Thursday 30 September 2010


The sun is out for the last day of September, a lovely end to the month. Obviously, I will be at work for most of it - extra hours again.

I found some more time this week to do some crafting, and I was itching to make a layout with Allison Davis's Sketch week sketch. I took some of the photos from when we went to Millbuies Loch. We'd never been there before, considering that it is not too far from us, and we enjoyed a leisurely walk around the loch, trying out the slingshot (safely and responsibly of course) and also following a family of ducks.

I used bazzill card stock, and papers from the Basic Grey Archaic collection. The trees are handcut, and I used a Papertrey Ink stamp for the trunk/branches. The title is done with American Crafts "Lullaby" foam Thickers.

I really enjoy using these sketches, it's nice to do some 2 pagers every now and again.

When the kids saw this layout, they asked where the photos of Dad's bottom was.... Erm... The highlight of the visit for them, was shoving pine cones down Mark's shorts, and at one point, he had to take his shorts down to get rid of all the pine cones... So of course, being papparazzi, I took some shots... Photos are not really suitable for those with a gentle constitution, but Tom said "But Mum, you could have made a flap on the page and hidden them underneath..." Maybe next time, Son...



Monday 27 September 2010

Holidays and heritage

I finally managed to find some time to do some scrapping at the end of last week, and managed a double and a single layout, using sketches - an Allison Davis one, and a PageMaps one.

The double uses an Allison Davis sketch - the same one I used for the last double I did! I love the circle elements on this one.

The photos are from a boat trip we took in Turkey, 2008. I love the ones of the kids, as Tom is hamming it up for the camera! I used Bazzill cardstock, Heidi Grace paper and some paper from Tescos. The title is chipboard Thickers from American Crafts.

The next layout I did is a heritage one. I used a PageMap sketch from the September 2010 releases.
This photo is of my Great Grandfather. I *think* it's my Gran sat on the hedge next to him. I used Bazzill cardstock, My Minds Eye, Bo Bunny and Making Memories papers, Prima flowers, and American Crafts foam Thickers. The buttons are from my Gran's button box.
I was considering going back and doing some machine stitching on it, but have left it for now.
It's good to get the creative juices flowing a bit now and again!
The weekend was busy with Tang Soo Do competitions and long shifts at work. The kids competed in the Scottish Championships on Saturday, Jemma won 2 bronze medals, but Tom came away empty handed. Unfortunately he has just moved up a category, so he is now one of the youngest in his group, so he found the sparring hard going :( He was fourth in his forms, which was a good result, but you don't get a medal for fourth place...
Saturday night was stock take at work - counting small bags of sweets at 1 am is not my idea of fun, but at least it's done for another few months. The store is having a lot of upheaval just now - as well the new shelving and brands, we are getting a new Store Manager next week, and the Section Managers are having a move round too. So, expecting some more drama at work in the next few weeks...

Tuesday 21 September 2010


.... from the, erm, chicken's bottom??? Doesn't really have the same ring to it, does it?

This is a bacon flan I made the other night, using fresh eggs from next door's chickens.

They were given to us as a thank you. Let me tell you a stooooooory....

I was cleaning out the guinea pigs, and I put them in their run on the patio, so Jemma went round the far side of the house, to get some long grass and dandelion leaves for them to munch on, from the "wild bit". Then she comes running back in the house saying "Mum, we have chickens down the side of our house". I'm like "really??" and off I go to see that indeed we had 2 beautiful brown hens pecking and scratching in the "wild bit" up the side of the house. Now, our elderly neighbour Rosie has a couple of chickens, so I went to the house to ask if hers had escaped.
The old couple across the street came out and said "Oh, Rosie is away for a couple of months". Great. So I checked the garden, and saw the chicken run, and saw it was empty. So I asked if the neighbours had a contact number for someone in Rosie's family. Within 5 minutes, a couple of her grandkids came along the street, and indeed they were Rosie's chickens. By this time, the hens had made it into our back garden, and Mark was pacifying them with Guinea Pig muesli! In fact the chickens were quite friendly, and had no problems with being picked up. So as a thank you, they gave us the 2 eggs the hens had laid that day. And I made them into tea. And they were delicious. I am secretly hoping that the chickens make another escape bid...



