Friday, July 28, 2006
We found a message at our rental house asking us to phone my brother - obviously the alarm bells were ringing, but I didn't for one moment think it would be the worst of news, that my mum had died suddenly the day before. What with time differences and him somehow having problems reaching us on our mobiles it had taken a while for him to contact us.
So now our wedding anniversary is always a bitter-sweet time for us, with such happy and sad memories vying for space.
When I think back to that holiday, the memories are bitter-sweet, it's such a lovely place and we had such a wonderful time both in Mauritius and Dubai, but there's always the remembrance of receiving such horrible news mixed in. In some ways there was no better way to hear such bad news. The house we'd rented was at Trou aux Biches right on the shore, with a long garden going down to the beach. I sat for hours looking out to sea and thinking about what had happened. Being by the sea has always soothed me and I'm grateful that I was there, in a beautiful place at one of the worst times in my life.
I thought I'd post some of our photos from that trip as my thoughts have been wandering over to that house on the beach this last few days.
This one on the left is special as it was sitting here in the spot the photo is taken from that I last spoke to my mum, trying to desciribe this beautiful view from here in the Casela Bird Park. Thank goodness for mobile phones because I can remember how pleased she was that I'd rung from so far away and how happy she sounded as I was telling her about the wonderful colours, the mountains and the lovely gardens, plus of course the birds and animals we'd been seeing and the lovely lunch we'd just had - this last one especially made her laugh, because the restaurant had been very busy and rather than turn us away they'd taken a little table out onto the grass, not far from where the photo was taken and served us our meal there, and how we probably had the best seats - with a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Hopefully they'll bring loads more photos with them that I can use for their Christmas presetn scrapbook too!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Anyway, there are two groups participating and as one has 5 members and the other only 4 some of us are on our last entries and the other group still has another one after this - clear as mud, eh?
I'm in the group with just 4 people and even though I was petrified at the outset, I must admit that I've really really enjoyed doing this and can't wait to get my own book back and see what the other's have done with my theme.
As we're trying to keep things secret until all are complete then have a mass unveiling I'm not about to spill the beans on here. It's just that I finally had an idea for my pages in Susan's book and have made a start this afternoon. It's quite exciting when the germ of an idea comes to mind after a couple of weeks of nothing - so exciting that I felt compelled to share!
Of course, whether it actually works out as planned in my poor old noddle remains to be seen.
And you lot will just have to wait to find out too!
We've not stressed out over this, we've given ourselves loads of time and then some! I think they (CJs) are usually done on a tighter timescale than we've done, but this was just for fun and the experience of doing something new, so we took a nice leisurely hippy approach to time. Yeah Man.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Now I've got to start again. And this time I'll remember to "save as draft" to be on the safe side!!!
OK. The latest template challenge on the CBC Forum is this one.
I'd really like to challenge anyone reading this blog to have a go at making a card, scrapbook LO, peice of altered art, ATC etc using this template - then add a picture of your creation to your own blog and drop by here to leave a message so I can come and see what you did. So there - that's the gauntlet laid down, are you brave enough to pick it up?
I used Making Memories papers from the "Simply Fabulous - Meg" set, with beading, ribbon, a vellum tag and some Prima flowers.
The second card is (probably) going to be the one I give Hubby for our 13th Anniversary on 31st July. I made a little pocket for the front this time so I could put a tag in it - that's the bit with the hearts on. The pocket has ribbon and lace on it - the lace because that's supposed to be the traditional gift for a 13th Anniversary!
The background is a silvery paper, then some dark red Bazzill card and then the main papers are from the Blonde Moments Suet Pudding range.
