Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Monday, 15 August 2011

Shimelle's Scrapbooking Weekend

I managed to dip in and out of the challenges Shimelle set at the weekend.

The Stickery Challenge, you saw earlier.

The Add to the Story Challenge features a LO from my "minimal" days so plenty of space to add some journalling.

Half Page Challenge is a LO about my trip to NY Botanical Garden.

Chop Your Paper challenge gave me "permission" to cut and use a lot of patterned papers.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Cape Cod Adventure

After New York, A decided to take a couple of days off work so we can have a long weekend together (aaahh). We looked at a number of options before he had the inspired idea of going whale watching off Cape Cod.

We picked up a car and headed north. We made Woodbury Common our first stop. I picked up a new handbag from Coach...my summer handbag because it is white. And couldn't resist a 7 jeans, in petite fit...made just for me! Woodbury Common is fantastic but not as good as Sawgrass Mills near Miami.

We stayed at this Victorian B&B in Sandwich. Very cute, with rickety floorboards and wonky walls.

Our whale watch was with Dolphin Fleet who operates out of Provincetown...right at the end of that tip of Cape Cod. Didn't realise this but it is still 60 or so miles from Sandwich so we set off early.

I handed the camera to A because his height enabled him to shoot over everyone up front. And we were so fortunate to see over ten whales. This whale was waving her fins about

and a tail...

from which I made this layout.

I have used Truprint collage again, copied the whale and flags from Dolphin Fleet's leaflet, drew the lighthouse based on one on a crisp packet that I saved and used a lot of broad nib markers to colour in.

This layout is inspired by Shimelle's Stickery Challenge.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Newmarket Race Night

This is the layout from the Newmarket Nights we went to a couple of weeks ago. I found a Crate paper label, labelled "Field Notes" which prompted me to go with the field notes style.

This layout was done for a challenge at Creative Craft World.
Besides the 2 photos positioning, I departed a good deal from this page map. I have used a lot of stamping, my fingers are truly Distressed.

My field notes are titled Horse Racing (beautiful beast), Tote Betting(lost all races), Fish & Chips(oily, argh), Dressing Up(we were not) and The Wanted (should have gone to see Tom Jones instead).

The photos were printed collage style by Truprint. Have you tried this option ? It does not cost any more that regular prints so when I last ordered my prints, I made a collage for each event. I am not sure I will use them all but they were cheap.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

10 for the Tenth


one..I had a lie in.
two...the sun is shining but not too much.
three...the boys are playing, together, with good humour.
four...my fingers are truly distressed from doing a lot of stamping.
five...my David Austin's William Shakespeare roses are unashamedly beautiful
six...the spring bulbs are arriving in shops
seven...J is cooking Chicken Pie and Chocolate Mousse for dinner.
eight...I wondered if I will survive the 3 hours kayaking tour in Copenhagen.
nine...I am reflecting on how things have gone the last few weeks and yet,
ten...I still have school shoes to buy and my MOT to arrange

H Cooked Dinner

Last night H cooked dinner. He shopped at Tesco and the local green grocer for ingredients. He made Salmon bake with some salad and Banoffee pie from Jamie's 30 minutes meal. Asparagus is out of season so he used an orange pepper instead. I think this meal came in under £10. We used a tray of value Salmon from Tesco and the veg man donated some tomatoes and chili. We also used some home grown salad.
They were both delicious. The boys talked dreamily of having a second round of Banoffee pie at lunch time.
H reckoned Jamie had his book very well laid out and the instructions were easy to follow but how did Jamie Oliver make chocolate curls for the Banoffee ? In 30 minutes ?
We made the pastry case ourselves so we ended spending an hour on this menu. And because the pastry is hot out of the oven, the fillings ended up being too runny but we live and learn.
It is J's turn tonight. Is it dinner time yet ?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Walking the West Highland Way

Early in the holidays, J went on an expedition with school. They walked 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William on the West Highland Way, over a period of 10 days.

His journey started at Cambridge train station where a group of 25 boys caught a train to Glasgow via Birmingham, I think, taking something like 6 hours. I sent him off, making him promise to take some photos for me.

He survived but got bitten by midges all over ( should have used the Avon's skin-so-soft I sent him with). Despite this, he seemed to have enjoyed himself. But, there is a but, he did state, "I am never going on an expedition again!".

He also took a lot of photos for me so Yay, here are a couple of LOs. In the first one, he is just setting off from home, so I grabbed him for a couple of photos.

These are some photos he took and the information he divulged. He doesn't talk much so to call this LO Snippets from Camp, is very appropriate.

Amongst the things he told us was how his patrol served up pot noodles for cooking competition night which was rejected in disgust by the leader, the waves in Scotland were THIS (hands above his head) high though we are unconvinced, the camp sites were positively luxorious with hot showers and how they would spend time in the adjoining hotels' toilet to warm up.

I drew and made the tent out of BG Out of Print papers though my ropes and ties are woefully inadequate for Scottish wind, I am sure.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Storytelling Sunday - An outstanding year

Nearly three years ago, things went very wrong at school for J. He went up to a good ( allegedly!) old school. He arrived in year 7 with a top academic scholarship so we know we didn't have to worry on that front. How wrong we were! It was an old school but still trading on old reputation, unfortunately.

