Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

What a busy day it's been today. Kendo's been home with the kids while I hopped (actually, I crawled, slowly in the car) over the Pennines to visit this lovely lady, Miss Louise, who is still incarcerated in the Infirmary. She's pretty damn bored (as you can imagine) so I thought a couple of hours catch up on the goings on in blog land and the real world (plus the donuts I took with me) might cheer her up a bit. Hopefully she'll be home for the day tomorrow and reading this so if she is *HI LOU* - and I'm gutted I forgot to take a picture!!

Once I'd crawled my way back across the mountains it was down to some serious Halloween business. Pumpkin carving, costumes and a little Trick or Treating was the order of the evening. Here's Miss Grace and Egg with their pumpkins.


I don't have one in their costumes because I stupidly forgot to take the camera but my MIL took some so I'll post them when I've got her to send them across.

Halloweening aside, pumpkins and sweeties was not the most exciting thing to happen today. The most exciting thing (except for my visit to Miss Lou of course :P) was THIS:


Which arrived in the post for me today. As soon as I saw who it was from I knew what it was and I couldn't open the package quick enough. I wasn't expecting to find all this extra goodness in there as well though. This was what was inside:


A super cute drawstring bag - I love this fabric!


This magazine with all sorts of gorgeous needleworky stuff in. Yum.


This cute little soap bar, and all these fabby fabrics, surrounding a mysterious item encased in bubble wrap.

Any ideas what it might be???????



Be. Still. My. Heart.

OMG. My very own stash of Marshmallow Fluff!! Now I can make some of these. I could not have been more excited.

In case you couldn't tell from the box who it came from it winged its way to me all the way from the wonderfully lovely and fabulous WMK. Who I think I love most in the world right now! After I'd bemoaned the fact that we just can't get this stuff here she emailed me with a note that simply said "Address for Fluff?" and here it is.

I can't wait to get into some Whoopie Pie making action over the weekend. Results to follow with pics I'm sure.



Tuesday, 28 October 2008

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore.

Not that I ever was. In Kansas that is. You’ll see where this is going in a minute.

Yesterday I promised pics of my doll made with the Wee Wonderfuls Kit, Chloe and Louise pattern. For once, I’m actually going to deliver on one of my promised to post pics of a finished product. Wonders will never cease!

First though I just want to sing the praises of this pattern a little. I’ve never sewn a doll in my life and the pattern was a God send. It’s easy to download and print (sometime when you buy downloadable patterns it’s a nightmare actually getting to the product you’ve purchased), the pattern pieces are already at full size (no photocopier action necessary) and include the seam allowances. Apart from a few tricky little curves to get round it’s really easy to make up and I think it looks great. The instructions for the hair (the most daunting bit of any doll I would have thought) were really clear to follow and had me going “Ah…. Obviously that’s how you’d do it – why didn’t I think of that!”. I love the fact that the pattern comes with instructions for three hair dos and three outfits too so you can mix and match, or customise like I did. Should you ever fancy a bit of doll making – this is the pattern for you!

Right. Now I’ve finished blowing Hilary Lang’s trumpet for her I’ll get down to the business at hand. Meet Dorothy. Gracie’s new best friend.

Dorothy (standing)

Grace is a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz. She loves the movie and we went to see a local performance of it at the theatre a few months back (at some point I will take her to see Wicked, when it eventually comes to a theatre near here). I downloaded the pattern on Friday and was deliberating over which doll to make, then on Friday night when I was drifting off to sleep the idea to make a Dorothy doll popped into my head and just wouldn’t go away, no matter how I tried (don’t you just hate….or maybe love it when that happens?). Despite feeling a bit under the weather on Saturday (who isn’t this time of year) I dragged Gracie to the haberdashery and the fabric shop after dance class for some red glitter fabric, some peachy sheeting and some other bits and bobs and started sewing Saturday night once the kids were in bed.

The doll and the shirt and undershirt are directly from the pattern. The gingham number was one of those “make it up as you go along” sewing projects, which I only had to unpick one (woo hoo!). I gave her a nice centre part and bunches a la Ms Garland and I’m particularly fond of her little Ruby Slippers which were made using the pattern and some interesting amalgamations of black felt, sparkly fabric and Bondaweb. Repeat after me “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

There's no place like home

We did have a bit of a shoe emergency this morning when I decided after the 40th time of her losing a shoe that I really should attach them to her feet! A couple of tacking stitches each side sorted that out though and she was good to go.

Grace has gone off to the ILs this morning happily toting Dorothy under her arm. She loves her to pieces already. I’m sure she won’t look quite as respectable when she gets back from being dragged round a play group and the Safari Park today, but what good is a doll if you can’t play with her?

I fear these could be addictive though, I’m already hatching plans for the next ones.

