Sunday, 14 December 2008

Wrapping in comfort

Wrapping presents that is.

Rob and I always wrap the presents whilst sitting on the floor, surrounded by sticky tape, ribbon, tags, wrapping paper and presents. Usually we have some lovely music on. But it is really killing on the knees.

This year, the presents were already on the table, we didn't need to hide any presents as there was no one here to hide them from. So we just grabbed the wrapping paper and sellotape and sat at the table to wrap presents. So much more comfortable, why hadn't we done that before?

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Christmassy Activities

We have ordered the turkey and an uncooked gamon, we can collect just before Christmas from Tortworth Estate Farm Shop.

We went to the Thornbury Christmas Market, which was brilliant. There were Carol Singers, loads of local produce, Christmas greenery, local crafts, hot food, sunshine and people. It was such a lovely atmosphere. Rob and I had mulled wine and a mince pie leaning against the wall of Christ the King Hall, in the sunshine. We bumped into a few friends passing the time of day, chatted and caught up. It was very enjoyable. Hope they do it again next year.

Just tried to capture a little of the atmosphere with that amazing blue sky with my mobile phone camera. It is a little reminder.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Christmas Journal

I have completed all 56 pages in Katie and James's wedding album. I am amazed. I am relieved because it means Mum can take it back to Devon with her on Thur. I still have a few things to do with it, like the intro page and the end page and a pocket for ephemera and a mini book for them to write their own notes in. So when I have done that I will photo some of it and post on here.

Having done that I felt I could Journal my Christmas, here are pages for the 1st and 2nd December. I decided to go for 6" x 12" portrait shape and think I will buy an album to put them in.

The 1st December explains why I am doing the journal and what I hope to get from it, hence titled 'Intentions'.

The 2nd December is about weather, I included a photo from my kitchen window this morning and a couple of snowy pics from the past. I journal about a Christmas when we had snow on Christmas Day and for a few days following. We had hired a cottage nr Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales. The owners had left us a sledge. So we went sledging with our mittens on, had fun (the sort of scary kind of fun) getting the car up snowy and icy hills, involving me sitting on the bonnet! It was an unbeatable holiday.

Monday, 1 December 2008

1st December

I found an advent candle today, it took some hunting down but I decided this is how we would count down this year. Although I think it will take some burning to keep up with the days.

It gives a lovely warm, festive glow to the lounge.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Journal Your Christmas

I have decided to have a go at Journalling My Christmas. I enjoy Christmas and all the festivities, the more of them the merrier. I like the pre-planning and preparations, the cake making, menu planning, present buying, decorating and the crafting. Although I don't make enough time to do the crafting I would like to do. I like to leave preparations for Christmas till December, it makes it feel more festive but actually I might allow myself to start some preparations in November, perhaps Christmas cards, decorations and gifts that I can make.

Now my children are grown up, Christmas is different than when they were young. We used to have Christmas concerts or plays to attend, Father Christmas visits, advent calenders which could have chocolate but had to have a nativity theme as I believe we celebrate Christmas for the birth of Jesus, their excitement could be over the top.

Now they will return from University for a grown up Christmas. This will be different to when they were children, so now I am keen to find traditions that we can enjoy as adults. I think journalling a 'grown ups' Christmas will be valuable in creating a family celebration time, I can record thoughts and ideas for how to celebrate and then have a record of our time together. We will be able to look back at how we celebrated Christmas in future years, to remind us what we love to do at this time of year.

Shimelle's class Journal Your Christmas starts on 1st December and goes through to 6th January, which is 12th night when all the decorations need to be down. Daily prompts are sent in e-mails and the day can be captured in photos, scrapbook pages, journalling, in blogs, scrapbooks or photo albums. Here is the link: Journal Your Christmas

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mini Break in Dartmouth

I have had an enjoyable couple of days in Dartmouth. Found some lovely gifts for Christmas. It was bitterly cold, but we were well wrapped up and braved the winds to have coffee and patisserie in Saveurs, which was a little bit of heaven, well France actually, the only thing that to improve it would be to change from serving coffee in those mugs to something a little more delicate and pretty.

We had lunch in a newly opened deli/cafe, the food was tasty and we were supporting the new business. I can't remember the name of it but it was nearer the sea front than Saveurs but on the same road.