Sunday 19 September 2010

Fallen off the wagon....

...completely and utterly.

The past 10 days have been a bit of a blur - preparing for night shifts, doing nights shifts and then recovering from night shifts. Plus then having to do catch up with everything - a particularly grouchy clean freak husband doesn't help - as the "housework fairy" hadn't visited that week.

I have tried to keep up with LSNED, almost fanatically at first, jotting things down in a notebook. But as the time has gone on, I have well and truly fallen behind. Here are a few lessons from this week....

  • eye masks really do help you to sleep during the day - I didn't think they would, but I managed a good 6 hours sleep before my first night shift, a lot more than my fellow night shifters ;)
  • leaving work at day break can be really quite surreal - I took a photo of the town at dawn as I walked back to my car to drive home. I was alone, apart from a paperboy!
  • afternoon naps can hinder as well as help - Saturday was my "transition" day, and I fell asleep for a few hours in the afternoon. Didn't help me at all come bedtime...
  • I have to learn to draw the line somewhere, 1 am is a good a time as any... - I had an extra long shift on Sunday. 2.30 pm to midnight. But I was still there at 1am. I left at 1.15 am. I really can't leave until I am happy with my work. Even if that is only filling shelves.
  • sometimes it's OK to read a book in a day - I am hooked on the Vampire Academy books at the moment, and Monday I managed to read a whole book in a day. Probably another reason why Mark was miffed, as Monday is usually cleaning day...
  • I really have a hard time saying "no" to people - my manager at work phoned me at home to ask if I could work extra hours again on Friday. And I just couldn't say no. I ended up going in 2 hours earlier than usual. I hate letting people down, but sometimes I should see that people do take advantage of me.
  • retail therapy is good for the soul - a good crafty bargain from TK Maxx always cheers me up!
  • that having complete trust in your hairdresser is always a good thing - I have no clue when it comes to my hair, I just leave it to the professionals. Luckily my hairdresser is amazing, and I now have even more blonde highlights, and hair that is 3 inches shorter than it was before....
  • that people really do notice if you are having a bad day - I had a mini wobble at work. Nothing major, I just wasn't quite my happy little self. I felt unappreciated. Not alot of smiling going on. People noticed. Made me feel a bit more appreciated.
  • Lunch dates with friends can be bittersweet - catching up with friends and having a bowl of the most amazing soup and a Mars Bar crispie slice doesn't make up for the fact that I said goodbye to one of the sweetest friends I have ever known. Sometimes I really hate Forces life...
  • needing to fetch a blanket to keep warm whilst watching tv on an evening really means that the heating needs to be turned back on - and voila the heating is now on :)

The main lesson I have learned over the past week or so, is that I shouldn't bite off more than I can chew. In all aspects of my life. Not just the creative side, but the domestic and the work sides of my life too. To not take on too much, or to expect too much of myself. I have fallen behind with so much again. No creativity going on. Leaving things to the last minute. Feeling bad as I haven't prepared for events - there is a wedding anniversary and a birthday that I am going to be late for this week :( And also putting things off. Getting wrapped up in fiction and other distractions when I really should be doing something more constructive.

Ah, me. Lots of life lessons going on. Not enough hours in the day should be another one....



Thursday 9 September 2010

Talking telephone numbers...

Last year I did an entry in my LSNED book with a photo of this phone. Once more, I have learned a lesson regarding the very same object.

This week, Jemma has been away on a school residential trip, to a watersports centre. They were told no mobile phones were allowed to be taken. Last night, about 9ish, the phone rang. We have caller display, and it said Pay Phone on it. I answered it, and there was Jemma on the other end, calling to say what she had been up to, and chattering 10 to the dozen about her week. It struck me afterwards that she knew our home phone number. I didn't think she did. It's not something we've drilled into the kids heads, maybe we should have.