The root of the problem was a family, or perhaps the remove-the-opposition-at-all- cost Competitive Mum and her son Precious.

Precious came from a different area and thus diffrent primary school. We knew of them from competing in county chess competition. We took chess competition as something that J did, some he won, quite a few he loss. But at county level, he was champion. At old school, Competitive Mum confessed that they were always looking for ways to eliminate J. Please! Precious wasn't even runner up!

At the beginning of year 8, Competitive Mum started to put her plan into action, a barrage of, J took Precious' school shoes and hid it, J threw banana at Precious, J was nasty to boy A, J said something to B...all carefully documented and emailed to the demon house master. We paid for new shoes and dry cleaning. Though J's blazer was similarly smeared in banana, J chose to keep his side of the story to himself.

We believed that the school would be capable of even-handedly handling a group of 12 year old boys. We also believed that boys need to learn to resolve some of their differences themselves. We were wrong. This school do not do even handed or fair. I didn't think J was completely guilt free in all these episodes, six of one and half a dozen of the other, sprang to mind. Old school appeared to have a soft spot for butter-would-not-melt Precious.

We were summoned to the house master, emails went back and forth, J was sent up to the head master. "This can't go on," so I searched for another school. At the end of Year 8, we moved to Cambridge. We appreciated that you might get the same kind of family again at new school but how the school handled these situations is key. I am glad we did.

Whilst the episodes above prompted the move, we were not entirely happy with the schooling. A maths teacher told us, eyes refusing to meet ours,"Even though he came top of the set, I gave him a C because he didn't do any of the extended work I left at the back of the class." We would have let it slide and hope J would be more motivated later.

He is a different boy, thriving at a school with inspiring teachers and inspiring students to boot. This is a layout I have done to celebrate his achievements.

I wrote, "The jury is still out on that hair but undisputed is how well you've done this year. You have even taken the time to write out your scores for me so that I will hear it first. Your form prize on Speech day was richly deserved".

Are you storytelling with Sian ? If not, why not ? You will find more great stories at her blog.

An Exploration of Colours

The prompt this week from Shimelle's Explore class was about colours and how we use it in our work. Sure, she also gave us permission to pretend we were comic book super heroes for a day. What colour costume should I make ? What should I call myself, conquering the laundry mountain ? Super mum ?

My favourite colours are blue, which I use both in my pages and I wear in copious quantity; red which I scrap with and used to wear a lot when I was younger; yellow which I work with happily and yet never wore. I love bright colours.

On my pages, I like a lot of contrasting colours. I don't really work with what goes rather more what clashes. This week I decided to try something different.

Here I have a photo of H in school uniform wearing black blazer, purple tie and white shirt. I don't like purple and it is unfortunate that the boys' school colour is purple. So I have used these colours and very small amount of patterned papers. I stamped some circles, added some purple watercolour with a cut out Basic Grey Out of Print in the middle. I even wrote with a purple pen. In my pallette of 8 water colours, purple is the one that is hardly used.

H was asked to represent school in the Time Spelling Bee competition. The school didn't do well overall so the layout doesn't mention results, merely "You might not often be invited to represent school at sports but at spelling you are very good. So proud of you when you replied "I'd love to" when Mr G asked you to be in the spelling bee."

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011

An Event Full year

We were at Cambridge Folk Festival yesterday. It is a very well attended event and for the last two years, when we saw people going to it, often wondered why we didn't have tickets. So this year, well prepared, A bought tickets before they were sold out.

It was fun, the weather was kind and we had a very chill out Sunday. Though the same couldn't be said of the Monday! A has sun burn on his feet whilst H and I are aching all over from sitting down/laying on the picnic blanket. Haven't heard a complaint from J yet, so he might have escaped unharmed.

On Friday we were at Newmarket for horse racing followed by a concert by The Wanted. We enjoyed the races, picking a horse and cheering for it. I picked a horse called Jubilance in the third race. Here they were riding out to the starting line.

And then a hundred yard to the finish line, they were a touch ahead.

But sadly they came second by 3/4 length.

Last half term, we saw RSC's Macbeth at Stratford-upon-Avon. That was an outstanding production but there were at least four bored audience.

In the Easter holidays, we saw Gadget Show Live at the NEC. That was truly in the spirit of the show on tv, so my guys enjoyed it. I would say, I tolerated Suzi!

In February half term, we saw Maurizio Pollini at the Festival Hall. He played 3 of my favourite Schubert's Sonatas. I said to J, "Aren't you impressed ? He is playing three whole sonatas from memory ?" To which he answered,"But mummy, he has been playing them for at least 50 years!" J and I enjoyed the recital whilst H and A dozed off.

At Christmas, we saw English National Ballet's Nutcracker. I think we were all reluctant audience for this one. J asked,"Is this the one with the giant rats?" We didn't know but I don't know how he knew. Probably something he saw in his youth, with school perhaps ?

In September we saw England play Hungary on our first trip to Wembley. That was great, somehow helped by the many goals scored by the home team. In August we saw Jools Holland at Audley End's Picnic Concert. What a beautiful summer's evening.

And the point of me retelling all these ? J asked me, "Why do we have to do all these things ?", to which I replied,"Because you refuse to join in any school trips, I have to enrich your life."

I was prompted by Shimelle's Explore class when she prompted us to make a daily list. I have just extended my day a little LOL.