Saturday, December 30, 2006 challenge

Silly, but I love lists like this. I was wandering around on Two Peas in a Bucket and found this. You have to publish the list, highlighting the ones you've done (I've highlighted mine in green). If you're reading this and fancy doing it, just cut and paste m'dears (but let me know so I can read yours too :D ). In counting, I've done just over 1/3 of the list. Some I will never do, so don't even ask. And some are actually ambitions (but I'll leave you to guess which ones).

Edited to put the link to the original thread on 2Peas: Two Peas New Yearsy Blog Challenge Thread

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (nor shall I)
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain (what? for fun?! Not in a car? Ha--I don't think so...)
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (and had water left over in the bath? Eureka and all that)
8. Said “I love you’ and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped (not in a million years)
11. Visited Paris (several times...and once 'illegally' but that's another story)
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea (in Athens, Greece)
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights (big ambition of mine)
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards) ( the US and UK)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables (should do this *guilt, guilt, guilt*)
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars (at Bear Lake, tent or nuffink...absolutely beautiful)
20. Changed a baby’s diaper (ooooh yeah baby...lost count of how many times)
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower (see 19.)
23. Gotten drunk on champagne (nor shall I ever)
24. Given more than you can afford to charity (I didn't say yes to this because if you've given to charity and you are still solvent and have something to eat and somewhere to live, you COULD afford it...)
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (too many times unfortunately!)
27. Had a food fight (in a tent! Which nearly came down in the process. SO funny!)
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger (and he was the brother-in-law of someone else in Scrap Land...and I shall never did not work out well - bwaahaaahaa)
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse (if you didn't answer yes to this one, where WERE you a few years ago?!)
34. Ridden a roller coaster (the first one was Space Mountain and I had NO IDEA it WAS a roller coaster...dumb 18 year old! But you would NEVER get me on one of those big mamas in Florida not for love nor sixpence, no way Jose, uh uh!)
35. Hit a home run (I may have done this once in rounders...)
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking (quite a lot...and with no alcohol involved)
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales (another ambition)
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip (all round the UK with an American friend who (we discovered) had contracted glandular fever (mono) and he kept falling asleep on me! Ho hum)
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach (on honeymoon)
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland (lovely country, horrible trip)
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow (at Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire...three times!)
56. Alphabetized your CDs (I have too many not to really...can't find them otherwise)
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day (but not for many years)
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain (see 49.)
65. Gone to a drive-in theater (in Provo, Utah...well...on the road to Springville somewhere)
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites (in several countries, including Britain, Greece and America)
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days (who would DO that?)
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice (the only reason I didn't answer yes to this one is because we thought it was too pricey and didn't bother...but I have been on boats in Venice!)
80. Gotten a tattoo (no, and nor shall I ever)
81. Rafted the Snake River (no, but I've watched others do it! And been to Jackson Hole)
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage (lots of times)
85. Been to Las Vegas (Boxing Day 1989...stopped there for a few hours driving from Provo to Los Angeles and won $40 which paid for us to get into Sea World!)
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house (twice)
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (or…raising children)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country (I've cycled all over in France...but not on a tour. There was one day when we cycled from Reims out in the country...the whole trip was about 30-40km...I was knackered! Good day though!)
100. Picked up and moved to another city to start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge (okay, I lie...I drove over! BUT I screamed all the way...I was SO excited!!!)
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking ( day...?)
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds (no...but I'd like to)
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart (not that I know of anyway)
111. Helped an animal give birth (when you say 'helped'...I was moral support for our cat and her kittens when I was a teenager :D )
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari (another ambition)
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (nor do I want to...hate guns)
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse (not that I enjoyed it much...I don't like horses (to ride) and they don't like me)
119. Had major surgery (unfortunately)
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (again with the walking up and down hills thing...why would anyone do that for fun???)
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states (this question can be interpreted 2 ways ...have you visited more than 50 foreign countries, wherein the answer is no. OR have you visited more countries than you've visited US States, wherein the answer is absolutely yes...7 states but 12 countries)
124. Visited all 7 continents (Nope. Visited 3. Would LOVE to visit them all though)
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes ... yum!
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read (actually, lots of these)
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (well, maybe...)
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (No. Thank goodness)
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair (when I was a missionary for my church)
146. Dyed your hair (every month!)
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident (but not for a long time! I have 8 years NCB!)
150. Saved someone’s life

Friday, December 29, 2006

Don't You Shiver?

I'm telling you...if it wasn't for repositionable Hermafix, there would be a deranged woman twitching and rocking over this side of the country. I have shifted things around and around on this layout for a whole day now. Give the man who invented it an award. Truly.

I've been creating (read 'shuffling bits of card and paper around') for the Crafty-Ness Design Team, which I'm proud to be a part of. In this kit I was given BasicGrey Dasher papers, red, off-white and green cardstock, white snowflake brads and matching fibres (plus some other buttons and charms which I haven't used on this one). I've added my own gem brads and metal snowflake charm. And I've used lots of silver ink. Lots. of.