On a completely different topic. There seems to be a lot of bloggers waxing philosophical this week. I wonder if it’s the rapidly approaching festive season that has everyone in such a pensive mood. This one (follow the link where it says Read This Story) made me tear up just a little. This one really struck home to me about being thankful for everything that I have. This one made me think about my scrapbooking a lot, and about the reasons I do it, and all the reasons I should stop beating myself up over trying to get it “right”.

So, that’s it I think. Two posts in two days. A miracle for me. I’ve got a couple more WTJ pages to share but I haven’t taken pictures of them yet so I’ll save them for a later date. Maybe tomorrow, I might consider myself on a roll then.


Monday, 27 October 2008

What's A Girl To Do?

Really, what's a girl to do when her hubby abandons her to run off and do this for the weekend*?

Well. If you're me, then you'd be downloading this fantastic pattern from Hilary Lang at the very cute and fabulous Wee Wonderfuls and setting about making your very own cloth doll (actually, Gracie's very own cloth doll, but you know what I mean). Kendo's been away all weekend camping (nutter!) so it's just been me and the kids at home. I've managed not to resort to the gaffer tape (although it came close a few times) and we've made it through the weekend relatively unscathed (unless you count the bump on Egg's noggin from falling over, the bump on my car's back bumper where I accidently reversed into someone when I was pulling off our drive and the hole in my thumb nail where I poked a sewing needle through it). See, relatively unscathed.

I'm almost done with my Wee Wonderfuls doll. She needs one more shoe making, and a face. I'm nervous about the face. I don't want to mess it up and have it look all creepy. At the moment (with no face) Kendo says it reminds him of that freaky episode of Tales of The Unexpected with the faceless nun in the rocking chair (anyone remember that?). Scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid. I'll post some doll pics tomorrow if I can get her finished tonight. I'm really pleased with how she's turned out.

Following on from this post. There has been a little bit of journal wrecking action going on. Mostly of the doodling variety (I find its easy to do what while I'm watching TV, or like today when there's only me in the office at work ;) ).

Here's a couple of my pages. Nothing spectacular, just a little more trashed than it started out:

The outside

The outside, looking a little more trashed now.

Title Page

The title page, a doodley work in progress.

Instructions page

The instructions. Pretty colours! Colouring is good for the soul.


Filling the page with circles. Another WIP.

Tear Strips

Tear Strips in a bag.

Glue or Staple

Glue or staple these pages. The bag is stapled to the back page and the title of the tear strips page is glued to the glue and staple one. If that makes any sense.

Envelope Doodle

Doodling like its the back of an envelope. No probs with this one, I do this all the time anyway.

Fruit stickers

Clearly I'm not getting my 5-a-day if this is the most fruit stickers I can come up with in 2 weeks. One of them isn't even mine!!

Doodle over this writing

Doodle over this page of text. And yes, I read it before I started, even when it told me to stop. Are you even surprised by that?

There's a lot of stressful stuff going on here at the moment (which I can't really share on here) so I'm actually finding the WTJ project really therapeutic. Hopefully I can get to some of the more random destructive ones at some point.


*In case you can't be bothered to, or can't see the video on this link, what he's been doing for the weekend is LARPing (aka Live Action Roleplay). Basically an excuse for grown adults to dress up in costumes and run round a field thwacking each other with rubber weapons. Think D&D, only the geeks have been let out of their room to play!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Friday, 17 October 2008

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Oxford Reading Tree Anyone??

Hi PTC bloggy readers. I need your help. I know some of you have children in Primary school, so I'm hoping you'll be able to answer this question easily.

Gracie's school uses the Oxford Reading Tree reading system. She's not started on her books yet, but I'm looking to make some flash cards with the main story characters on for her, so she can learn how to recognise their names in the stories.

These are the main characters in the books:

I know one is called Biff. one is Kipper and one is Chip. The burning question? WHICH ONE IS WHICH???

Answers on a postcard comment please. Put me out of my ORT confusion misery!

It Arrived!!

My copy of Wreck This Journal arrived yesterday! Hurrah! (Thanks for Auntie Yan for ordering it for me. Now she desperately wants one of her own!). Here it is, looking all shiny and new and unblemished……….


……. but not for long!

Here’s the author’s blurb that goes with this book:

An interesting concept, and one of those moment where you see something and think “Man, I wish I’d thought of that!”.

One of the first instructions in the journal is

Crack The Spine

Oh my. Do you know how hard that was for me? That’s like the cardinal sin of paperback ownership. I can’t abide cracking book spines. I hate it when I loan a book out and it comes back with a cracked spine. When from then on it involuntarily falls open at a certain page. A permanent reminder of damage that can’t be undone. It was SO hard, but I cracked on regardless. It was actually quite cathartic once I got going and strangely enough quite addictive.