I made this watch strap last weekend but forgot to show it on here. It caused me loads of hassle as I was using two needles and kept getting tangled up, then I realised that having 5 loops either side of the watch face was way too long so I had to do the whole thing again - much cursing and clenching of teeth I can assure you! Still, when I'd finally finished I was quite pleased with the result so I guess (hhhhmmmm?) it was worth the effort! It's made with aqua and blue Swarovski crystals with some sterling silver beads between.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Their DiL has a serious back condition which meant she was advised not to try and have a baby, much as she loves children and desperately wanted a family. Eventually she and my cousin decided that it was worth the risk to be able to have the baby they so much wanted. She had loads of troubles during her pregnancy and I think my aunt and uncle were too scared of what might happen to get really excited until the very last minute. But the story has a happy ending and little Sam arrived safely - and he is just adorable!
I've not really been able to justify getting into scrapbooking so this little chap has given me the excuse to have a go, but not have to find space in our house for the finished album!
This is my very first scrapbooking effort it's for an 8x8 album - seemed much less daunting than those BIG monster sized books! Up till now I've only done some pages in a Circle Journal - and not many of those - so please be gentle with me........
This photo shows one set of Great grandparents with five of their seven children. My paternal grandfather is the handsom young lad 2nd from the right. Great Grandfather was from the Isle of Wight. He left home to join the Royal Navy and later became a Coastguard - eventually settling in Northumberland.
Great Grandmother's family were from Devon and Dorset. Her family moved to the Isle of Wight from Bridport in Dorset but soon after this my Great Great Grandfather Grigg died leaving his wife with two little girls and another baby daughter on the way. My 2x Great grandmother was a dressmaker, I was lucky enough to make contact with a lady on the IOW who, as a very small child actually remembered visiting my GG Grandmother and told me how the house was full of beautiful stitched items and furnishings that she had made.
She very much later remarried and I have more photos of her with her second husband - the identities of this couple were a mystery to our family until I started doing my research and was able to discover who they were. The Family History "network" is a wonderful thing, full of people willing to share their knowledge - I've found so many "cousins" and between us we've been able to answer questions and fill in some gaps.
Friday, July 21, 2006
My family are mainly from Northumberland on the north east coast of England and for generations they were part of the fishing community of the village on Newbiggin by the Sea.
One of my sets of Great Great Great Grandparents were John and Elizabeth Armstrong, between about 1835 and 1852 they had nine children.
Fishing in those days was hazardous, the small boats they fished from were known as cobles and usually owned by a family, or extended family. The menfolk rowed out and did the fishing, the women cleaned and fixed the nets, helped pull the boats onto the shore, sorted and cleaned the fish then went around the streets of the village and neighbouring villages to sell them. They wore baskets on their backs known as creels, and if they didn't make enough for a ride back on the train then they walked, sometimes several miles. From the photos I've seen, it looked like a very hard life.
This particular family had more than it's fair share of sadness. In 1864 their son John and his wife Ellen (my Great Great Grandparents) died within a few days of each other leaving my Great Grandfather (also John) orphaned at only one year old.
In December 1883 John and Elizabeth's second eldest son, Edward was lost at sea.
In December 1904 three more of the family were drowned - sons George and James, and their grandson Edward, who was George's son. They died during an attempt to rescue the crew of the ship "Anglia" which had run into trouble in Newbiggin bay. Altogether seven fishermen drowned. Of the eight fishermen who had rowed out in the coble "Henry and Jane" (shown left - well it would be if Blogger would let me load my pictures!) to try and help the crew of stricken ship only John Armstrong survived - he was the only one of them who could swim and was another of George's sons.
The fishermen had a long tradition of not learning to swim as they thought it would only prolong their suffering if they were thrown overboard, they preferred to think that death would come quickly.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
A ) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Shop Assistant in a Bookshop (I read most of the stock)
4. Go-fer in the general office of a Local Government building
B ) Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. 4 Weddings and a Funeral
2. Muriel's Wedding
3 My Fair Lady (I just love the costumes!)
4 Shirley Valentine (when I need a fix of Greece)
C ) Four places you have lived:
D ) Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. Desperate Housewives
2. housey stuff like "Location, Location, Location" and "Grand Designs"
3. Silent Witness, and similar
4. Funny stuff like "The Kumarrs at no 42"
E ) Places I have been on holiday:
1. The Maldives
3. Greece (loads of times!)
F ) Four websites you visit daily:
2. My Favourite Craft Shopping sites
3. My Favourite Craft Shopping sites
4. My Favourite Craft Shopping sites
G ) Four of my favourite foods:
H ) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. With Hubby, somewhere near the Sea
2. With Hubby, somewhere near the Sea
3. With Hubby, somewhere near the Sea
4. With Hubby, somewhere near the Sea
Ok, If you've read this, you can consider yourself tagged - please leave me a message to say you've joined the challenge.