The title is from the song Shiver by Coldplay, as is the journaling--one of the verses of the song says, "...on and on, from the moment I wake to the moment I sleep, I'll be there by your side. Just you try and stop me." Isn't that how we feel about our children? They're like a piece of our heart walking around outside our bodies. Not that I've got any intention of following her around all her life (which strikes me as a little on the nutty side of things)... it's metaphorical you understand. Although NOW I'm thinking about this, it's giving me palpitations just imagining her flying off to another country on her own or somesuch thing one day...EEK!!! *Chrissie looks freaked out but shakes her head and pulls herself together* Grief...she's only 4...plenty of time before then!
New Year's Eve is fast approaching and it is a time when some people make resolutions or set goals...semantics-pedantics. I did set a couple for this year. In my head. Because then if I didn't do them, I could file them away nicely at the back of some dusty nerve ending that doesn't get much traffic and they *certainly* wouldn't be viewed by any passing critics. Heck...even I might have conveniently forgotten about them. But, yey, go me, I actually achieved two goals. Hoo haa!
I wanted to be much much better at recycling. Well, when I say 'better', what I mean is, actually recycle. Because it's shameful not to when you have bags and boxes and all that malarky these days that the council give you. So, for a whole year (much to Husband's chagrin as he found himself now having to lug out not only black bin-bags but also green ones full of tins and bottles and newspapers), I have sent my recycling off every couple of weeks and stood there looking duly holy and feeling very righteous.
On a side note...Swansea Council drive me crazy because they seem to think we live in the 1970s and don't provide wheely bins for your rubbish. Hence you have black bags sitting around in your garden for a week, which cats and foxes just love to have a forage in. And when I say 1970s, even THEN we were given round bins with lids. Tsk. *Chrissie goes off muttering about 'living in the Dark Ages' and saying words like 'nonsense' and 'ridiculous' a lot*
My second goal for 2006 was to keep a better record of my life. I come at this from a church perspective, which encourages one to keep a journal. I used to be fabulous at this when I was a teenager (when I come across my diary of life at 13 years old again, I shall share bits with you and I promise you will fall off your chair in your asthma-attack-laughing-fit). I was also pretty good right through my 20s. But then I realised that I don't actually enjoy HAND writing things (at uni' I could only ever ever write essays on the computer), especially as I touch-type and do that fast too. So my life became undocumented until I discovered scrapbooking which helped somewhat. But blogging (despite me slagging it off last January!) has helped me keep a record. All year. Albeit not quite as personal as it might be. But hey, it's better than a whole decade of next-to-nothing eh? I print off my blog at the end of every month and keep it in a folder.
So...we come to this new year. Shall I share? Or shall I keep my new goals floating around in a petri dish in my brain? Mmmm....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What do *you* do at 5.30 in the morning?

I need a post-Christmas detox. Two mornings in a row now I've woken up at silly o'clock and can't get back to sleep (after going to bed gone midnight). I know why. It's because I'm barely doing any movement at all at the moment, let alone exercise (I mean really, how much energy does it take to just walk around the house all day?) and, ironically, I'm eating twice as much food in the form of left-over turkey, ham, pate, yule log, mince pies, etc. etc. etc. So, 5-6 hours sleep and my body's DONE. Recharged. Ready to go again. Bleuch. I am a slug and I need to get myself invigorated!!!

And now, on top of all that, I have Lisa Bearnson Envy (you may recall my pseudo Stacy Julian Envy of a few weeks ago). This woman is much more my cup of char. Organised-ish (but her child has two different socks on - bwaahaahaa - and I love that she put on her daughter's top and squished her face in the process because a button hadn't been undone--I do that!), a house to DIE for, a family that are all working *together* to get out the house in the mornings, and a house where the spiritual is important, exercising (and, please note, NOT jogging) with friends, and did I mention the house is to die for? I am so tuning in today and tomorrow to see what her scrap room looks like....

We went to see Aladdin last night at the Swansea Grand Theatre. What a treat! I love a good panto (oh no I don't...oh yes I do). We have friends who all belong to the same family (the Gilmours...some of you reading this will know Katie-Jane as she comes scrapbooking, and she's married to a Gilmour). This family consist of mum and dad, and their 8 children (the youngest two are twins, one of whom is Katie's husband--but can I just say at this juncture...6 children...and THEN she had TWIN BOYS. The woman deserves a medal!!!!). 6 of the 8 children are married now, and between them they have another plethora of children (Tracey has 6 kids for example). And Jeff, one of the brothers, pays for his whole family--parents, siblings and spouses, nieces and nephews--PLUS friends (there were 7 there last night) to see the panto every year. Sooooo coooooool. Celyn's been going to an Uncle-Jeff-Panto every Christmas since she was 1. I really love the Gilmours and I remember sitting there last night looking around at Danny and Celyn, who were just laughing and waving and joining in the frivolity, Katie sat on my other side with one of the nieces on her lap, Craig and his family sat in front (love Craig--we spent two years writing when he was serving a mission for our church), and another 3 rows of Gilmours behind me (who are so fab) and I felt so happy. I'm very blessed to have such lovely lovely friends. Oh no I'm not...OH YES I AM! The production was excellent (Mike Doyle is always completely hi-laaaaaaa-rious and Kevin Johns was also fabulous as Widow Twankey...and the two of them on stage together are a scream). If you live anywhere near Swansea, I can't recommend it enough. the way...check out the new Scrappers Unlimited Gallery. I've changed the look of it (with a tiddly bit of help from my web company - bwaahaaahaa) and you can now see all the fab work my fantastic Creative Team get up to, with more images being added soon.
Well. It's just gone 6am now. I wonder if I could get back to sleep? I can but try. But then again, Lisa gets up at 6... *sigh*

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Who's Boxing?

