Monday, 19 October 2009

Attic Inspired

I’ve mentioned before my love of all things Attic24. Lucy’s blog really is the most inspiring place. She’s just full to brimming with lots of amazing, colourful, lovely ideas (which thankfully she’s just as keen to share as she is to create).

Lucy’s been unveiling a lot of little projects on her blog lately and they’ve gotten me to thinking (once again) about the idea of original ideas. I’ve mentioned this before too (I’m a really “Rita Repeater” today it would seem (that’s what we call Miss Grace when she insists on repeating the same statement over and over – drives us potty)). It’s so very difficult these days to come up with an “original” idea. I’m always totally in awe of people like Lucy, and Julie, and Barbara and Jodie (to name but a few)who time and time again come up with amazing new things for us to drool over. There’s some seriously amazing creative talent out there in crafty blogville. Love it!

So. In light of the thinking about original ideas, I wanted to try to come up with something which for once wasn’t something I’d copied from elsewhere. Nothing big, just a little something out of my brain that was just mine. A blank. That was what I came up with. So, I figured, start smaller. Start with a little inspiration from elsewhere your first time out and build from there. So, I started with Lucy. More specifically, I started with these. Lucy’s teeny tiny flower pattern. These are so cute, and so easy to make (thanks once again to Lucy’s fabulous pattern writing skills). Now I just need to find something original to do with them. So, I did this:

Crocheted headband

Grace (crocheted head band)

A crocheted headband for Miss Grace. Not rocket science, but not something I’ve seen anywhere before (although I’m sure if I trawled through the internet that someone, somewhere, has done this before, no more original ideas and all that). She likes it. I like it. I might even try to write a pattern (but don’t get your hopes up, it won’t be a patch on an Attic one!).

Other then the random crochet item making I've mostly been baking around here, but not cakes for a change. I've really been getting excited about bread making this week (sad, I know). I have tried baking bread in the past but it's always been a bit of a disappointment. So what's a girl to do when something isn't going as it should? Why, read a book on it, of course! A little trip to the local library while Grace was at dance class yielded a copy of this book, which is very informative and has some great recipes. Clearly the problem in the past was that I didn't quite understand the science of it. I'm a scientist at heart and once I'd gotten my head round the processes that are going on in that yeasty-smelling floury mixture things just made sense to me. So now instead of the usual almost flat and completely yeasty tasting disasters that I normally produce, we get this:

Homemade Bread

Deliciously yummy bloomer loaves. And you know what, they taste goooooood. I forsee much more breadmaking in my future. Of course I'd have to give up work and bake full time if I intended never to buy shop bought bread again - no sooner have I baked these than they're already half way through being eaten!

On a last note, I haven't forgotten about these. They're a work in progress. More about that next post. Talking of which. Next post. Could be exciting. Can you count?? Google dashboard can and it's telling me exciting things......


Saturday, 10 October 2009

An Eye Opener

My seaside swap partner (and swap organiser) Rachel has a great blog over here at Contented. (She's also just had a birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY RACHEL).

She also runs another blog with her friend Emma called "That Little Bit Greener" which aims to share information and ideas amongst the blogland community about what we can all do to make our lives that little bit greener, to lessen the impact we have on our environment and to reduce our carbon footprint a little.

This last Wednesday over at TLBG where was a post about a project called "Morsbags". Set up by a lady in London (Claire Morsman), it's a project that aims to get people sewing resuable shopping bags from recycled sources (old duvet covers, curtains, clothing etc) and handing them to out free to people (in front of supermarkets, in shopping centres etc) in an effort to get them to use the resuable bag instead of plastic bags.

Now, I have to confess at this point that whilst I have quite a few shop bought resuable bags I am AWFUL at remembering to use them. Shockingly bad infact. I almost never remember to take them with me, or if I do they end up getting left in the boot while I do the shopping so I end up with another pile of plastic bags (which lets face it are crappy whichever way you look at them).

After I'd read the post on TLBG on Wednesday I wandered over to for a peek. Oh my. What an eye opener that was. Obviously I was aware that plastic bags had a detrimental impact on the environment, but some of the information on there just blew me away.

This film particularly:

struck a chord with me. Just awful.

Then I read this article. I've posted a link, but I warn you that the photographs particularly are not for the faint-hearted. One particular photograph (the one of the turtle on the second page if you're brave enough to look - but don't say I didn't warn you) just plain broke my heart.

The core of the issues is this. Plastic bags are made from petroleum based plastic. They aren't biodegradable (at least probably not in our lifetime!). When they get into the sea then marine life mistake them for food and ingest them and can't digest them. When the bags do breakdown they only break into smaller pieces, these microscopic pieces of plastic are swallowed by plankton eating marine life like whales.

On Friday I popped into a local charity shop where I found this rather lovely Cath Kidson-esque duvet cover for the princely sum of £2.50.

Duvet cover for Morsbags

It's destined to be my first round of morsbags. The website encourages people to set up "pods" where people get to gether to sew up bags to make it social event. As I'm just starting out I'm going to be a solopodist - unless any of my blog readers would like to join me in a "cyber-pod".

The whole thing has certainly had an impact on my already. I forgot to take bags to the supermarket again last night (I really need to practice making it a habit!) but I ended up only using one bag (for all the small bits I'd bought) - the rest I put directly into the trolley and then into car one at a time. Not perfect, but a start. Once I have some morsbags on the go hopefully I'll never need to use another plastic bag again.


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Some Small Miracle.

A miracle occurred in this house last night. Not a huge miracle. Lives were not saved. Disasters were not averted. Wars were not won. What did happen was this:


Yup. My Learn Something New Everyday Album. All done. Finito. Completo.