Skipped school - No, far too scared of getting caught!
Seen someone die -No, not actually in the same room.
Snuck out of your parent's house -No - my life wouldn't have been worth living if I'd got caught doing that!
Been in love- Yes
Been dumped - Yes and I didn't like it
Been laid off/fired - No
Quit your job Yes - I loved teaching, but hated all the rest so in the end it felt great to say "I quit"
Been in a fist fight?- No
Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back - Of course, ahh unrequited love *sighs*
Been to Canada -No
Been to Mexico -No, but one day....
Been on the opposite side of the world - Yes, we went all the way round, gained a day in the Cook Islands!
Been to Paris - Yes, Fell in love while I was there, too!
Cried yourself to sleep - More than once :(
Played cops and robbers -Yes
Recently coloured with crayons - No, should I have done?
Sang karaoke -No chance!
Paid for a meal with only coins - Not that I can remember, well maybe the odd sandwich if that counts?
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't -Yes
Made prank phone calls -No
Caught a snowflake on your tongue -Yes
Danced like nobody was watching - All my dancing is bad
Been kissed under the mistletoe -Yes
Watched the sun rise with someone you care about -Yes. Well, if you count those early morning aeroplane flights!
Blown bubbles - yes
Crashed a party - Possibly, but that would be while at college and hard to remember!
Gone roller-skating-Yes I just about lived on my skates as a kid!
Ice-skating -Yes, I fell over and got an enormous bruise on my knee
Crashed a car - No
Swam in the ocean -Yes - the North Sea, the Atlantic, The Pacific, The Indian Ocean, The Med.....
Felt like dying - Yes
Made a bonfire on the beach - Not exactly, someone else made the fire but we sat around one in the Maldives one night watching the lightning in the distance
Drank so much you threw up - No
Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose -No
Knitted ? -Yes
Skinny dipped ? No
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The weather forecast has just been on and they are talking 36 degrees for tomorrow. This is England for goodness sake.......
In the south-east they've got the gritting lorries on standby - not for frosts, but in case the tarmac on the roads starts to melt! It's hotter here than in Tenerife today.
We have no grass any more - just this sort of dead looking straw stuff. I've now been out and put as many of my potted plants as I can into deep seed tray things so that I can let them have enough water.
Hot weather gives a good excuse to indulge in a fave beveridge: I made a big jug of coffee this morning and have been using it to make iced coffee all day - pouring some into a tall glass, adding milk and ice and giving it a whizz - delish!
Kel and Jane, I'll get to your challenges sooooooooonnnnnn
Monday, July 17, 2006
For Christmas we gave Charlie and Isabelle "A Big Day Out at Thorpe Park".
We did something similar a couple of years ago when we took them to Alton Towers, and had a great time even though the weather on that occasion was horrible. No such bother on Saturday though - we're in the middle of a heatwave and had glorious hot sunshine all day - check out the blue skies on the photos if you think England is always grey and wet!!!
We all had a fab time. I was Chief Photographer and Bag Holder" - or in reality, too chicken to go on the rides! Actually, I just love having them to myself for a while, and they are always so well-behaved when they go out with us. Going on the rides isn't my idea of fun so taking the kids gives Hubby a fantastic excuse to indulge his own liking for the roller coasters and other rides!
These photos are of the Detonator ride which Issy and Hubby went on. Check out Issy's face just as they hit the bottom!
Charlie and Hubby queued for an hour to go on "Rush". There are 2 giant swings but for some reason they were only using one - a bit irritating when the queues are so long for these things.