Another light meal, (on another day I hasten to add) at Alf Resco. I love the atmosphere here, you can sit outside or half outside, under cover or in the warm, wooden interior.

I had smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast and Mum had cinnamon toast with bacon, delicious.

Then on the last day we visited Ashburton, delightful gift shops, full of things that you do want to buy and take home. Several more gifts to add to the Christmas collection. I could have bought many more things. These were shops where I could say to Rob "go in there and chose me a present" because I would like anything in there.

The ooing and aahing had built up an appetite, off to find somewhere to eat. We chose Moorish, on West Street, an inviting cafe with red and blue washed walls, mosaic and art photography. A few well chosen tapas and a glass of red wine warmed through our fingers and toes.

Then one more shop to visit, The Fish Deli. Please open a branch in Thornbury. And then back home.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

That's better

I felt the need for a saunter. My mind has been a little busy with all the different things going on and it needed to be lined up and put in order to relieve the jumbled thoughts. Max was asking for a walk, and I decided we would go for a drive then a walk along the canal I had found on a map.

It was lovely and peaceful, shimmering water, chug chug of an engine of a boat going through the lock gates, sounds of birds and a beautiful setting sun with views of the river.

The village is called Purton not far from Sharpness, as I walked the sun lowered, filling the sky with pink marshmallow, turning to red and orange. On the way home I stopped to take the redder skies and then the view from the motorway bridge.

I came home much calmer in my thoughts, made an apple and cranberry crumble, had an enjoyable restful evening, and look forward to starting the day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Today's revealings

I was called in today to complete a lengthy questionnaire by my EMDR therapist.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. I think that it works something like this. Horizontal eye movement ( my eyes had to follow the movement of the therapists fingers) activates both hemispheres of the brain and when recall of trauma in stages happens at the same time, then the brain seems to process the trauma, reducing or eliminating the effects from that trauma.

I was a patient as part of an NHS study into the effectiveness of EMDR, a couple of years ago. We worked on two major traumas from my life with very good results. Today was follow up research to see how well the EMDR had worked in the long term. I can tell you, that for me, on a scale of 0-10 I have 0 effects from these traumas, except maybe a 1 for one of them on the odd occasion. The therapist said that it had been an amazing result from all but 1 of the patients treated and the results had been maintained over a number of years.

So today was weird, because the questionnaire was the same as one I had filled in at the beginning and end of my treatment and I could see how far I had come or even how bad I was then. I am just so thankful to be beyond those days. I have learnt much about myself from my experiences and feel stronger and better equipped to deal with my daily life.

There is plenty on the internet about EMDR and this was one site I found that was fairly understandable if you wanted to read more, EMDR site.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sunday Chatter

Well I am chuffed. Chuffed because I rode a bicycle round our block. That is two miles of very bumpy country lane. Ok I did push a little. But I feel so good having done it and maybe I shall doit again. See my other blog Beyond Chocolate for more of the story.

Quantum of Solace. You might have heard of it. The latest James Bond film with Daniel Craig as Bond. Rob and I went to see it at the cinema this afternoon. (Tip: seems like a quiet time to go). I kept up with the story but it probably helped that I read a synopsis before I went. Loads of action, sunshine, a bit bloodthirsty, no actually, alot bloodthirsty. So as a James Bond film goes, it was ok. Daniel Craig doesn't do it for me. But I felt it was let down by the lack of gadgets. I think I must be a traditional Bond girl!

Dinner courtesy of Nigella tonight. Lamb chops with chilli and black olives.
I served it with mashed leek and potatos, buttered carrots and a few brussel sprouts. I think it was delicious, even if I say so myself.

Actually that looks garish, think next time I will take photo when served on plates.

Friday, 14 November 2008

I have really started

I have started my bridesmaids wedding album. It has a sea theme, which carries over from their wedding day. I have used my Cricut and cut a border from StoryBook that I thought looked a little like seaweed. I then put it through the Cuttlebug to emboss it with swirls (like waves) and then sprayed it with Glimmer mist for a abit of a sheen. I used the Cuttlebug to cut out sand dollars and shells to place amongst the seaweed. It was dark by the time I got to this point hence the flash.

For this page I cut a strip of Bazzill with a scallop cutter, embossed it and sprayed with Glimmer Mist as on first page. I used the Cuttlebug to cut out photo corners. Stamped swirls and words with a multi coloured Brilliance ink pad.

