year old and I really like it. However Andy's parents asked if they could have it and we have said that is okay. mainly because when they move in 6-8 weeks time they are giving us their range cooker, a double bed, two bedside cabinets and a drinks cabinet. So "fair swap" I guess!! We will just have to buy a similar fridge which is smaller. The kitchen designer said the kitchen would be fitted beginning of July, but the fitter said it wont be until August!! So not happy about that as we have the floors bare now. Oh well, it is always stressful having works done or moving, but things are bearable so I shouldn't complain. It is not like we don't have any or minimal use of the kitchen.

The kids are soon to start their exams so we have exam papers everywhere and revision timetables to keep an eye on. They both seem okay about it, though i think Alice wishes she had lots of time in between each exam. Sev actually did some revision without being reminded today! I was amazed and pleasantly surprised. He is so annoyingly laid back about his studies, although acutely aware now of how bright he is now that he is in main stream education. He says if he doesn't do well enough in his exams to get in the Navy as an officer he will just go in as a rating. Oh he is so annoying. Why can't he have a bit of motivation! Just an ounce of the motivation his sisters have would be something. But I am sure he will do well no matter what he does - he just seems to be lucky in that respect. Time will tell.

I took Alice to the supermarket to buy a little book that she can use as a school leavers book. She has decorated it and is going to take it into school for her friends to write in and decorate. I dug out an autograph book that I had when I was 14 - it is exactly 30 years old! Can you imagine that. I am surely not old enough to have a book that I have kept for that long. I couldn't remember some of the people who had written in the autograph book, mostly school friends, but it was nice to read through it. I am sure she will cherish her leavers book for 30 years too. LOL We talked about her last day/exam and how she and all her friends will probably cry. They will probably see each other during the holidays and beyond I should think. Six of them are arranging to spend the weekend camping together which is a great idea as a final get together. She unfortunately will be missing the prom. I think she is more disappointed about not getting a dress than actually going to the prom. I might just let her buy a dress just for the hell of it, I am sure she can find some opportunity to wear it this summer - maybe for her 16th birthday party.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

bye bye sarah

Spent another three hours down the allotment today. Trimmed the grass around and in the large strawberry bed. It was a bit windy but still quite warm. One of my allotment neighbours very kindly lent me a DVD of Sweeney Todd, the American version with Angela Lansbury, so looking forward to seeing that tomorrow.

We went up to the parents in laws today as it was nan's birthday. We bought her a couple of vases and some flowers. Then at 7pm we took Sarah to the station as she was heading back to University. She should be there by 11pm tonight and her boyfriend is escorting her back across the city to her accommodation. It is horrid having to say goodbye to her. I wont see her until late June now. She is just so damned independent and unwilling to be "mothered". Luckily Sev recognised my sadness, I think, and gave me plenty of hugs after she left so that cheered me up. But then he might be going away soon too, off to join the Navy by the end of the summer.


Friday, 24 April 2009


Well it is allotment time again. The old regulars are back and it is nice to say hello to everyone again and have a little chat. We do actually do some work too though. And there is plenty to do. I have done my usual "not in the mood for it" all through April and now find myself having to play catch up. My potatoes and onions aren't even in yet. They are supposed to be planted March/April, so I guess I have a few days left! Hopefully my brother James will be down to give me a hand with the digging. I really just don't have the strength for the serious digging. Pottered about today clearing some weeds. And the other day cut some of the grass at the side. I will get some seeds on Pay day which is next Wednesday and start planting. My allotmet neighbours are watering their allotments every day as we have had glorious sunshine all week. I don't actually have anything to water yet! mmm, I really do need to catch up.

From vegetable growing to apples. I have been doing my usual surfing through google and as usual one site leads to another and I find a great idea that I want to try out. This time it was how to make a picture using text. I tried to do a bowl of fruit first but it really was just too complicated. So I eventually came across the idea of using the apple logo and this is the result. Go on, have a play. I have been reading a book by Darren Waller called "Random Acts Of Kindness. It lists 365 suggestions for doing a random act of kindness to a loved one or a stranger. It is humourously written. For example. "Shop locally instead of at the supermarket, unless you are a shoplifter" I thought that was quite funny. But it has some really lovely things that have seemed quite a small token by one person but has made a huge impact on the recipient. Like the man whose toll had been paid by the previous driver cheering him when he was on the way to a funeral. Really uplifting stories in there and some funny ideas too. I just might try one/some. I definitely intend to send a post card to my company's post room and IT dept to thank them for their brilliant work which does tend to go unremarked upon.

Sarah is still with us, but is going back tomorrow evening. It seems she has had a fun time hanging out with her friends this week. It has been good to have her back for a week.

We all went to the theatre to see Sweeney Todd, the musical thriller by the local amateur theatre group. It was a fantastic night out. The show was excellent with its little quirks and some of the singers were really great. We thought the way they arranged the disposal of the bodies from his barber chair was hilarious. They had the barber shop set 10 steps above the stage floor and the chair was swivelled round and the trap door opened so the body slid down onto stage floor, behind the scenery. It made us laugh every time they used it.

Monday, 20 April 2009


I am having great fun making ATCs for the UK ARTFEST in June. Have made another Sarah Fanelli one and think I might make some more of this one as I really do love it.
This one below is actually big enough to make four ATCs. It is a "works in progress". I have just torn scraps of black and white patterned paper on to some card. Then I slapped some black poster paint on and added some stickers and rub ons. Just waiting for it to dry. May try and sand it, but a bit worried that some of the stickers may come off. Not decided yet how to proceed, but will try to remember to keep a log here of the progress.