Are you Boxing today? Heh heh. Ding ding, round 2.

All I know is, it's pretty quiet in Blogger Land (see that piece of tumbleweed that just blew past?) Just as it should be. I hope you're all having a good time.

As for me and my house...I've eaten too much...I am still in my PJs at hair looks terrible...we've run out of wrapping paper and we've got the in-law pressies to wrap and take over today...Celyn has tooooooo maaaaaany tooooooys...Husband and I laughed till we cried at Christopher Guest and Ricky Gervais last night on the TV (of Spinal Tap fame...oh Spinal Tap is soooo funny)...we're off to the panto tomorrow (oh no we're not, oh yes we are)...I'm desperate to scrap and I know it won't be met well if I do, so I can't...and talking of Desperate, the Housewives return on 3 January (hoo HAA!)...and finally, I like Boxing Day better than Christmas Day I've decided (less pressure, if you know what I mean, and I LOVE cold turkey and salad stuff).

Right. Off to have some chocolate for breakfast.

Friday, December 22, 2006

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Santa visited Celyn's school yesterday which was VERY EXCITING! Of course this was just the prelims before the BIG DAY, but he gave her a really cool colouring/sticker book and asked her what she wanted for Christmas so I'm SURE she'll get it (because she's been such a good girl).

Tee hee! So lovely. Look how happy she is.

I had an outrageously scrappy day yesterday as well, and it furthered my epiphany that I am a 'library scrapbooker'. The lovely Debbie came to scrap chez moi and after the intial cafuffle because we went to take photos of Santa, and then I made yummy lunch (if I say so myself) (soup, tiger bread, sticky toffee pudding with real fresh custard), I got down to scrapping and you couldn't see me for dust. I scrapped like a mad thing. Now...sit me down in a crop and I'd do next to nothing in 12 hours. BUT with just one person working at the same table as me, calmy chatting and laughing all the time, I produced not one, not two, but THREE file-card books for Celyn's teacher, class assistant and head-teacher.


Debbie and I had such a fun day. MUST do it again soon!

I gave all three teachers their gifts this morning and they all made the appropriate oooing noises (and apparently they've already been passed around the staff room in an orgy of delight). Happiness.

So, this afternoon I'm putting on my battle armour and charging into Tesco to fight it out over the turkeys and parsnips. Hoo haa. And then I intend to spend the weekend being chilled out and festive...wrapping presents (tedious), making the-best-stuffing-recipe-in-the-world (fab), and tidying the house (more tedious than present wrapping but feels sooooo good when the house looks glorious). And THEN on Christmas Eve everything will be joyous. Ho ho ho.

So, I wish you all a very, very happy Christmas and big yuletide snoggies from us all in the Willicombe household xxx Here's the slide-show of one of the books for y'all.

The children's names have been smudged out, in case you're wondering what those green and red blobs all over the place are!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Education is the answer

I literally just heard that phrase quoted on the news as I logged on to write a blog entry. And that is my thought for the day.

There has been a lot of debate just lately on UK Scrappers about the reasons why several scrapbooking magazines and bricks-and-mortar shops are pulling down the shutters on their businesses this year. It's been a really thoughtful discussion, and one I'm very interested in as someone who runs a scrapbooking business in this country.

I really feel that teaching this fab hobby of ours is at the root of the answer. People can say that they don't make enough money to stay in business, but if there were more scrapbookers around (1 in 5 households in America has a scrapbooker living in it!), then the market would be sustainable. However, most of the women (or men!) I speak to here don't have the first clue what scrapbooking is. When they ask what I do for a living, I always have to weigh up how much time I have to invest in a conversation at that moment, because I know it's not going to be a short answer and I'll have to explain scrapbooking as a design craft and not newspaper clippings in sugar-paper books.

In my experience, if I think of the women I know through school, my daughter's ballet class, at church, whatever... only some of them will naturally be interested in scrapbooking (we're all different...I wouldn't want to go kayaking every weekend, but some people love that :D ). However, once those who DO have a bent towards cutting and sticking see my scrapbooks and then (which I think is the crux) do it for themselves, they are so delighted with the finished product (because it has THEIR photo of THEIR family on the page which THEY created), they get hooked and want to do more for themselves. They also realise how DOABLE it is, even for a beginner (you don't have to be able to draw or paint for example).