This ride goes soooo high, the picture on the left is of Charlie and Hubby hanging upside down over our heads! You'll just have to take my word for that as it's not the clearest photo as it was taken into the sun.
The only real downside was that the one ride I did go on - the Rapids; broke down while we were on it and everyone had to be "evacuated"! Our little boat was the last one to be evacuated and we ended up sitting out in the baking sun for an hour - I have the white lines where my sunnies were and the bright red nose to testify to it - despite the sunscreen we'd applied. Still we got some fast-track tickets to use on other rides because of this which meant that the kids were able to beat some of the really long queues later on.
The Colossus Roller Coaster has 10 loops. Hubby and Charlie really enjoyed this one especially as the fast-track tickets meant they didn't have to queue for 75 minutes!!!!
Three smiley people on the whizzing
Hubby went solo on Nemesis
The Slammer and Zodiac rides
Friday, July 14, 2006
There's a new Card Template Challenge for anyone who'd like to have a try - I'd love to know if you have a go with this one so please don't forget to drop in here and tell me.
I've done a few cards using it already - I thought you might like a look.
Apart from making cards, I also dabble in jewellery making. I usually forget to take photos but here are a couple of things I've done recently they are all made using Swarovski crystals and silver beads and findings.
I've added a counter to my blog (thanks Jane) which shows where visitors are coming from, it's really interesting to see the countries represented and I'd really like for you to leave a message letting me know who you are, how you came across my blog and where you're located - so please, if you pop in let me know!
Met up with Clare for coffee and lunch at one of the Garden Centres not too far away from here which has the added attraction of a Craft Central Craftshop within...
We both managed to spend a bit of cash which is always a fun way to spend an hour, plus enjoyed a good old gossip over cappuccino and a sandwich and a little browse among the non-crafty stuff too. I still find it so amazing to have made so many friends via a craft forum, and am so lucky in that several of us live near enough for us to meet up regularly just for a coffee or lunch.
I was naughty and ordered a lovely load of 12x12 paper from www.paperarts.com the other day and that yesterday, they have a big selection of papers, worth a look if you need a bit of Retail Therapy of the paper kind. Are you listening Lythan?
The horsey one is earmarked for some sort of project for niece Issy's Christmas present - not ddecided what yet though. I thought I'd put it in the centre especially for Lucy to see :)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
We put quite a lot of things up there then Hubby decided that my idea of getting some shelving up there was actually quite a good one after all, so off we went to Argos to buy some. We've chucked another load of stuff out, sorted other stuff into different boxes and got most of it put away now. Not the most exciting weekend, but it's quite satisfying to get it done. Unfortunately in the way these things work, clearing the room leads us to the next task - which is decorating!
The fireplace in there has been closed over at some point and we're toying with the idea of opening it up again - not for a fire, but just because it will look nicer and give a bit of extra space for some shelves or a little table. Thinking aobut doing that gives us some prevarication time if nothing else ;-)
I bought a wheelbarrow on Sunday. How exciting is that then? This takes away another excuse. This time the "I can't move all that soil and flatten the slope at the back of the garden if I don't have a wheelboarrow" excuse. Oh dear!
In between all that I watched the Wimbledon Men's Final on the pc while making a box for a Golden Wedding Anniversary card I have on order.
50 years of marriage is an amazing acheivement eh?
Our 13th anniversary is on the 31st of this month and I'm still trying to get my head around where the last 13 years have gone. It seems to have flown past, but then in that time we've been all the way round the world, visited many other countries, I've stopped teaching, Hubby's had loads of contracts in the City, Peterborough and Cambridge, we've had several cars, including a ferrari, we've sold our flat, bought a house, and now just bought another one, plus another one that we rent out, we've acquired 5 more nephews and 1 more niece to add to the neice and nephew who were at our wedding, and sadly my lovely, wonderful father and more recently my dear mum have both died. Life has a knack of giving with one hand and taking with the other.
I'll add photos of the card and box later - I'd love to hear what you think.
