Monday, 31 May 2010

How Do You Read Yours?

I've noticed that the number of blogs that I read regularly has increased to over 40. Now, obviously, not everyone posts everyday, but I do endeavour to read them all at some point during the week and comment where appropriate. Some of the blogs I follow are the 'professionals' ~ Shimelle, Ali, Lizzy, Stephanie; some I know in real life, either because I'm related to them, or because I've met them at scrapping retreats; most I've 'picked up' because they've been on the same online scrapbooking classes as me ~ Mel, Amy, Deb, Sian & Robyn, to name just a few; some are brilliantly quirky; some are brilliantly written and some are just so brilliantly creative that words fail me. (Image found here.)
My own number of blog followers is slowly creeping up, 90 at the last count, and this constantly amazes me. I began my blog so that my mum and sister could see what we, the London-based branch of the family, were up to each day; never did I imagine that I would gain readers who seem to appreciate my efforts and offer support, humour and copious amounts of talent in return. But there are two things that puzzle me: 1) I have a few ladies who regularly leave me positive and encouraging comments, yet they don't openly 'follow' my blog. And that makes me wonder why that is? 2) I have a number of 'followers' who have never, ever, left a comment and I also wonder why that is? How did they come across my blog in the first place? I 'follow' the blogs I like so that I can easily find them again, and I've always presumed that is what others do.
So, what I am actually trying to ask you, dear reader, is how do you manage your blog reading? And do you have any recommendations for you-really-should-read-this type blogs? (Such as this one, discovered by me this morning.)

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~ Yet more filming on our local streets ~

Sunday, 30 May 2010

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~ Where did she go? ~

Birthday Review

There was no great plan in place yesterday for celebrating my birthday. Instead, we invited my BF and her family and our Chelsea Pensioner friend over for the afternoon and evening. Not too many photos were taken, mainly because we were just enjoying the company of each other. However, here's a wee taster of my day. A beautiful home-made necklace from my GodDaughter.Our lovely Chelsea Pensioner friend.
DS having fun with "Grandad P".Boy in Scarlet.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

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~ My birthday present from DH and DS ~
Remember here, when I promised to reveal all? Well, here, in all their glory, are my lovely Ugg Australia toe-sandals (I think the Aussies call them thongs, but as the Brits know thongs as something else, I'll stop there ...). You might like to know that I painted my toe-nails especially for the photo!I haven't quite worked out how I can be 42, though! Wasn't I 21 just the other day?

Friday, 28 May 2010

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~ God is in the detail: spotted atop the scaffolding around a neighbour's house ~

A Thank You Card For Mel

I sent Mel a thank you card earlier this week; she organised such a brilliant blog hop last weekend! Anyway, she has received it and very kindly said she loves it. Card making still scares me!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

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~ Housework ~
When I married DH, I was fortunate enough to inherit a cleaning lady. However, for a number of reasons, she hasn't been for 3 weeks and isn't coming again until at least the middle of June. There was nothing for it, except to set to and just get it done.

I Blame Amy

Has anyone seen the latest post on Shimelle's blog? When I read it last night, I thought, "Am I brave enough to email her?" I've been thrilled by the response to my take on the All About Me blog hop ~ would it be good enough for Shimelle? And then this morning, I found this from Amy in my email InBox: "My main reason for the email is .... you absolutely MUST read Shimelle's post today - I suppose you may have already, but, your project for the blog hop on the weekend is one of the best minis I've ever seen and I was going to say at the time I hope you submit it somewhere - well, now's your chance! If you want to of course :-) I'm not a submitter, for the most part nothing I do is original and Aussie mags are not my style. Anyway, food for thought, as they say."So, you know what? I was brave and sent that email to Shimelle. Thank you, Amy.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

ANZAC Biscuits

When my friend dropped her daughter off with me yesterday, she brought me half a dozen homemade ANZAC biscuits. She makes them for her church, because apparently they last a reasonable length of time ... but not in this house! I've tasted them before, because our Aussie Gap students used to make them ~ that was back in my other life.
Ingredients:
85g porridge oats
85g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter , plus extra butter for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method:
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Amy ~ what do you reckon, is this the correct recipe?

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~ Visit to the Hygienist ~
Half an hour later and £40 lighter, I needed an emergency pit-stop at Starbucks for a tall vanilla latte and a full-on blueberry muffin; non of that skinny nonsense for yours truly!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Creativity Boot Camp: More Info

Maegan at Creativity Boot Camp has posted a whole lot of FAQs today, ready for her project beginning in early June. I see that Mel is going to join me in this *free* venture; I hope you will, too.
However, I have set myself a pre-project challenge ... I have to finish all my UFOs (UnFinished Objects)!
And, as it turns out, there are only 2 UFOs outstanding: The last page, journaling and binding of DH's sailing album, which I created during Shimelle's Something From {Almost} Nothing Class, and 4.5 days worth of journaling from Ali Edwards' Week In The Life project. I can get both of those finished by 6 June, can't I?

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~ House guest ~
This little beauty comes and spends one afternoon a month with me and DS, so that her mummy can help out at her big sister's nursery school. She's never any trouble ~ if only all house guests were like that!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Blog Hop GiveAway Winner

Bearing in mind the previous post, rather spookily, Deb just came up as the winner of my Blog Hop GiveAway!
Congratulations, Deb! We appear to be starting something of a mutual appreciation society!

Lucky Me!

I've been lucky enough to win one of Deb's giveaways today, and it's really made my day!

(Image taken from Deb's blog)
DH has left for a week-long overseas business trip and I'm afraid to say that we weren't the best of friends when we parted company. And now, of course, I feel totally guilty, in case anything happens. Ho, hum.

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Sunday, 23 May 2010

Creativity Boot Camp

I came across Creativity Boot Camp on Sonja's blog; you can check out the details here. It's free! I think I'm tempted to join in; anyone care to hold my hand?

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~ It's official: I'm in a skirt, so Summer must be on the way ~

Saturday, 22 May 2010

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~ Beautiful day ~

The 'All About Me' International Blog Hop

Good morning and welcome to the 'All About Me' International Blog Hop! We have been brilliantly organised by Mel of I Speak Melsh and, if you'd like to see the full list of party attendees, then please check out her blog. If you started following the links at Mel's place, then you'll have come to me via Liz (who just happens to be my sister) at Life At The Gables. The kitchen is open for breakfast, so place an order and feel free to browse my project while you wait. (I already know that Mel would prefer dry toast and that Amy would prefer a little something stronger than tea, given that it is 4pm Saturday afternoon for her right now.)

The theme for our party was 'All About Me', with the extra fun element of using a tin, if possible. (This whole idea originally came from a free class run by Stacy Julian at Big Picture Scrapbooking.) I found an empty note card tin on my shelf and knew it would be perfect for this project. I also knew, early on, that my 'All About Me' wasn't going to be all about me at all.
My 'All About Me' refers to my toddler son and I had the perfect range of patterned paper in my stash: October Afternoon's Night Light range.These cute stick men were cut on my Cricut using the Beyond Birthdays cartridge. Fun, aren't they?I lined the tin with green tissue paper and used green ink and green thread in order to keep the colour scheme together. The basic mini-book is concertina in style, with 6 folds, which gave me 12 'pages' to use.I chose 6 of my favourite child-related sayings and typed them out in the child-friendly 2Peas font. I stitched each saying on to a piece of patterned paper and added a stick man. All the photos were printed out in black and white, and each photo had a tag secured to it. I used the following key words: love, learn, smile, cry, discover and laugh.
Before I hand you over to Elizabeth at Hootings Of An Owl for the next leg of our blog hop party, I'd like to offer you, the party guests, the opportunity to win a party favour, which you can see below. On offer is a mini album kit, which consists of 1 paper album, 14 double-sided sheets, 12 double-sided photo mats, 1 sheet of clear title stickers, 1 sheet of epoxy stickers, 1 sheet of die-cut shapes and 1 mailing envelope. The paper range is called Rebel, which I think would be perfect for a teenage boy, a tomboy girl or a biker husband! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave me a comment to say you stopped by. I'll do a random drawing on Monday at 2pm (3pm GMT). Thank you so much for stopping by; I hope you had fun.
And now over to Elizabeth ...

Friday, 21 May 2010

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~ Running repairs ~

Thursday, 20 May 2010

I Have A Question ...

Mel, that busy bee at I Speak Melsh, has set me a challenge. For some strange reason, she would like to know more about me and has set 10 questions for me to answer.