I had a lady come to our last retreat in Gloucester who was a friend from church. She only came because she fancied a weekend away (her husband is physically disabled and she wanted a break) and she knew she'd be somewhere pleasant, friendly and safe because I would be there. She was planning to do 1 or 2 classes as "something a bit different" but by no means was she coming to attend as a scrapbooker. She bought a few bits and pieces so she could take part in her chosen classes, but on the whole she was just going to chill out, do a bit of sight-seeing and enjoy the lovely food!

Well, by the end of the first day she was completely hooked. The next morning she went off into Gloucester to do her sight-seeing (which is what she'd planned to do all of Friday) but she was back by lunchtime and participating in more classes. The Sunday after the retreat she said to me, "I didn't realise I NEEDED this!" To her it is a relaxing creative outlet, and a way of recording her personal and family history, which is very important to her. She LOVES it! And she's now attending the Swansea Crop and is planning to bring members of her family in the New Year.

However, I've known her for years and she's never been interested in scrapbooking before. It was only when she did it for herself she realised how fun it was.

My point is that for scrapbooking to grow and therefore magazines to succeed and shops to flourish, women (let's face it...mostly women!) need to be given the opportunity and impetus to attend well taught, interesting classes that are sensibly priced (price is very important). These classes need to be aimed not just at more experienced, 'in-the-know' scrapbookers who are attracted by so-called 'celebrity' events, as new scrapbookers have not the faintest clue who these people are. I've also learnt through my own experience that simply advertising classes in the local area doesn't work either, because if people haven't got a clue what scrapbooking is, they're not likely to go to a class in it are they? That would be like me seeing a poster in the Co-Op to come "Flooblepopping" at the village hall on Thursdays from 6-9pm!

What does work is a lot of word-of-mouth and showing my work off and then encouraging people to attend a crop or a class.

I have heard all the remarks before about the British not being a nation of crafters (which I actually don't believe because a great number of my non-scrapbooking friends and acquaintances have or do enjoy sewing, painting, card-making, knitting, beading, tapestry, cross-stitch, etc.). I've also heard the theory that because the British are less 'emotional' than Americans, they won't be so keen on pouring out their love for their children/husband/friends/cat on keepsake pages (again, I'm entirely unconvinced by that theory as well...the British feel emotion just the same as other nations...and we express it differently...but we DO express it!).

Despite these theories, I still think there's a lot more potential for growth out there. And also, I know an absolute TON of scrapbookers who don't visit UK Scrappers (some of them don't even come online ever! Imagine that!! LOL) and they only have one shop near them if they're very lucky. These women therefore don't know about events around the country, or 'who's hot' or what the latest must-have products are. Magazines are probably their main resource unless they attend a local crop or a class. I think there are a lot more ladies like that out there. Lots of lone scrappers who don't know what's available out there for them to attend.

British scrapbooking magazines are very important for pulling in new blood, but of course they have to be widely available (which they aren't, I hear). Magazines should also teach the craft to newbies, but should also show more advanced scrapbookers new skills as well. That's why a range of magazines with different objectives (like Creating Keepsakes and Simple Scrapbooks and Scrapbook Answers* in the States) would be the ideal in the UK. But people need to buy these magazines to keep them in business. As it stands at the moment, it looks like we only have two magazines in this country still in publication, which is getting into 'monopoly' territory and that is never ever a good thing.

* An American magazine that focused on teaching and I loved it. And it's recently folded - boooooo!

However, nothing will ever replace hands-on, face-to-face teaching.

Educating the whole country IS a slow burner, funnily enough - LOL - but education (as with many other areas in life) is the answer IMHO :) I have seen ENORMOUS growth in the UK in the last 3 years and I actually do feel positive about this growth continuing.

So what do you guys think? What do you see as important for you to progress in this hobby? How do you think scrapping magazines and shops will survive?

Monday, December 18, 2006 bed broke

I'm feeling blue today. And in an effort to cheer myself up, I shall relate the woes of my bed instead. Or should that be bedstead?

Picture the scene...

A winter's morning (last Thursday). Snuggly buggly under the duvet as it's still dark despite the alarm driving home the idea that it's actually 7.30. With a sigh, I sit up and start to swing my legs out of bed, when...


The right side of the bed (my side) suddenly falls southward with me, naturally, following it, and Danny clinging on for dear life as the mattress is now tilting at a 25 degree angle.

"Oh my goodness gracious me. This is a to-do, isn't it dear?" (or words to that effect).

The little ledge which holds the slats which hold the mattress had broken completely free from the bedframe. Now, this is not a new bed - indeed it was second-hand when we gratefully received it from my first cousin...and she'd had it for a number of years, and we have now been married for over 7. It simply appears that our marital divan had come to the end of its natural life and had dramatically given up the ghost.

And no, the bed did not break because we were both on the same side of it engaging in rumpety-pumpy, which is what I was accused of amid gales of giggling at the South Wales Crop last Saturday (despite the fact that I threatened to bar the lot of them). At least it happened when I was conscious...can you imagine if I'd turned over in my sleep... there would have been legs all a kimbo and it all being rather distressing to say the least.