I remember as a child, when you picked up the phone you automatically said the phone number. My childhood phone number is imprinted in my brain permanently, complete with the old area code. I can still tell you my grandparents phone numbers, Mark's parents phone number, all learned back in the day when we didn't have speed dial. My parents moved 8 years ago, and I couldn't tell you their new number, as I just pick their names from the phone's address book! Mobile numbers have me stumped too. Every number I dial now, I have to look up. The only one I try to remember these days is Mark's work number.

Technology has made me lazy, maybe I should endeavour to remember more numbers, to make the old grey matter work at bit more. Or maybe I'll just stick to the address book and phone directory...



Wednesday 8 September 2010

Age is just a number... ever increasing number, but a number all the same.

Yesterday was my birthday. My 38th birthday. I remember when it was all about the presents, the parties, the candles on the cake. Nowadays, it's more about the fact I've made it to another birthday, the gratitude, and the excitement of the kids - oh, and it's still about the presents!
I didn't get cake this year, I was at work, and also Jemma left for a school trip, and it wouldn't have been the same. Didn't seem worth sticking a candle in a muffin. Although, if truth be told, I was upset that no-one sang "happy birthday" to me...

I had a quiet day to myself - had a lovely long soak in the bath, and then did a bit of crafting in the afternoon before going to work. Felt odd having to work on my birthday, although whilst doing the date checks at least I didn't need to ask anyone what the date was!

I felt quite retrospective yesterday, LSNED is making me more thoughtful this year. Maybe it's because I don't have to just find a caption for a photo I have taken, I need to explain my lessons more fully in a blog post. So, during my craftiness, I made this layout. And it even has a photo of me on it. Not a great photo - now for Mark that is unusual, the camera appears to have focussed on the trees rather than me! - but then that sums me up. Not perfect by any means, and sometimes unfocussed and a bit fuzzy round the edges! I hate photos of me, I see all the things I hate about myself magnified a thousandfold. But this one, it captures me at this point in my life.

Journalling reads - Life is good. I have blonde streaks. I don't feel any older. I'm regaining my confidence. I'm working on my weaknesses. I'm still smiling.

I used a PageMap sketch from August 2010, the cardstock is Bazzill and the papers are K&Co and October Afternoon. The flowers are Prima, and the alphas are American Crafts raw chipboard Thickers, coloured with brown ink and topped with Glossy Accents. I'm not sure where the journalling page came from, and the buttons, ribbon and lace are from my stash.

Oh, and please check out Erika's blog post from yesterday, she made me the most Gorjuss birthday card, it is a stunning card!

Proud of my boy today as well - he was presented with the Chief Scout's Bronze award at Beavers. Pity the Chief Scout wasn't presenting it - Bear Grylls....phwoar. This is the top award for Beaver Scouts, showing that they are creative, fit, making friends, starting to learn about the world, exploring the outdoors and have understood the Promise. Tom has 7 challenge badges, he needed 6 to qualify for the award.

Tom "swims up" to Cubs next week. Another step in his life. But he is more than ready for it. And his Dad will be there with him, as Mark is an assistant Cub leader in the Hopeman pack. Tom has thoroughly enjoyed his scouting experience so far. I'm just waiting to see how many badges need to be transferred from his Beavers sweatshirt to his new Cubs one - sewing on badges is not one of my favourite jobs!
Oh, and talking of badges... After yesterday's post of my disappearing name badges, I went into work and there was one of my name badges in the Commercial Food Office, looking a bit battered and scratched. Bit like it's onwer! No idea where it was found, or what it went through to make it look like that. But at least I have it back again...

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Where DO all the lost things go.....?