After taking countless number of Shimelle's classes and not making it to the end of them I'm completely ecstatic that I've actually managed to accomplish this.

You've seen up to Day 22, so here's the rest:

September 23rd

September 23rd

The age old lesson I that I only ever "almost" learn.

September 24th

September 24th

THE most hectic week of the year for me. Horrifically busy, but it still only lasted a week.

September 25th

September 25th

Too many Fridays in a row in work meant no time for housework to get done.

September 26th

September 26th

A little jaunt over th'pennines for some scrapping time with Miss Louise.

September 27th

September 27th

Horrible light-headed, nauseous feeling all morning - I just had to go back to bed.

September 28th

September 28th

For all I'm organised at work, when it goes down to the wire I'm definitely a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl.

September 29th

September 29th

We do love a bit of Dr Seuss in our house. Reading "Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?" to Grace when this paragraph really jumped out at me. A little reminder in these times that there's always someone worse off than you:

It's a troublesome world. All the people who're in it
are troubled with troubles almost every minute.
You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot,
for the places and people you're lucky you're not.

September 30th

September 30th

It might be finished, but it certainly wasn't finished "on time". Ah well.

End Page

End Page

Just a few little words to round up the album. Here's the finished thing:

Finished LSNED Album

Hurrah to actually finishing things. There may be hope for me yet.

This morning was Miss Grace's first school assembly (that is the first assembly held by her class where they've all actually had to stand up and speak). The theme was friendship and they all had a line to read about what friends do for them and about a little recipe for friendship. Grace also had the extra task of standing at the front with one of her classmates and putting "ingredients" for the recipe into a big bowl. She read her line beautifully and handled the extra responsibilty really well. At the end they were allowed to come over and see us before they went back to class she when I told her how well she'd done and how proud I was she cried! Poor little love! I think she was a bit over-emotional with the nerves and the build up to it etc. When I asked her what was wrong she said "I've got that lumpy thing happening in my throat and I can't stop it!" I just love how they can put into words so easily what I think adults would have trouble describing. I knew exactly what she meant by that. We trundled off to the toilets to get some tissue paper and some cuddles and nose blows later all was well with the work. I'm so proud of my little girl.

Just time for me to have a cup of tea and a biscuit before I pick Egg up from nursery and then we take Mum and Dad to the airport while they jet off to meet their cruise ship in Palma. Lucky sods! There's barely a day goes by when I don't see my parents (being that they live next door) and it's so strange for me (and the kids) when they go on holiday. I miss them terribly, especially Mum. They're both really in need of a holiday to recharge their batteries though so I will keep everything crossed for calm seas and good weather (and no pirates, Egg is very worried that pirates will get his Nanny!) and a safe and speedy return.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away.....

OMG. How rainy is it here today? Soooooooo wet and overcast and grey and miserable. Definitely the most grisly weather day we've had for a long time. I've been listening to it bouncing down all morning out the office window (being thankful that I'm in here and not outside!). This was the view from my window this morning. A grey day indeed.
Before I start waffling, can I just ask you to excuse the [scanned] thing if it appears in the post title. I'm emailing this blog post in from work (being that I still can't post properly from work and probably won't ever be able to thanks to our IT department and their total knobbling of blogger access. Grrrrr). That's played a part in my big lack of blogging lately (just not getting to blog in the day when I used to) so I've decided that I must bite the proverbial bullet and deal with the lack of functionality (editing, photo uploading etc) that comes with blogging by email lest I succumb to their neferious plan and never blog again. The other option was to switch my blog over to typepad but for the moment that's not going to happen because a) I don't want to pay for my blogging service and b) I can't be arsed transferring everything over to another blog platform! Lazy tight-arsed blogger, that's me :P
So, what's been going on in cookieland? Well, despite Ewan giving us the big "I can't walk Mummy" fright a couple of weeks ago he's been absolutely fine, running around, jumping etc. Little tinker. We're going to see the orthopedic specialist next week (13th) so hopefully they will clarify what this "shadow" on his X-ray is and it won't be anything serious.
Grace has been settling in really well into Year 1. She completely loves her new teacher (a guy, which is quite unusual for Year 1 teacher) and is enjoying doing more maths and getting more books to read. She has a reading to do in their first school assembly on Thursday (which I will actually get to see for once as I have Thursday booked off to take my parts to the airport while they jet off for their mediterranean cruise (lucky so and so's!)).
The Saturday before last I had a fabulous day escaping to a crop with my lovely bloggy buddy Louise (see, no functionality, normally I'd do that clickable link thing so you knew which Lou I was talking about! Grrrr IT Services, you evil, cruel people!). It was great to see Lou for a whole day without the company of our small people. There was lots of chatting, lots of coffee drinking and a surprisingly large amount of scrapping (none of which has yet been photographed to upload. I will do that. At some point)).
I'm nearly almost completely finished with my LSNED album. I have two pages to complete (they're all set to go, just some cutting and sticking to do) and a closing page to complete. I'm hoping to get to those this evening, so I will have *shock horror* actually managed to complete a Shimelle class! I'm thinking about tackling the Journal Your Christmas class again this year (as an alumni I get to take part for free and Louise is taking part for the first time this year) so once LSNED is out of the way I will start looking into album sizes/supplies etc for that one. It is only 80 days till Christmas you know, which means only 56 days until JYC starts. Scary!
Fortunately I'm being disgustingly organised this year and have already purchased 7 Christmas presents. Woo hoo! Who knows, I might actually get around to sending cards this year. D'ya think?
Right. That's all the catch up from me. Hopefully there will be more regular (albeit slightly formatting-limited) blog posts now I've embraced the emailness.