It’s weird though. The wanton, wilful destruction of literature * is an alien concept to me. I love books. I respect books. Now here I am deliberately setting out to obliterate one. It feels a little sacrilegious, a bit naughty, like I’m going to get busted by the teacher any minute for being a book wrecking rebel. It feels underhand, like a sneaky little secret. You know what though; it’s only making it more fun. See, I’m already discovering my inner guerrilla artist!

Can I just state for the record. I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Journal wrecking aside (for now at least). It occurred to me this morning after reading over here, that I hadn’t shared with you what I won in the lovely Mrs Wiseman’s bloggy giveaway. Well, Kirsty send me a pizza box full of delicious scrapping goodies. Yummy, yummy scrapping stash. It was all very exciting. Here’s what I got:


Basic grey papers and rub-ons and fibres. Chipboard letters (a girl can never have to many of those), swirly, girlie acrylic stamps and a gorgeous handmade card. Now I just need to find the perfect photos to scrap with them….and some inspiration, that’d be important too. Thank you Kirsty.

It’s 11 o’clock. I make that officially time for elevenses. Fair trade Brazil nut cookies and nice cup of tea I think.


*Okay, so “literature” might be stretching the realms of description for this book, but you know what I mean.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A Very Proud Mummy and Daddy Moment

Let me tell you about this little lady.


Yesterday we had Gracie’s first parent’s evening at school. Bizarrely I was pretty nervous going in (but I think that’s a lot to do with still feeling like a Primary schooler myself when I walk into that classroom!). We needn’t have worried though. Grace got an absolutely glowing report from her teacher and the nursery nurse. Basically, she rocks at school!

She’s attentive, sits nicely on the mat for lessons and listens well, she always does what they ask her (I could see Kendo and I both thinking the same thing at that point “how the hell do you get her to do that?!”). She’s doing great with learning her letters and sounds (they’re called “’blends’ when there’s two letters Mummy, not sounds” – that’s me told then) and can count really well. They have a page with little balloons on with numbers in and the ones they can recognise are coloured in. She was up to 12 coloured balloons with a note on the bottom which said “Grace can count way past 22” (I’m assuming they just tuned out at that point, as they’d heard enough – but she can count to 100 without much problem. Go Gracie!). Her writing is coming along really well; she’s starting to form her letters properly and to get the hang of keeping her writing a nice size and spaced well. She only needs to get a couple more letters down to pat (on recognising them) and she can move onto her first reading books!! Hurrah!

They said she’s always giving answers and is really keen to do the learning activities. She shares and plays well with the other kids and they’ve had no problems about her being upset about having to be there and wanting to go home.

Oh, and she’s a bit chatty. Yeah? Tell us something we didn’t know ;)

My daughter’s a total SWOT!! I’m so proud! ;)

Well done Gracie girl. Keep up the good work.


Monday, 13 October 2008

I Know Its October.....

and this project should have been finished in September. Things have been a bit crazy around here though and once again life has gotten in the way of creativity. I've been snatching bits of time here and there to try to catch up with as many pages as I can. Thankfully they don't actually take too long to put together (the size (6x6) and using the sketches makes them pretty quick) but I've still only made it up to Sept 20th!! There are the pages from 10th Sept through to 17th.









I'm not even bothering with beating myself up about not completing this in the month. I'm just going to keep chipping away at it when I have a few moments. If it takes me till the end of November, then so be it!

There is another project looming on the horizon that I'm particularly excited about. After reading this post over at the Vicious Chicken last week, I knew I just had to get a copy of this book. One of my major problems with ever keeping a journal or art journal is worrying that I'm going to "ruin it" somehow. Clearly ridiculous, but I can never quit get past that perfectionist hurdle. I've ordered a copy of the book and it should be here early this week. I can't wait for it to arrive so I can get started with it. Sounds like great fun.

Ah well, lots of student records to update today. The deep, deep joy of data entry!


Saturday, 11 October 2008

Get Well Soon Louise!!


This lovely lady (the one on the right, because the one on the left is me and I'm not so lovely), my good friend Lou is really quite poorly at the moment.

Lou has a congenital heart problem and there's been some problems with her legendary dicky ticker. After winding up in hospital last week and having to have an operation to put a stent into one of the arteries in her heart she's now in the ICU following another op to remedy a problem with the first one. One of Lou's friends has let me know that they're please with her progress (thanks Stef for the update) but it's still pretty scary stuff.

I'm sure all my bloggy readers (most of whom are probably reader's of Lou's blog too) will join me in a big old bloggy shout of:


I'm missing my daily email ping pong sessions and textathons Miss Lou. Please get back on your feet soon so we can resume normal service.