In my house, I am always the person people go to when they have lost something - I have an uncanny knack of finding stuff... until it's my stuff that goes missing. Yesterday it was one of my name badges for my work uniform. I did have 3 of them, but managed to lose one in the store at work last night, but can I find my spare one? Can I hell. I need one for my shirt, and one for my jacket - the store manager insists on everyone wearing a name badge at all times, company policy, although I have the sneaking suspicion that it's more because he is rubbish at remembering names than anything else...

I really hate losing things. I managed to lose my swipe card for work a couple of weeks ago, and I felt like I had lost my right arm! The black hole that is Elgin Simply Foods swallowed it up - I managed to lose it within 2 metres of where I last used it...
But sometimes, it's my own absent mindedness. I had to change my camera batteries whilst down the beach and I keep a spare set in my camera bag, but they have a habit of falling out of the pocket. Many times I have passed some batteries lying on the floor and thought - "oh, look someones dropped their Eneloops" only to find they are mine! So this time, I put the old batteries in my coat pocket for safe keeping. Only to find a few days later that I couldn't find them. I looked in the pockets of the coat. Nada. So I went on Amazon and ordered another set.
This morning, as it was windy out, I put my winter coat on to take the kids to school and wave Jemma off on her school trip. I put my hands in the pockets, and yep, found the batteries. I'd checked the wrong coat. Duh. So now I have an extra set of Eneloops. But one can never have too many batteries...

So lessons learned today - I hate losing things. And try to remember where you put things, as its annoying when you can't find them. And maybe the coat you thought you were wearing to the beach was in fact a different one... I could go on and on.....

I did actually manage to do something scrappy yesterday. It's taken me all week, but I got there in the end LOL.

I found a new source of sketches - Allison Davis. I'd heard about her books via the 2 Peas forum, but was dismayed that they were only available in the US, and ordering would mean high shipping and import duties, not really making them a good buy. But then I found her blog. Every month she does a week of posts called Sketch Week, where she takes one of her sketches and makes 5 different layouts, showing how you can adapt a sketch and use it multiple times. I love her sketches - 2 pagers, with room for lots of photos, and easy to use 4 x 6 photos on. The sketch I used was her July Sketch week sketch.

The photos were taken on our holiday in Turkey, 2008. We did a boat trip, and the boat stopped in various locations during the day, and you could swim in the sea by the boat. The kids had never been swimming in deep sea before. The captain gave them both a woggle float for safety, but they didn't really need it.
I used up alot of scraps on this layout, mainly Scenic Route and Bo Bunny, with some Creative Imaginations in there too. I used circle punches and Nestabilities to get all the circles, and drew round my bin to get the big circle. The flowers are Prima, the buttons are from my button box, and the title is raw Papermania chipboard alphas painted white, and then stickled to death.

Sunday 5 September 2010

An afternoon at the park...

Today's prompt from Shimelle was asking us about lessons that we continue to learn. For me, a couple sprang to mind today....

....that I really need to learn to conquer my fears regarding heights...

...and that my husband is a much better operator of my camera, and takes much better photos than I do!
After the kids came back from their sleepovers, we headed to Lossiemouth with the kids and their roller blades, so they could have a skate around the park next to the harbour. There are lots of paths, with hills, and areas that the kids can skate. But also there is a play park and a huge net climbing frame, which the 3 of them (the 2 little kids, and the Big Kid) raced each other up.
Mark had control of the camera, and took some photos from the top of the frame - something that I would just be too scared to do. I do try and join in, I always do the rope course at Landmark once, just to say I have done it, although I am completely petrified the whole way round. In my mind it shows the kids that it's OK to be scared, but that you can't let your fears completely stop you from doing stuff. Although I am still petrified ...!
As for my camera skills, I must admit I am a bit of a point and click girl, I do try to apply the rule of thirds, and try my best to compose shots so that heads aren't missing etc. But, Mark is so much better at it than me, but then he moans that if he took the photos all the time, then he'd never be in any. He is more photogenic than me! It doesn't bother me if I am not in a photo, so it's easier if I'm the one behind the camera. He took some of me today. They're not too bad....
I suppose that's another lesson I still need to learn - how to be more comfortable with looking at myself, and to be happy with what I see. But that is a whole other can of worms, and a good few sessions in therapy, so we'll not go there today, OK?