Sunday, 19 April 2009


Just enjoying the last half hour of peace and quiet before the two wandering urchins return home. Sev and Sarah have been in Sheffield for the past week. That means I have been able to find milk in my fridge and food in the cupboard!! Poor things didn't have much money though, so I think Sev is a wee bit hungry. We have stocked up on cereal and milk and bread and eggs so he can have a decent breakfast before going back to College tomorrow. I don't think they did a lot, not even any walking which seems a bit of a waste - but heh it was their week to do what they wanted.

Sarah is only back for a week and then she goes back to University, having gotten some money in the bank by then, so she shouldn't starve when she gets back. I guess I will have to put away my crafting gear for a week whilst she is here. Maybe I might be able to sneak back in the spare room to do a little bit when she is out! :)

I made some ATCs today and there is one I am really pleased with, not sure I really want to swap it after all. I think I will just have to make some more. It is based on a Sarah Fanelli drawing.

Art Fest in June

I am getting very excited about attending my first ever live ATC trading weekend. The details are:

WEBSITE - ATCsforall - Forum -

Anita and Kay (Fantasy Firebird) from ATCs for all website have very kindly set up a weekend where those from the UK can join in on a live ATC swap. There will also be some workshops set up by those that are going.
VENUE: Holiday Inn, Runcorn Just off Junction 12 on the M56 (between Liverpool and Manchester Airports)
DATE: evening of Friday 12 June to early Sunday 14 June
COST: Weekend package £98; Day package for Saturday only is £28
WORKSHOPS: Stampcarving, Dottee Dolls, Crochet and Needle Felting, Rolos and Jewellry, making ATCs and trading ATCs

I am going to start making some ATCs to swap today. Not sure how many I will need. I think we have to colour themes - black and white AND Lucky Dip which basically means anything goes. This is great cos then we can all bring our own artistic talents to the fore to swap. Only 54 more sleeps to go!! Better start making some ATCS.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Not too well today

It is a beautiful Spring day today and Andy has even managed to get several loads of washing out on the line to dry. Hooray. But I feel awful, I have a rotten cold with sinus infection so am streaming from eyes and nose constantly. Yuk.

We had our new mattress delivered today so have washed the bed linen. All of which meant I got kicked out of my comfy bed and had to sleep on the spare bed which is a bit lumpy.

We have ordered a lot of new stuff recently, perhaps in defiance of the credit crunch. Hope to god neither of us lose our jobs or we are in big trouble! We just bought a new carpet for the living room and the dogs are not allowed in there now, using a stair gate to keep their dirty and muddy paws OUT. We have ordered a new leather suite which will be coming by the end of June. Luxury indeed. I am really looking forward to it coming. ALSO we are in the process of ordering a new kitchen. Something I have wanted for a LONG LONG time. The kitchen I have was put together by piecemeal really. When I first moved in her 15 years ago the units were dreadful and had to be pulled down. I was given one wall unit, bought one double base unit and the council put in the sink and base unit for the sink. It all matches but is just the cheapest white unit you can buy. After 15 years it is looking decidedly tatty. The new kitchen only costs £2k as we are keeping our our fridge, and washing machine. Andy's parents are moving house and are gifting us their double oven which cost £2k on its own and is something Andy has always wanted. He hates our current "small" oven. But it will cost £2k for the men to fit the kitchen. At first I was horrified but when I went down the list of what they need to do I have come around to accepting this cost. They will be able to do it all in one go with no fuss. Trying to get friends and family to fit the kitchen will be a nightmare to organise - so this is by far the easiest option as there is a lot that needs to be done. But we do have a lot to do before the kitchen even arrives. We need to get up the floor tiles and level the floor, knock down the pantry wall and gut the kitchen and skim the walls with plaster to smooth them out. Hopefully my brother who is in the building trade will be able to do most of this for us.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


It was DSPs 5th birthday this week and they had week long challenges culminating in a 24 hour chat and challenge marathon on Saturday. This is great because we are all over the world so everyone gets a chance to join in the fun. The chats were great fun and loads of free kits were given out. There were loads of challenges. It was impossible to do them all! LOL. I did try the one where we were challenged to make as many plopper layouts as possible. Ploppers are layouts that are already made for you so you just need to put in the photo and if you want you can embellish them a bit.

Here are two layouts using a plopper with some small changes. The first is of Harry, our cat. The second is of the two dogs.
The great thing about DSP is that there are many free kits available so it certainly makes a great and cheap hobby to make memories. You can buy kits too from their store.

So I managed to get up at 6am which was 1am in the US and stayed all the way through until 2am when I had to flake out for a few hours. I was seeing white spots before my eyes!! LOL I got up again at 4pm because I knew there were going to be a lot of free kits being given out. I managed another hour and the fell into bed again until 11am. Andy was very sweet and brought up a cup of tea and a croissant.

I made loads of layouts and got loads of kits, every hourly chat gave away a free kit. So I have plenty to play with, just need to take loads of photos to go with it!!! LOL

I took Millie for a walk today over the woods. I took her down to the brook and she had a great time running in and out and getting very wet. I worked on getting her to come when called and to stay off when told to stop her jumping up on people. She still has a long way to go in behaving. She just wont come when called when she has a ball and is teasing Barney with it, so I tend to take her alone on these longer walks. We are going to start going to a training school week after next so I hope this will help me to work on improving my teaching her to behave when required. She is pretty good really though. I took her to woods on Friday afternoon after work and there were several comments from people about how good she was. She stays in the car boot when I open up the door until I say she good girl and off we go. And she sits when called and I usually give her a fuss or a treat.