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Not Entirely Un-panicking

Some days I think I really shouldn’t go blog surfing. It can be hazardous to your mental state (and mine’s already pretty fragile at the moment (see exhibit 1 and 2 below). TWO of the bloggy people I regularly stalk visit (Mrs Marmadaisy and The Ginger One) have reminded me this morning that’s its really not very long until Christmas. Not very long at all.

78 Days

18 Hours

38 Minutes

(to be almost exact).

That is SCARY! I’m not entirely sure where the time has gone this year. I really seems like yesterday I was whipping up one of these (won’t be wasting time on that this year because I did indeed spend more time making it than I did actually using it – but hey, it was fun).

What worries me most is that I had good intentions of making lots of hand made gifts this year, which is looking increasingly unlikely given the time constraints of working, and small people, and ballet classes, and swimming classes, and the dreaded but necessary housework. I’d say it’s increasingly likely I’ll be hitting the 3 for 2 offers at Boots for Christmas presents this year!

Do you hear that sound?? That’s the sound of my relatives breathing their collective sigh of relief.

I might have to take a serious look at my present list and see what the possibilities of me actually getting ANY handmade presents done are. 78 days… that’s more than 11 weeks….. surely I can come up with something in that amount of time? Can’t I?

Any suggestions for cool handmade gift ideas you’ve found on your bloggy travels would be gratefully appreciated. I’m sure there’s a plethora of great ideas out there. I’ll be on the look out and will be sure to share if I stumble across any.


Monday, 6 October 2008


I saw this over at both April and Anna's blogs so thought I would steal it for today's post:

I am: Tenacious
I think: therefore I am
I know: there’s nothing more important than family
I have: a cold
I wish: there were more hours in the day
I hate: intolerance
I miss: not having responsibilities
I fear: losing the people I love
I hear: the air conditioning
I smell: canteen food
I crave: quiet
I search: for the remote control
I wonder: what my children will grow to be like
I regret: nothing, what’s the point?
I love: my kids and my husband
I ache: in my chest from coughing
I am not: impulsive
I believe: you can never judge a book by its cover
I dance: all the time
I sing: lullabies
I cry: when I’m angry
I fight: when I’m cornered
I win: occasionally
I lose: occasionally
I never: get enough sleep
I always: kiss the kids goodnight
I confuse: people easily
I listen: well
I can usually be found: with my nose in a book
I am scared: of nothing, except losing my family
I need: Lemsip!
I am happy about: where I am in my life
I imagine: all the other things I could be doing while I’m at work

Let's hear all about YOU!

Apologies again for the somewhat inane drivel of my previous bloggy offering. Things are calming down a little and my sanity is returning (what's left of it anyway). I have some scrapbook layouts to share, and my goodies from Kirsty's blog giveaway arrived so I will post a pic of them at some point too. Totally lush parcelness.


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Lets Have A Little Chat About Tweedle Beetles.

What do you know about Tweedle Beetles?

Well, when Tweedle Beetles fight, it's called a Tweedle Beetle battle.

AND when they battle with a paddle, its called a Tweedle Beetle paddle battle.

AND when they battle in a puddle, it's called a Tweedle Beetle puddle battle.

AND when Tweedle Beetles battle with paddles in a puddle, they call it a Tweedle Beetle puddle paddle battle.

AND when Beetles battle Beetles in a puddle paddle battle, and the Beetle battle puddle is a puddle in a bottle, they call this a Tweedle Beetle bottle puddle paddle battle muddle.

AND when Beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles, and the bottle's on a Poodle and the Poodle's eating noodles, they call this a muddle puddle Tweedle Poodle Beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.

Thus ends the Dr Seuss lecture for today, and thus is illustrated the state of my brain at the moment. Hence the no blogging, and the no crafting, and the no housework, and the no anything really. Apart from the working and the vegging.

See. I don’t think even one of those sentences was correctly constructed.

Mashed. That’s what my brain is.

And why is it mashed (slapped wrists, starting a sentence with the word and). Well, it’s mashed because the current ratio of administrators to students on my course is

1 (Me): 124 (Them).

And what do students do to administrators (there we go again, beginning a sentence with a conjunction)? They peck your head from 9.30 until 4.30 with questions about timetables and tutor groups and class schedules and ID cards and Council Tax Exception Certificates.

1: 124

Not a fair ratio, I feel.

Was my last post on here the popcorn question? I think it was. I suspect I might have to start giving serious consideration to the apparent deterioration in my mental well being.

I think I might have to knit something.

Did I mention I read a Biology text book? For fun. It was all about lovely cell structure and mitochondria and ribosomes and endoplasmic reticulum. There were shiny diagrams and everything. That’s gotta be earning me some serious geek chart points. Please.

I think that’s about enough of my torrid rantings. Except maybe to say it was all Leanne’s fault (you know what I mean missus!) and to apologise for my absence. Or maybe you’re rather I’d stayed away??

I might leave you with this though. There’s definitely been some hamster action around here: