Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Recklessly in January I threw the old tree out into the garden…I loved that tree, I would spend all day decorating it, and then tinker with it all through December.

Five years with Alex and Minty had taken it’s toll and the final bell rang on December 19th last year when Minty; in her haste to jump onto the window-sill to bark at whichever audacious person dared to walk past, simply jumped through the tree and snapped a crucial branch off.

Minty 2010

Hmm, here she is plotting it’s quite literal downfall on the day I put it up last year.

So, out it went in January with fervent plans to put aside enough pennies to afford another one.

No, that didn’t happen and so sadly I couldn’t justify the cost of the one I wanted from the garden centre (£120!)

Instead opted for a cheaper one. Bah humbug.

Anyway, here it is, i’ve gussied up the photo to make it look more than it is and ready for printing for my christmas journal.

Yes, irony at Christmas is quite misplaced, but still, it’s there.

The inferior Christmas Tree 2011

Father Christmas’ expression says it all I think.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Owl and The Pussycat and Other Animals.


Is there anything cuter than infants in a nativity? No, not really if you are the mother of an infant. I will never forget Louis’ first nativity, everyone said, “you’ll cry” and I’m thinking, ‘well no, I don’t think so, I-you know-see him every day’.

Yes of course I started before they even entered the hall Surprised smile

It has been the same ever since. I have looked forward to this week with Louis’ concert at the church on wednesday evening and Ali’s nativity play at school on thursday.

It was Louis’ first secondary school christmas concert and {heartbreak} Ali’s last nativity.

I won’t blog the kids but here is one of Mum and Ali waiting.



It was absolutely amazing, the bands, the glee club, the GCSE students, Louis’ year 7 choir, the soloists. Just fab all of it. Great to see such talent.

And, yes, even though he is no longer an infant in a nativity, I was tearing up as soon as the concert started. When they all sang Coldplay’s Fix You at the end, I was just mush.

Ali was up next on thursday. It started off quite sadly as Mrs Thompson the head retired on friday and this was her last play to introduce.

The take on the nativity this year was from the animals point of view Smile


Ali was the Owl, he had the trickiest words to say and he also obviously remembered all of it well as he was helping to prompt the others. I so wish I could show you the photos of them all, there was a cockerel, a cat, cows, sheep, a mouse and some very fancy camels! Of course the supporting cast of angels, shepherds, and Mary and Joseph were there as well.

He did so well, I was so proud of him.

Update: Children’s behaviour much, much better. They are not angels but I don’t expect them to be. I am worried about this week as they are now on holiday but hopefully it will be ok. Ali told me yesterday that he had been talking to Louis and they had decided to share nicely and that I would be seeing new lives…..lets hope.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Welcome to the last Storytelling Sunday of 2011. Thanks so much to Sian for hosting this, I was quite late to the loveliness but I have so enjoyed joining in.

A few things have collided this week which has resulted in me finding a story…it’s almost a story in itself. I could not envisage any story at all at the beginning of this week as Sian first reminded us so I am quite glad how it has all come together.

The magazine came first, I spent a lovely half-hour in Costa with a hot chocolate a week-ago Friday after I tracked down a copy of Scrap365 (Sian is contributing). The first article I was drawn to was the cover layout and so I was inspired to make a layout which used the ideas of designer Mahlin Wiggur.

Then on Monday my new stash arrived (after having been on a stash diet for two months) so I was excited and inspired by the new papers from BG (Piccadilly). They helped germinate the idea along with the magazine article.


On Friday evening I took a look at the weekly challenge on UKScrappers which inspired the journaling.

I scrapped the layout this evening and as I started to blog the layout I realised that it would make a story for Storytelling Sunday.

I love it when a plan comes together……..actually thinking about it this happened last month that after I had blogged my story, I thought of a layout that would have worked so I am glad it has worked this way round this time.

Ok, so, the story (within the story-are you still with me?)

My middle name is Patricia, my namesake is Patricia Bowles, my Auntie Pat. She is lovely and talented and very special to me and therefore I am honoured to have her name. She is my Mum’s older sister and Mum wanted to name me after her as she was such a help to Mum when I was born.



Mum and Dad lived on Lundy. It is a small island in the Bristol Channel and there are no medical facilities – well I imagine there is a first aider – but no doctor, surgery and certainly no maternity ward, so when Mum was pregnant with me she had to leave and return to the mainland about 6 weeks before my birth and stay there for 6 weeks after I arrived.

My A. Pat and her family, her husband the brilliant, smart, terribly teasing U. Brian and their three cracking children Nick, David & Anne-Marie lived in the most fantastical big house in Station Road, Okehampton with my beloved Granny having her own rooms as well. So I got to live there for a few weeks too, gawd I loved that house.