(A self-portrait of me: because I like a post to have a photo)

1. Where in the world did you spend your most memorable day ever, and what did you do? I've been giving this some serious thought and I've come to the conclusion that, my wedding day and the birth of DS notwithstanding, it was when I met my Australian friend for the first time. We had been involved in each other's lives for more than 30 years (our mums were pen-friends), but did not actually meet until Christmas Eve, 2005 in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia (if you look on a map of Victoria, it's on the left hand end of the Great Ocean Road, 4 hours from Melbourne on the Prince's Highway, 8 hours on the GOR). She turned out to be kind, fun, generous in spirit and absolutely thrilled to finally meet me, which was a little embarrassing! Her greatest claim to fame is that she introduced me to scrapbooking, and for that I'll be forever grateful.

2. What is your favourite time of year, and why? This one is easy ~ early Spring, when the mornings are crisp and cold, there's a promise of blue sky and watery sunshine and the cherry blossom is making its presence felt.

3. What is your favourite time of day, and why? Currently this is bedtime, anywhere between 10-11pm. If I'm lucky, I'll manage a page or two of my latest book before drifting off to the sounds of the Arts program on BBC Radio 2 or something quirky on BBC Radio 4.

4. What food would you find it very hard to do without? Fish & chips from the Chippy, real comfort food and my only real craving when I was pregnant.

5. What colour makes you feel happiest? Pink, without a doubt. I wear it a lot, but am not a particularly girly-girl.

6. What's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to you? (Or the most recent nice thing?) "Ain't no sunshine when you're gone", and I'm not telling you anymore than that!

7. What's the nicest thing you've ever said to anyone else? (Or the most recent nice thing?) I love you.

8. Who would be guest of honour at your dream dinner party? Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister for most of the Second World War. A lion of a man. He wasn't perfect (show me a man who is), but he led by example and sustained Great Britain and the British people through the long years of darkness, loss and fear.

9. What's your favourite bird? The Robin. Small and delicate, but with a heart of oak.

10. What word or phrase do you find yourself over-using? Take your pick from: No! Stop banging! Put that down!

I believe that I'm now supposed to pass this on, but given that most of my readers will probably have already seen a variation on this theme, I'm opting for the easy route and nominating no-one. Please feel free to answer these questions yourself, post them on your blog and leave me a link so that I can have a nose.

Aliums: In Slow Motion

This is the first year that I have attempted to grow Aliums from bulbs ~ I think that they are quite amazing, not to mention beautiful, and a perfect example of Nature at her best. This sequence of photos is part of a set that I began on 6 May. Each shot was taken round about 4-4.30pm, using the double Macro setting.
6 May
8 May
10 May
12 May
14 May
17 May
20 May







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~ Dandelion clock ~

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Did Someone Mention A Party?

Did you hear mention of a party here in Blogland? That something might be happening on Saturday? You did? Jolly good!
There will be plenty of things to look at, plenty to ooh and coo over and even the opportunity to learn a few things about the party-goers, or not, as the case may be. So don't forget to make a note in your diary ~ the party starts early Saturday morning, UK time. But, don't worry, I'll have the kettle on and there will even be hot, buttered toast.


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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Quotation: Children

~ Here's to the child and all he has to teach us ~
~ Old Irish saying.
(Photo: DS today, after a lovely time playing in the garden with a bucket and spade. I know I've used this quotation before, but it is one of my favourites, now that I am the mother of a toddler.)

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~ More will be revealed on 29 May ~

Monday, 17 May 2010

Eight Over Eight

So, Mel is responsible for this post. She suggested that you look in the area on your PC where you keep your photos and select the 8th folder. Open up that folder and select the 8th photo. Post what you see. Go on, have a go, you know you want to.
The beautiful Chrysler building in New York City ~ my favourite. The date is 4 September 2006. I am 5 months pregnant and I have taken my mum for a 3-night stay. I used DH's Virgin air miles to buy our Premium Economy seats. It was my mum's first ever visit to the USA and she loved it. In particular, she loved New Yorkers (no-one was rude to us) and eating breakfast in Grand Central Station. Mum plans to go again for her 70th birthday in 2013 and wants me and my sister to go with her. Oh, okay, if I must!