So anyway... now we're sleeping on a mattress on the floor (I feel like a wanton student). However, strangely enough, both Danny and I have remarked that we're both finding the floor mattress more comfortable than our bed ever was, and I always hated the shape of the headboard anyway. Every cloud, as they say...

Forgot this one...

Love this one! Celyn and her Daddy :D

Away in a manger...

Here, at long last, for your "awwwww!" pleasure, are pictures of Celyn's lovely nativity concert on Friday. I have to say her teacher and class assistant did a fantastic job and all the children did a fantastic job too. Considering that they're only 3 and 4 years old, they said their lines clearly, they sang brightly and you could hear all the words, and they knew where to go and what to do on stage. Fab, fab, fab. Brought a tear to my eye it did. And my girl...well...what can I say. So proud. Just so proud. And my heart swelled a thousand times when she came into the hall in her lovely Star of Bethlehem costume and the first thing she wanted to do was find us. When she spotted Danny and me sitting there, her face just beamed and she couldn't resist a little wave.

l-r Celyn with her teacher - Celyn with two of her good friends - Shepherd (such a cutie!) - King and cast (LOVE the ears!) - One of Celyn's good friends with her mum after the show - Celyn doing her thing as the angels sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star :-D (love that halo (girl 2nd in from the right)...all the other angels had halo envy! I teased her mum about it after - chortle, chortle)

So how scrapable are these photos on a scale of 1 to 10?

Celyn's eyes have dark rings under them...on account of the fact that she was actually not well, which we didn't discover until she was on her way home and asked if she could get in her PJs and watch TV (watch TV, yes; get in your PJs in the middle of the day? Not Celyn at all). Playing around with the thermometer an hour later, quite by chance, I discovered she had a temperature of 101...and I spent much of that evening dabbing her down with cool flannels and shoving Nurofen in her as it carried on soaring to over 103. Horrid. It's always horrible when your children are ill. She was better by Saturday though (phew!)

Friday, December 15, 2006

I've got a new career...

Linz from Crafty Pastimes emailed me today and said, "Didn't know you had a new job..." and click that link :-)

Personally I like the pelvic thrust movement myself...

What's THAT all about?

Can I just say...

It is Celyn's nativity concert this morning. She is a star (hence mad dash to Pembroke on Monday to see clever clever Auntie Mary for the costume). Doors open at 10.35. But I am a scrapbooker with a camera, so I neeeeeeeeed to be near (if not IN) the front. Obnoxious maybe, but the alternative makes me feel antsy.


We neeeeeeed to leave at 10am. Which is what I have told Husband at least 4 times this morning (when he was sitting at the computer at 9am in his underwear, unwashed). "Yes, yes" he said. "YES!!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeees!" he said, when I told him again. "For goodness SAKES" he said when I told him the third time.

Fine. I won't worry. I'm just worrying. I'll stop nagging.

At precisely 9.35 he went in the bathroom and RAN. A. BATH.

What's THAT all about???????!

*sigh* she says, looking at the clock and realising it's 9.42 and there are still sploshing noises coming from the bathroom...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Tag

And not of the paper and ribbon kind...

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Got to be hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream on top. The thought of drinking raw eggs makes me heave and often egg nog's alcoholic and as I don't drink, I wouldn't partake.

Coloured lights on tree/house or white? White, white, white

Do you hang mistletoe? Danny doesn't need any more encouragement in that department

When do you put your decorations up? As near to Christmas as possible...around 10 days before. I can't be doing with the putting decorations up in November malarky.

What is your favourite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Oh, that HAS to be my stuffing which I make every year and which is divine and gorgeous and is the best recipe in the world. No kidding. (I take no credit for this recipe by the came from a friend of mine in Reading).

Favourite Christmas memory as a child: Nothing in particular sticks out...just an amalgamation of being with family, getting new books (I loved to smell them...mmmm!), watching fab stuff on telly, and eating great food. Like now really! Oh...I remember 1975 when we were at my cousins in Lowestoft, and my cousin Jeff and I (who I'm with in the pictures in ScrapBook Inspirations this month) dancing to Tiger Feet by Mud! Great fun!!

How and When did you learn the truth about Santa? I don’t remember. It wasn't a heart-wrenching just was a gradual realisation.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Well, when I was single and living with my Mum we always did. I would go to the midnight carol service at church, come home, and we'd open one each. But when I was married, Danny would have NONE. OF. IT. Christmas morning is for opening of presents and woe betide me if I even start rattling them before then! LOL

How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? First the lights (white), then the baubles and ornaments, and then a star on top. All the while saying "Oooooh" as I pull each ornament out and sort of say hello to it again!

Snow! Love it or Dread it? Snow has the strange quality of being so fantastically aesthetically pleasing and yet a pain in the ass. So I love it for the beauty of it, but hate the chaos it causes. I like summer and snow's cold so...

Can you ice skate? Yes, but only forwards and nothing fancy!

Do you remember your favourite gift? I got engaged on 19 December, so I think Danny was my favourite gift.

What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? That it doesn't become a commercial orgy of presents and money spending. That I feel Christ in my life. That we're together and happy and having fun as a family. That I get really cool presents. And that the food and telly's good.

What is your favourite Christmas dessert? I really do like a good mince-pie and cream. Although I've just discovered the most amaaaaaaaaaazing sticky toffee pudding (seriously fan-blummin'-tastic) and Tescos' *Finest custard (to DIE for)...which may make this year's top 5!

What is your favourite holiday tradition? Don't really have one. I do like to go to a carol service on Christmas Eve though.

What tops your tree? Either a silver or gold star, depending on what colour combo I've gone with that year.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Receiving. Bwaahaaahaaahaaahaa!

What is your favourite Christmas Song? Away in a Manger sung by children...that's beautiful. Or Handel's Messiah (does that count?). Or Joy to the World (which I know ALL the words to...of every verse...don't I Penny? ROFL!!!!)

What is your favourite Christmas story? I love It's a Wonderful Life (is a film a story? I think so) and The Snowman. Or if we are talking books I love The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter (the animated version is fantastic).

So now I tag Tina, Debbie and Anna :D Merry Christmas girls!

Silent Night

Nearly had this done last night but then my babysitter turned up so I could go out Christmas shopping, and that was that!

This is the second class for The South Wales Crop's 12 hour bash on me. The layout and all the tools you'll need to complete it are shown on the Scrappers Unlimited website under Crops.

I really love this picture of Danny and Celyn, so relaxed and comfortable together, a couple of nights after Christmas in our first home in Reading. I used to nurse Celyn in that very chair when she was little, and it was terribly comfy! I even have some film footage of them asleep that night somewhere too.

No time to blog anything else...loads to do! Mwwaaaah!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

South Wales 12 Hour Crop Classes

Penny says that I am an 11th hour kind of a girl. I actually HATE doing everything 'last minute' but life is so busy, busy, busy for me at the moment, it always works out that way.

Anyway...we are very lucky to have Jools Gauger visiting us from 'across the bridge' this month, to teach a class at our 12 hour crop. She has created one layout but in two different styleeeees, using glitter and transparencies and paint and all that sort of messy stuff!

The first is made using Basic Grey Dasher paper, and I think it's very yummy indeedy-doody (slurp, stroke-stroke).

The second is made using Basic Grey Fruit Cake. I was trying to work out a joke about having your cake and eating it then... suffice to say that this layout is also delicious (phnaar phnaar).

So, if you are one of the 40 who are coming on Saturday, then take a look at the Crops page on the Scrappers Unlimited website to see the tools you'll need to bring, and to see a couple of clarifications on the challenge rounds.

I've got a lovely prize pile building downstairs... a gorgeous (gorgeous-I-nearly-kept-it-gorgeous) Urban Window 12x12 album, matching letters and shapes and ribbons, packs of Cosmo Cricket papers, and lots of other scrummy things...all waiting for a challenge winner on Saturday. :D

And me? Mrs 11th Hour? My layout will be ready tomorrow. Perhaps...


How exciting is that!? My layout is in this month's Scrapbook Inspirations (out today :D *Chrissie holds on to her hat as people stampede past her to get to the shops selling the magazine*). It was part of the Ready, Steady, Scrap challenge and I was up against myScrappers Unlimited team member Sue. And I won! Not gloating you understand (truly), just excited :D It's ALWAYS nice to see your stuff published.

It seems ages ago I did this page (I remember it was sunny and warm because I was able to go in the garden to have my photo taken with the layout - looking out my office window, it sure ain't warm and sunny now!!). I kept snorting with laughter when I was working on it. The smaller photos are of me and my cousin Jeff, and we had obviously been completely obnoxious that day. I can clearly remember standing on the path with Jeff, refusing to smile (with him nudging me on). Heh heh...brats! The larger photo is with my cousins (l-r) Mike, Gwen and Bill (Jeff's parents), and Doreen, and my Dad (on the right in the cowboy hat). Obviously we had driven them all barmy with our behaviour, and when they took these shots they were happy to show just what irritants we were. I'm about to get shot, and Jeff's mum is on the verge of stabbing him with a bread knife! Waaaaahaaaaahaaaaaa!!! Hilarious! I really do completely love these photos!
This was the home I lived in in Swindon when I lived around the corner from Linz - see this post here.
When I was putting the layout together I rang Gwen, Bill and Jeff to get some ideas on what title I should give the page, and Jeff immediately said, "Childcare ain't what it used to be!" *cue my cuz and me creasing up on the phone!* My family have all been blessed with a fantastic sense of humour...I love them!
I haven't actually seen my copy of the magazine yet. Mmmm...what excuse can I find to nip up to Borders?
PS. Who loves my fluffy slippers then?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Of kneeling santas and sewing

We put up our tree this weekend and the front-of-house lights as well. It all looks splendidly festive but I haven't taken any photos yet. However, I DO have piccies of some of my favourite Christmas tree ornaments and as NoCoolStory has put a message throughout all Christmas-Land to post these, then I shall be an obedient blogger and do just that. (Why don't you?! :D )

Here's my kneeling Santa. I bought this in Provo, Utah when I was living there and I just love it. It sort of sums up everything to me that is lovely about Christmas ...the reason for the festivities in the first place, all mixed in with the magic.