A. Pat used to take in visitors (as they were called, I never heard them referred to as guests, clients, customers etc it was a family home that had vistors), yes it was that big. I remember excitedly, sleepily coming downstairs when I stayed as an older child and helping her to fill the (homemade) jam pots, butter pots and take the toast racks through, tummy grumbling for my turn. 


I could never decide whether to do this or find a looked-up-to cousin to go out with them on their paper-round, they of course encouraged this and would argue over who was going to get me because I used to deliver the difficult papers, when I say difficult I don’t mean The Daily Mail, I mean they were up lots of steps, or along a long winding path. At the time I thought they were trusting me to do the difficult stuff lol. Of course they were just getting me to do the difficult stuff.

Back at the hearth and dining room we never dressed up in waitressy gear but the visitors were served with kindness, calmness and quietness and by gum it was always top notch food in Denby crockery (My Mum has some of it as A. Pat gave it out when they moved on – I guess she was fairly fed up of looking at it. We collect the Jet range but we love our greeny-blue soup bowls, i’ve a photo somewhere

IMG_0139, yes there it is!),

anyhoo, despite having the visitors and three children of her own she looked after Mum and I so well. I came a couple of days early; Dad had left the island, as I was due, but he didn’t make it to Okehampton in time. So A. Pat held Mum’s hand all through labour and my birth.


She has been there for me for all the major and minor events of my life with a careful word and thought. One of my most treasured possessions is my patchwork quilt that she handmade for me, we went together to the material shop in Tavistock when I was about 20 to choose the patterned material and I was given the quilt on my wedding day aged 26. Sometimes I do wonder if I found a husband just to get my hands on that quilt.

I love My A. Pat and I love that I am named after her.


I also love that the challenges this week have nailed these memories down in words and pictures, which is what we are all about with this scrapbooking thang.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Advent Boxes

I wanted to make something more permanent (and handmade) for the children to have for advent, however time ran away from me last year – how I begrudged buying choc mass produced calendars for them last year.

Anyway I have done it this year, the boxes were £1.75 and I have done all the chocs for £2 so there was enough to buy some little toys and geegaws to go in them.

They are only filled if child is good….Ali finally gets his second one tomorrow!


Mum’s (BG Jovial), Lauren was in charge of some set-aside pocket money on wednesday when we all went to town and Mum had some cracking knee length pink and brown socks with owls on them today Smile


Mine (Prima North Country) The flowers have bling on them now. I was the happy recipient of a cream material bracelet with a turquoise stone hanging from it today Smile


Lauren’s (BG Jovial) Bright greeny-turquoise nail varnish Smile


Louis’ (Echo Park – Everybody Loves Christmas) Jumping Beans


Ali’s (BG Jovial) Generally empty, although he did succeed the first day and got a dinosaur encased in a clay shell which he had to chip away (with included tools) he and Lauren had a very happy 20 minutes before school and an hour after school freeing it – and creating a dust storm!!

I’ve modpodged the papers down on the top, before we put them away I will do it to all of the embellies as well and possibly add paper to the box surround, but more likely just varnish.

Let’s hope they do the job and encourage the good.

Ali was getting a bit bored earlier, I was thinking it was time for bed, he was thinking that it was time for another game. I mentioned that maybe he should quit whilst ahead as he currently had been so good he would find something in his advent box………asleep in ten minutes. I’m thinking a January box, Febru……..

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Well it has been busy around here trying out different things to get this family back on the straight and narrow Smile I would just like to thank everyone that has been kind enough to leave a comment. I know how hard that is to do when you don’t really ‘know’ me. All of the comments have helped individually and as a whole have helped immensely. I don’t want to go on again but I just wanted to say that I think on reflection I had just got away from my default parenting position and we had all got in a bad place as a result. So ‘my bad’ as the kids say and I am trying to get back to what has always worked and trying to deal with the guilt and aftermath without letting it overwhelm me as that surely won’t help!


I am going to try and draw a line under it and enjoy the season as much as I can. So as such I will be back tomorrow with the advent boxes I have altered and hopefully some completed journal pages.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas Garland

The beautiful garland by Corinne Jones is over at Shimelle’s Christmas online crop and our challenge was to make a garland of our own. I finished the start of my garland, I want to add to it over the next couple of weeks and then hang it over the fireplace.

Apologies for the poor photo.


MME Lost & Found Christmas and my favourite BG Jovial Smile

Card Challenge #3

Melissa Mann set this challenge over at Shimelle’s Christmas online crop.