Going back to the Art of Prevarication, yesterday I spent ages cutting down and sticking 2 pizza boxes together to make a storage module (posh eh? ;-) ) for my ever increasing stash of 12x12 paper. Then I covered it all with some plain white paper and decorated the front of it with some scraps of Basic Grey's "Sublime" set that I'd kept "because they'll come in useful one day" - I'm far too mean to cover it all over when I'll only see the front once it's on the shelf!
Friday, July 07, 2006
My first thought was "Thank God Hubby doesn't work in the City anymore"
Then I thought "Carol's going to Liverpool Street for a course today......." I looked at my watch and thought that she'd probably be there and safe by now, but I decided to text her anyway.
Then I thought of Sue's partner, I knew he worked shifts and hoped he was on the one that meant he'd be safe at home. Sue wasn't around on msn, I sat for a minute not knowing whether to call her or not, in the end I decided that if she was at the nursery, chances were she hadn't heard anything and would prefer to know what was going on. So I rang her - I'll never forget making that call, how do you break news like that to someone? You can feel the fear that you've caused. But at least she was able to contact him and know that he was still safely in his office.
Between my call to her and her getting back to me to say he was safe I had a call that brought both immense shock and massive relief. Carol had been caught up in the explosion on the tube. She had just got out of the tunnel safe and unhurt but had been so close to the explosion that she and her work colleague had seen more destruction and pain than anyone should have to witness. I heard the confusion, the pain and the horror of what she'd seen in her voice.
Two people made a rare journey from Oxford to London to attend a day course and from that moment their lives were changed in ways most of us will never know - just because they were on a tube train on the morning of 7th July 2005.
Carol, You've been so brave over this last year, learning to cope with your experiences and fighting against letting them damage you further. I have the utmost admiration for the way you've dealt with all of this. My thoughts are with you today.
So many individuals with hate in their hearts, who use all sorts of excuses - and I believe they are excuses - to terrorise and make their fellow men suffer. They seem to revel in other people's pain, to want nothing more than to destroy our inherent faith in the basic kindness, goodness and love that lies in the hearts of the rest of us. We can't let them win.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Anyway, it'll be good to meet Sue, and if Patrick's has their yummy Apple Granny in the cakes cabinet then I'll be very very tempted....
I've sorted out my new dies so Sue can have a look at what I've been acquiring lately - it wasn't till I went through the boxes to pick them out (and find the duplicate I bought by mistake which I've promised to Sue) that I realised just how many I've bought recently - I blame it on the CBC forum for letting me know about the bosskutz and the Ellison Thin cuts that I can use either in my QK or in my Sidekick. Just as well really as the recent QK releases have been seriously dull and disappointing. Hasn't stopped me placing an order with Scrapbook Express for a couple more - my excuse is I need them as I'm going to have a go at my first scrapbook. There, it's out in the big wide blogworld so you can all feel free to nag me about it till I actually get started. More on that project later I'm sure.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
But mostly on the Just, because
The Unjust steals the Just's umbrella
- Ogden Nash
Today the rain came. We had the thunder yesterday, but no rain worth speaking of. But wow have we had rain this afternoon!!!!! You could almost see the grass (what's left of it) and the plants jumping up to meet it. Hasn't cleared the air though - it's still hot and clammy.
Reading through Lythan's "aaaahhh songs" list reminded me of some more that should have been on mine - how could I forget Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World"?
And di you ever watch that TV series "McCallum"? It starred John Hannah as a brooding pathologist who rode a motorbike. Well the theme music for that was "Cry Me a River" and is just fantastic. I think Julie London was the original singer but Alsion Moyet also made a cover version - fantastic song.
Recently they repeated the series on one of the digi channels, we were soooo disappointed and cross when they didn't use the "right" music.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Is it too hot to blog?
Two of my challenges are still outstanding;
1. I need to hear which songs make you go aaaahhhhh (see Friday Waffle)
2. this is the current template challenge designed by Kate;
I've added the cards I've made so far using this template in a slide show