Rugby and date nights

Tom came home all excited last week, with a letter asking for permission for him to attend an afterschool club - now he is in Primary 4, he gets to join clubs! - and it was for Rugby. Jemma goes to these sessions too, but she is a Sport Billy and loves any sport, Tom isn't that interested in sport apart from his Tang Soo Do. So I was a bit surprised, but signed the form anyway, as he was really keen. The first session was Friday, and it became apparent very quickly that Tom's ball skills are decidedly lacking, so I went out on Saturday and bought a cheap rugby ball so he could practice with Mark in the garden.

Mark knows next to nothing about rugby, but he ended up going along to the session as a parent helper. As I sat watching him and Tom throw this ball back and forth in the garden, and listen to Mark as he explained to Tom what he had to do, I realised that Mark can teach just about anything. He is a qualified swimming teacher, he is an instructor at work, so he has the skills to teach in any situation. He helps the kids with their martial arts practice at home, and a number of other things. The kids are extremely fortunate to have Mark for their Dad, as their life is full of learning from him - even the not so desirable lessons, like how to do armpit farting - and he always seems to make it fun.
Watching Tom, I see how he puts 110% into everything, and how he is willing to try anything, and is always smiling whilst he does it. His martial arts instructor always comments on how cheerful Tom is, even if he is doing a large number of press-ups or other not very nice exercises!
Today was certainly a day of learning lessons from my boys.
It was a coincidence that we managed to get both the kids on sleepovers on Saturday night, so Mark and I took the chance to have a night out by ourselves - a date night! We ummed and aahed over what to do, and in the end decided to go out for a meal and then go for a few drinks after. We had a lovely meal at a local tandoori restaurant, and then headed off round the watering holes. I bumped into a few people from work, and a friend I haven't seen in ages, and we had a great night. It was odd just being us two, but nice too. And the added bonus -no kids to wake us up this morning!
So yesterday was a day of many lessons, from the enthusiasm of Tom, to the teaching skills of Mark and the enjoyment of a night out. This is what I love about doing this class - seeing things that maybe I take for granted or that maybe get missed in the hustle and bustle of daily life, and learning to appreciate them.

Friday 3 September 2010

Best foot forward...

Shimelle's prompt this morning asked us to look at lessons learned concerning feet. Determined not to waste another glorious day sat on my backside, I decided the best thing to do was to take the prompt literally and get out and use my feet! I grabbed my camera and headed out for a walk around the village and on to the beach.

I have been wanting to make a mini book about the village where I live ever since we moved here. My friend and team mate on UKS, Monica, sent me a lovely kit for my birthday last year that she had made up, with the view that I could make a mini book about our new house. It's taken me nearly a year, but I got started on it at the beginning of the summer, but I didn't have all the photos that I needed to finish it. But those photos, although simple to take, I kept putting off. Goodness knows why. But this morning, as I walked, I snapped away, getting the photos I needed in minutes.

With that job done, I headed down to East beach, for a wander along the sand. The beach was almost deserted, apart from a young family having a picnic and a man with a dog and metal detector, I saw no one. I had a quick paddle in the sea - which was it's usual freezing temperature - and then headed to a sheltered dune to sit and contemplate the world whilst looking at the sea. Bliss.

I find the sea so relaxing, if I feel down I always take a walk down and sit and watch the waves, listening to the sounds of the sea. I love a "good blow" (as my Mum would say) - a walk in which coastal breezes blow all the cobwebs away, especially the ones in my brain! It didn't surprise me when my Dad's family history research uncovered that his Paternal ancestors were fishermen in Lincoln. It probably explains why I love swimming, and why I feel so at home by the sea. Although I am not a particularly good sailor - cross channel ferries and I do not mix well - I'd still like to go out on a fishing boat (in calm seas of course!) just to see if the fishing gene has been passed down too.

So, I learned a few things today...
  • that I have a habit of putting things off, and then when I get round to doing them I wonder why it took so long
  • that a walk along a deserted beach is possibly the best thing to do on a Friday morning
  • and that I really should get off my lazy backside more often and just go for a walk.



Thursday 2 September 2010

Learning to let go...

... a little at a time. I had to smile at Shimelle's prompt this morning, to find todays lesson inside your house. It seems that I am spending alot of time inside my house at the moment, which I love - I am a potterer at heart, and a total home bird, so nothing gives me greater pleasure than being in my house! - but it's more than I used to, as I used to do the school run twice a day. The kids have been back at school 3 weeks now, and Tom has decided that being in Primary 4 means that he can walk to school without Mummy :(
I snapped the pair of them walking to school down the alley way this morning.
I must admit, I do like having a few more minutes in the day to myself, but I also miss the gossip on the playground and chatting with the other Mum's. I can't believe how much the kids are growing up, especially Tom, as I still see him as my "baby" - what do you mean he is 8???? Jemma starts High school next year, which will mean a bus ride for her - more independence, and more letting out of that leash... As long as it happens slowly and in small stages, I'll be OK - won't I?

Oh, and another lesson learned - Photoshop is not as easy to use as you think... I spent ages trying to import a photo onto a template, I think I managed it, but I can't see me taking the digital scrapbooking world by storm just yet. I think I'll just keep to the blogging for now...



Wednesday 1 September 2010

September? Already???

Crumbs, surely it can't be September AGAIN? It was only 5 minutes since the last one, right?

September for me means 2 things - getting older, and Learning Something New Every Day!
For the past 3 years I have signed up for Shimelle's class, the first year I started with all good intentions, but fell by the wayside - primarily due to a tragedy that happened in our community the first week of September 2007. But for the past 2 years I have produced an album - a 4x4, and a 6x6.
This year, I think I am going to try something new. Things have changed for me over the past year, we bought a house and I now go out to work - so I am looking for a quicker way to record this September. So I thought I would blog it. I am also quite interested to see how easy the digital templates Shimelle is providing this year are to use, as I could quite happily do a little digital album. It's all about learning after all!
How far I get is another matter, September is going to be busy - especially at work, where the store is getting a new re-fit, which means night shifts for me... So without further ado, here is my lesson for the 1st September...

Today I learned that you can make more than ratatouille with courgettes...

I have been growing vegetables for the first time in the garden this year, and the 2 courgette plants have gone mental and produced a endless crop of courgettes. Now I am not a fan of the courgette, but Mark loves a bit of ratatouille, so I grew some to see what would happen. They like it here in Hopeman, it seems.
So, seeing as the freezer has a years supply of ratatouille in it, I looked for something different.... and found a recipe for Chocolate Courgette cake on the BBC Good Food website. I made it, and wow, it is really yummy! Waiting to see if the kids will try it - although I will probably drop the courgette bit, and just call it chocolate cake....
If you look closely at the photo, you may even spot me....

Crafting and creating have been scarce this past week, but I did make a birthday card last week to send to my UKS team mate Margaret. I used a Sugar Nellie stamp and coloured it with ProMarkers. The patterned paper is Chatterbox, and I used Bazzill card stock. The script paper is actually a Prima stamp, stamped onto My Minds Eye paper. The sentiment is an Elzybells stamp, and the flowers were in a Sarah's Cards bargain box that I ordered last week. I was inspired by Marlene. Her cards are just beautiful, and this is a lift of a card from a couple of years ago.
Well, that's all from me for now, hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with another lesson learned. Maybe I should be more positive and say I WILL be back tomorrow with another lesson :)

P.S. A shout out to my friend Jo, whose album cover made it into the first prompt of the month!