And here's my pasta angel...everything is made from a different pasta shape (except her round head). Fab isn't she!? I had grand ideas of re-creating loads of her one year and giving them to people but, hey...guess what?...that never happened. Anyway, she was given to me by two friends of mine from church, again when I was attending BYU in Provo.

This beautiful rustic angel was given to me by my very lovely friend Clare in Reading (who was one of my bridesmaids). Love my angel and I love Clare :D

Featuring pasta once again (where would we be without it?!), this is the very first of many (I'm sure) Christmas tree ornaments that Celyn ever made...last year in nursery, age 3. When we pulled it out of the box this year she remarked on it "Oooo, this one's nice isn't it Mummy" and I said, "You made that, Lovely" and she didn't remember it at all! But she did (with help to be sure!) and I love it.

So there you have it. Some of my favourite ornaments. Ho ho ho.

I have to drive to Pembroke and back tomorrow as my Auntie Mary is coming to my rescue and helping me put together a costume for Celyn's nativity play this Friday. She's the Star of Bethlehem and despite the fact that the little slip of paper that came home from school said "a white dress with a star pinned to it" (and you note that I AM QUOTING!!), when I explained to one of the TAs in the school what I was going to use, she looked a bit perturbed and said that the costumes are usually way more fancy. Oh the PRESSURE! I can't SEW! I have to put together an outfit so the fruit of my loins, the precious being that is my darling child, doesn't look like a total Wednesday for the dress rehearsal...and I can't SEW! So I called the best seamstress this side of the Severn Bridge who I happen to be closely related to (thank goodness) and fluttered my wanton lashes at her.

It is most unjust you know. Generation upon generation of Gwythers (my maiden name) were tailors in the 1700s and 1800s (we have researched it). My great-aunts were amazing seamstresses (had their own 'house' in Edwardian House of Eliot, you know). My auntie followed after them and has sewed professionally in various capacities for much of her life (she could make a dress when she was eight....EIGHT I tell thee), her daughters are much the same (well...damn near exactly the same cousin Kate made my wedding dress)...and me. Nope. I did not inherit one speck of that gene. Not a slither. Not a morsel. Not a jot or a tittle. It bypassed me like a dual-carriageway around a pretty village. I sewed on the elastics for Celyn's ballet shoes a few weeks ago and they've already fallen off. And I sewed a little hook for her ballet dress (because the original one had come undone) and that's already died. And THEY want ME to make a spectacular star outfit. TSK!!! I say...I'm off to Pembroke tomorrow, sheet and sparkly stuff in hand! I'll tell you what, I had better get some blummin' good photos of this nativity malarky after going to all this trouble!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How 'crease yourself laughing till you cry' funny is this?!!

I was looking at Shelly's blog (who was pointed out to me in the comments on my previous post) and she had posted this You Tube vid.

Oh my heavens above, how flippin' funny is this baby!?!!?

There's a Feeling of Christmas in the Air

Ain't this purdy?! I just love the colours of these papers together... sumptuous!

This is the second class for Friday night's Swansea Crop, by Penny. For this you will need to bring a photo that is 5x7" absolute minimum, and that has a central (preferably close-up) image that will fit around the hole at the front. If you have a circle cutter, that would be useful, and also brown or black ink. You will need a paper piercer, an eyelet setter, and a corner rounder too.

The flaps open to reveal more photos and pockets for journaling tags on the inside of the 'doors'.

Okay...nothing else to report. I'm tired. Late nights and early mornings are not a good mix. Laters.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Cropping

Celyn's better. Temperature down to normal this morning and she's been bouncing around the house most of today. SO back to school tomorrow. LOL

Friday is the Swansea Crop's Christmas Evening - 7.15 to midnight in Neuadd Llewelyn Hall, Penllergaer, Swansea. There will be two classes and one of them is here, by my fab Scrappers Unlimited team member, Amber. I love her graphic clean styleeee. Amber runs three different scrapbooking courses for her local county council (which job I sort of helped her to get) and because of that she is now training to be a teacher. I'm so proud of her. Hey Amber, do you KNOW how proud I am of you? SO proud. You GO GIRL!!!!!!!

The second class of the evening will be by the lovely Penny. She taught the same layout at Linz's 12 hour crop last weekend but we are changing the papers for Friday's class to these. Not because we don't like the original papers. But because we can't get 'em! So the pic of that re-done layout will be up as soon as Penny (a) re-creates it, and (b) manages to find someone who can upload a photo for her (she's technically challenged, love her).

We will also be having lots of yummy food and drink. Ho ho ho...that's what I say :D

Monday, December 04, 2006

Poor lamb

I've been playing nurses all day today as my girly-girl descended into high temperature territory yesterday afternoon and was up in the night being a bit sick, and very hot.