Just before finishing for the night I added some Ranger Stickles, glitter glue to the fronds on the stamp.
I shall take photos tomorrow when there is more light and I have actually done this in the album. These were mock up pages to practise on as the album has fixed pages, so no mistakes allowed!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Daily dose of happenings

An outing, with friends, involving 100s of craft shops, buying, coffee and loads of goodies to take home to play with. Sounds like a good day out to the Hobbycrafts Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. It was too. I have new glues, Tim Holtz scissors, pretty papers by Inspire Me, a couple of round stamps, one for Birthday one for Summer. I also bought a set of Cuttlebug round shapes for embossing, to put the stamps inside. I just need to create with them now.

Here is something else I have been playing with when I was actively 'not' doing the wedding album I should be working on.

Stories in Hand, an on-line class by Jessica Sprague. She provides pages to download to enable you to set up your own inspiration book with loads of journaling ideas and sheets for jotting down stories you would like to write up sometime. Next I shall make the jotter I can carry around with me to add stories or notes as I go along. I will upload piccies soon. Then I learn more about how to get the stories down.

Tomorrow is Friday, (just affirming that fact for myself) and I will be working on the wedding album. I had help from friends today as we tossed ideas around and feel inspired to carry on. So later tomorrow I will upload photos of some of the work.

Text message from my son: "I just saw Santa abseil down Drakes Circus" . I just thought this was so funny, really random. My son is 19 and Drakes Circus is a Shopping Centre in Plymouth, just to put some context on the text.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

It's a Beautiful Day

It was lovely watching the birds eating the berries, listening to the ferns blowing in the breeze. Taking in the huge expanse of blue sky and a few scudding clouds just to keep me grounded.

"It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day"
Lyrics by U2

Monday, 10 November 2008

I was born .....

........ here, in this village over 40 yrs ago. It was fun wandering round Google maps for places I have lived. I was born in a bungalow called The Firs, in Lower Road, Barnacle, nr Coventry, not sure which one though. It doesn't look a very big village now, perhaps not much has changed since I was born there.

From a search on the internet, I now know that it was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Then it was known as Bernhangre.
I think I see a theme emerging for a new scrapbook page.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Guy Fawkes

I have had a couple of days in London for Chocolate Fairy training with Beyond Chocolate. See link at side of my blog for more information. It was great to meet up with all the girls again, everyone was able to be there including Liz and Sarah, fairies that are already trained, they were a wonderful inspiration. Unfortunately Sophie couldn't make it, so thanks go to Audrey who had to be on the ball for 2 whole days on her own.

I have been to 2 fireworks displays this week.

The first at the Chantry in Thornbury, where Rob dons a yellow jacket and keeps an eye that all is going safely. We had a clear, dryish night so all went well with some lovely fireworks and a hot dog. I had a friend turn up so had a good natter between explosions!

The second at Ruth's. Ruth put on an amazing spread, absolutely delicious I couldn't chose just one thing, I had a little of everything, very tasty. I had meant to take a photo, never mind. Nigel and his dad put on a really jazzy fireworks display, a good mix of bangs, whistles, oohs and aaahs. Great company, good chance to catch up socially with friends. Think I might have been discussing a New Years Party!

I didn't have much luck with the firework photos this year, forgot all I learnt from last year. Also I didn't set up my camera or think about it before going outside to watch. "PPPPP" as Rob would say.

Plenty of fun was had by the party people, grown-ups and youngsters alike.

If you see this Abbie, I hope you have some enjoyment from seeing my very poor fireworks photos, knowing you wouldn't have Guy Fawkes night in Canada.

Here is a photo I found earlier, tripod obviously required. Not my photo.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Sewing gifts

I have finished sewing some cute little needle cases with poppered closings and some matching buttons storage.Here they are with another couple of bags I made last week.

The one below has had sewn embroidery of a button angel.

I have sewn buttons onto this one which has sewing themed fabric as its base.

I machine embroidered and pattern on this one and sewed on a couple of buttons to the pretty flowery bag.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Bristol Shopping Today

Today was our first visit to Cabot Circus, Bristol's new shopping centre.

We turned off too early to enter the car park and went round the houses before finding it again. Car park £5 for between 2 and 4 hrs, it was bright and fresh. Cabot Circus was a bit of a maze and we were very pleased to find someone handing out maps but there were maps up on columns all round. I wish I had had a little preview as to what to expect before I got there. Here it is . There was plenty of room to wander around, it was cold as it has jazzy glass roof covering in areas but still open. It was half term and buying lunch was rather a trial as all the restaurants were very busy.