I have learned from this that I am not nimble enough for weaving very much at all. I like the result. I may add a central embellishment for a focal point, not sure.

Christmas Tag Challenge

Mindy Miller set this challenge over at Shimelle’s Christmas online crop.


The glittery card did for my sewing machine needle Sad smile

I like it though.

Card Challenge #2

Pam Brown set this challenge at Shimelle’s Christmas online crop.


I’ve too many cards that I would like to make to try the intricate cutting that some of my flower paper would demand. So this suited me much more Smile

More Echo Park paper from last year. I love that stuff.

Card Challenge #1

Leah Farquharson set this challenge at Shimelle’s Christmas online crop.


I made my own rosette with a strip of paper, punched a border on it, spritzed it with shimmer mist to make it sparkly and pliable and then roughly folded it and held it down with the circle embellies. TH banner die for the title. This will be one for someone to hand to as I don’t think it’s going to go in the envelope Smile


omgmyfabnieceis14today….if I say it quickly enough I can cope with it Smile
It seems hardly credible that it is 14 years since I got the call to say she had arrived. I was at sea at the time working and I was fortunate that it was only a couple of days until watch change so I could get home to see her.
She was a gorgeous scrappy little thing, My favourite way to spend the day was taking her out and having her over at our house….now she is here all the time as I am fortunate enough to have her living with me.
She is whip smart, kind, thoughtful, fun, cool and sassy.
Lauren 14 Sepia
“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth”

William W. Purkey.
Go for it Lauren……I’ll be stood right next to you cheering you on.

Oh and those hair extensions look great honey.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Cocoa Tints–Colour Combo Blog Hop

At last I finally finished a colour combo blog hop challenge ahead of time Smile
Picture 2 (4)
I always love the colour combo, but this time especially (thank you talented Amy), I think it lends itself to a pretty pretty project and as my lovely niece Lauren appears to be having her 14th Birthday this weekend then I made her a card/minibook to scrap her own reminder of it. She lives with me so she can use my stash quite easily.
I started with the sheet of Prima Fairy Flora in 6x6, some Thorndon Hall and some stash. I have pretended that the cream is more white (i’ll blame it on my screen resolution) and used white DL envelopes to make a minibook based on the fab tutorial that a very clever and dear friend Susi gave for one of her projects for the Christmas Countdown over at Creative Craft World.
The front cover….
…..and some of the pages.

Thanks Susi Smile
I’m also going to enter it into Shimelle’s pocket challenge as there are lots of pockets for Lauren to slip her tickets and receipts into.
Thank you so much for making it through the hop, i’ve already seen next months colour combo and it is gorgeous.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Ten things on the Tenth

10 things I have done or am doing this week…

1. Making and enjoying Butternut Squash, Sage & Honey Soup.


2. Getting a new boss.

3. Dealing with lots of emotions at work as we have lost our overtime budget and some of my managers are having a hard time with it.

4. Looking forward to the staff Christmas Party on saturday. A little early, but then it will be done. I’m so happy that 71 of our 115 staff have decided to go Smile Yummy Christmas Carvery.

5. Making a further 2 Christmas Cards to add to the pile. They will be done by the 28th November. They will, they will, they will.

6. Dreading but enjoying a trip to Newbury Racecourse the happened yesterday to celebrate the success of our apprentices successfully passing their course.



Well done Dom & James Star so proud of them, and thank you Dom for driving.

7. Helped Ali, my youngest, to write his first book Rolling on the floor laughing We are on chapter 3 already. He cracks me up, I have strict instructions to write another sentence before he gets home.

8. Despaired of said youngest when he got into trouble for fighting yesterday. They give with one hand and take away with the other.

9. Breathed a huge sigh of relief when the garage said that it wasn’t the end of the road for my beloved ancient car and actually was much, much cheaper than I feared. Christmas is still on Smile

10. Proudly watching Ali take part in his first Remembrance Day Parade as part of his Beaver Pack. I get choked up watching the Parade anyway as the scale of the loss of life since 1914 is is too enormous to comprehend and I value deeply that we still remember them in such a way. This year will be even worse I think.

Sometimes when you think about your week there is much more happening than it appears at first glance. It is work heavy as well which is often the way with my job at this time of year. As I work in retail I spend November helping the store to prepare for Christmas, then I take the last week of November into the beginning week of December off as holiday and prepare home for Christmas and then hopefully I can enjoy the season. Especially since I have found Journal Your Christmas last year. For more ‘10 things on the 10th’ posts and a chance to find out more about JYC please head on over here to Shimelle’s lovely blog.