The shame of it was that she was due to go to one of her best friends' birthday party today, so all yesterday evening and this morning I encouraged her to lie quietly, keep taking the medicine to get her fever down, take naps and drink lots of water and juice, with the carrot that if she did she was more likely to get better and then she would be able to go to the party. She was as good as gold all day but...

Not to be.

The syringe-fulls of ibuprofen are doing a grand job bringing the fever down (we looooove drugs...drugs are goooood), but her flushed cheeks and our fancy-pantsy forehead thermometer (takes a scan of the temperature near the temporal artery in the forehead in a manner not unlike Star Trek...these 'ere new fangled inventions...ain't they MARV'LUSS) show it goes gliding back up to around 103 once the medicine wears off.

So we had a duvet day, snuggled under said bed coverage on the sofa, watching some silly film from the 60s (great fashions in it!) and generally chatted and hung out. But I had to eventually break the news that she wasn't going to be able to go to the party. She was really disappointed, but very brave about it. And then (breaks your heart) she kept asking, "Has it started yet?" and "Is it over yet?" with resigned deflation in her voice. Awwww.

Had a lovely day at Crafty Pastimes' 12 hour crop on Saturday, although I got naff all done as usual. 12 piggin' hours, and one class layout to show for it. Which was a lovely class by Penny and I suppose I did teach a class too...but still. 12 hours!!!! Well...actually probably 9 3/4 hours for me, as I left home a bit later than intended because I realised when I got up at 6.30 that actually (despite shining my mobile phone into my knicker-drawer when I went to bed - Husband was already asleep and I didn't want to disturb him) I actually had not one clean pair of knickers in the whole house, so I had to put a quick wash in the machine and the house looked like Widow Twanky's Laundry with bloomers all over the radiators drying like mad. Imogen suggested I should have arrived at the crop 'commando'. She's a trollop and I just ignored her. Bwaahaaahaaaa!

I have therefore finally come to the conclusion that I am a Library Scrapbooker. Just like there are two types of studiers: when writing an essay or somesuch project, some people like (even 'need') to have the stereo on, or perhaps the TV, and they enjoy learning for exams in a study-group environment. I, on the other hand, have to disappear to the quietest spot of the quietest library, and get completely irritated with anyone who so much as rustles a sweet-wrapper and disturbs my thought processes. And, blow me down, I think this works for my creative scrapbooking juices as well. Sit me in a crop with a ton of ladies, and I just chat, and shuffle paper about. Even if I have all the right papers, embellishments, photos and whatnots, I still can't manage to put together anything that resembles something a 10 year old did on a good day. BUT sit me on my own, with peace and quiet (and possibly something soothing on the stereo, but certainly not rock music), and I put together lubberly lubberly things.

So. Who's up for a crop where we do a sponsored silence for charity? Eh? Eh?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Talking of embarrassing...

...a blogging buddy had a link to this story on her blog today, and I literally cried laughing. Twice.

Aaargh Jim Lad...aaaaargh! Enjoy (because I certainly did!)

Bus Stop

So, what happened was... (this is my embarrassing story that I mentioned previous post).

I was in my late 20s and lived and worked in Reading. Well...more precisely...I lived in Caversham (across the River Thames) and worked in Reading. At this juncture in my life I travelled to and from work by bus. Tedious. I haven't got a problem with buses per se, except (particularly in the rush hour) that they don't turn up when they're supposed to, which makes you late. OR they turn up and they're completely full so they sail past your stop, which makes you late. And you spend inordinate amounts of time in queues staring inanely at advertising posters or teenage mating habits.

One day I was travelling home on the number 25. It was packed out...I had grabbed a seat towards the back of the bus and next to the window, and by this point in the journey every seat was taken and every standing space in the aisle was taken. Packed. I'd had a particularly tiring day at work and was leaning my head against the window, completely day-dreaming and watching the world go by as the bus meandered its way towards my home stop. Tra la la.

When all of a sudden...

I became acutely aware of everything around me, as I now realised that we were literally yards from my stop and obviously as no one else was getting off there, the bus was on course to keep on travelling straight past it. And I was stuck 3/4 of the way back, with many people blocking my entrance, and reaching the bell to tell the driver I wanted to get off was going to be a bit of an effort (it would have involved sticking some private part of my body in at least 2 people's facial area). Taking all this in within the space of a second flat, I shot into an upright position at my sudden predicament and (without thinking what I was doing) shouted the immortal words...

"Ding ding!"

Oh yes. My knee-jerk reaction was to imitate the sound of the bell for the whole piggin' bus to hear.

Within a milli-second of these words falling from my lips, I thought "What in the hell did I do that for?!" as I realised that a very high percentage of the bus patronage were now looking at me, and no small number were also smirking, or even downright giggling.

I then had the embarrassment of having to say "Sorry, excuse me, sorry, sorry...thanks...sorry" as I shoved and squeezed myself past them all (b******s) to get to the door, all the while not looking anybody in the eye.


So if anyone is needing a bell imitator, then I'm your girl. Reasonable rates. Available for boxing matches, operating lifts, hotel receptions and of course buses....