My son was impressed by the architecture and I learnt why RSJs have verticle bits of metal on them, from my son who is studying architectural technology. He was also impressed because Bristol now has an official Apple store.

We didn't buy anything, I will enjoy going back for a slower look round with a more female's eye view. I still like Park Street.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Tonights recipe

The menu for this evening:
Roast Duck Breast with orange sauce
Mashed potato and celariac
Welsh buttered carrots
This delicious meal was in aid of the student son returning from Uni for the first time in 6 weeks. The request came for lots of meat and cheese. He did mention fillet steak and realized he was probably overdoing it and corrected himself to beef. No beef but I think the duck was good compensation along with the venison he had last night. Rob thinks it is great being fed like a king and I think it is great being kept beautifully warm. That is because Rob had the heating up so the student could study in warmth in his bedroom. Fine by me.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Why the guilt of affluence?

I am not a writer by any means, my thoughts tend to just roam around my mind and I am only partly aware of their meaning. But I have had this guilt of affluence bought to the fore and not for the first time and thought that if I tried to write down some feelings about it I might understand myself more.

I feel guilty for having so much, a big house, new car, lovely family, healthy body, great friends, I eat well, can read and write and have my own craft room. I am thankful for these things, I do not take them for granted, I know I am lucky. Would I enjoy them more if I didn't feel guilty about them? Is feeling guilty for the abundance in life a part of how you are 'supposed' to feel in this affluent part of the world? Do I feel guilty because I know there are so many with so little, a case perhaps of the starving Africans? Is it because Biblical teachings lean towards giving up your riches?

Perhaps it is all these things and more. Perhaps those are reasons enough to for me to feel guilty, to not boast about what I have, to not see disaproving looks in others. Is this why I want to give things away I no longer have a need for because I can afford it and want to help others less fortunate than myself? But perhaps I want to do that just to assuage my guilt. 

Should I be looking to find ways to not feel guilty but to be thankful for what I have in life and to just enjoy what I have, share when I can. Or is feeling guilty the price to pay for this affluence of ours and that is how it should be? I shouldn't be looking for ways to handle my guilt, blaming it on my upbringing or those around me or the media getting at me but accept guilt for this as part of my life.

There are more questions than answers here, a topic I think I will return to again. For the moment I would like to think that my guilt can be used in a positive way, to help others, share the abundance I have, abundance of money, health and happiness. I would like it to lift others to help add to their riches if I can. I acknowledge there are those more wealthy than I but I don't think they should feel guilty and neither do I think they should share their riches with me. What I do think is that everybody has riches that they can share in some form or another and that this is what should be shared among us all; riches of laughter, wisdom, happiness, love and so many more. Riches in money is only one aspect of life, there is so much more that is important.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

24hr Crop

Over £500 was raised on the night. All the money going to St Peters Hospice, Bristol. We had alot of fun, several classes were given and a few kits we could buy too. A huge raffle, where I won a couple of things, that are lovely, a candle, notebook, some pretty papers and a ribbon threader punch. Some lovely food was brought along to revive flagging energies. Thanks to the organizers for a great day/evening/night.

Here are a couple of things I created whilst there. The first two are of the UK holiday we had the other week, I need to add some handwriting to remind us what it was all about. The kit album is K&Co. "Everything you need to create your personalized project".

This is a paper bag book which I made in a class at a ModScraps crop last year and finally got round to using. Perfect for visit to the Cardigan coast with some scrapping friends.

This was a kit I bought at the crop and involved alot of painting of matchboxes. Anyone need any matches? After the aqua colour paint was dry I dabbed some pearly paint over the top. The paper was a gorgeous colour with shiny bits too. Perfect to turn into an advent box, just wrap tiny tags round the brads with the date on.

This is a class layout run by Giselle, it gives a taste of Dartmouth Regatta but does not do justice to Giselle's lovely class.

Now may I introduce you to Little Wol. A friends said she saw this and it made her think of me, not really sure why but I hope it was because of how wise owls are, not that it is a wise, old owl. I think she thought it would make me chuckle too, which it certainly did as it blinks his big eyes at me and turns his head from side to side.