Wednesday, 7 December 2011

christmas decorations

Good morning everyone.

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I gave in to little MissG's requests to get the Christmas decorations down from the loft last night so our evening was spent going through the various bags and boxes. Some decorations haven't been used for years and I don't know why they go back up into the loft year after year! I think it's time to go to the charity shop.

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I am feeling a bit under the weather (just a cold) so stayed cosy at home this morning. I have just put the finishing touches to our decorations while listening to the wonderfully Christmassy Michael Buble CD - lovely!

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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

nice november news!

Yes, I do also have some nice news to share too!

Little MissG and I enjoyed a lovely day at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate.  She had already been to the show on the Thursday with her school's textile department and she came home telling me how much I would have loved it.  So... on Saturday off we went to Harrogate.  I couldn't believe the size of it - there was stall after stall of all sorts of crafty things.  A joy to the eye, I should say!

The stall holders were really helpful and were happy to share the techniques used in their craft.  I feel inspired to try needle-felting and machine embroidery. 

We bought buttons...

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Decopatch paper...

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Christmas ornaments to decoupage...

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Christmas stars to decoupage...

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A needle felting kit...

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A freindship bracelet kit...

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Little MissG is already wearing her first attempt and is happy with the results.  She'll have to crack on though to get one finished for each of her friends for Christmas!

Have you been watching the Kirsty's Homemade Britain series?  I wasn't so interested in the baking or flower arranging episodes but the one where she joined her local WI to enter three craft pieces based on The Secret Garden book was very inspiring.  I loved the mosaic mirror, silver leaf and key and most of all Kirsty's needle-felted robin.  I think I'll go and get my kit out and have a go....

not so nice november news

Well, what can I say? Not the news I was hoping to share with you. I don't actually know if I should be sharing this with you but my blog is a form of diary and it may help for me to put it in writing. We have had the most devastating news about my Mum and it has shaken us all to the core. 

Mum went see her Doctor at the end of September as she was feeling anxious and had a shortness of breath so she was treated for anxiety. The shortness of breath became so bad that she was taken to hospital and it was discovered that she had fluid on her lung. That was treated and she was released from hospital after a week but was told that the fluid was due to an infection and she had to go back in for a CT scan to see where the infection was coming from. Well, we got the devastating results on 14th November. Her breast cancer (from 5 years ago) has spread to her lung, liver and brain. As you can imagine we are in a state of shock. 

I can't believe it. My lovely Mum. I have been driving up to Carlisle to see her as often as I can and have taken her to the various hospital appointments. She has had radiotherapy on her brain and chest and has numerous tablets to take. The doctor is pleased at how well she is responding to the treatment so far. Apart from feeling very tired she is quite bright and chatty. I love you Mum x.

Meanwhile, on one of my trips to Carlisle my husband phoned to say that the results of a recent blood test have confirmed that he has diabetes. Can you believe it? He has been to see the diabetic nurse this week and has been given dietary advice and a little machine to read his blood three times a day for the next week or so. He is a 'shower, shave, dress and out of the door' sort of guy and can't be doing with all the parping about!

I think while I'm at it I will get it all off my chest here and now and also add that my son (16) has just been for a blood test on Tuesday as he keeps feeling dizzy and faint - results should be back next week. My sister has been diagnosed with PBC (primary biliary cirrhosis) and feels really tired and drained - she needs regular iron infusions. Then her daughter has just had a scan which showed that she has stones in her liver - she'll need an op to remove them.

We have been a relatively healthy family until now and for it all to be diagnosed over the last couple of weeks is just too much!

Monday, 31 October 2011

end of october

The last week of October was our half term school holiday.  We didn't go away this time but had some lovely days out and about.

The weather was wonderfully autumnal.

We had a windy walk around Williamson Park in Lancaster.

with all it's pathways


and flowers



 and mosaics



and the Butterfly House

and the Williamson Memorial

Monday, 24 October 2011

summer hols

Well no foreign climes for us this summer. We spent a wonderful week in sunny Scotland and had a thoroughly relaxing and rejuvenating time.

We hired a fantastic cottage that was well and truly 'away from it all'.



 The nearest village was called Strontian in western Lochaber (I think The Proclaimers sang a song about Lochaber didn't they?). Anyway... Strontian village is located on the shore of beautiful Loch Sunart, a sea-loch which cuts deep into the mainland from the Sound of Mull.

The cottage was reached by a mile-long single-track road.  One of us had to jump out of the car and open and close the deer gates along the track.  We didn't see any deers near the cottage but we did have very close encounters with a family of pine martens!  They came to our cottage for supper each evening - we put peanut butter sandwiches out along the windowsills and they came right up to the window to feed.  Unfortunately we didn't get any good photos because of the reflection on the glass.
There were some wonderful walks, views and sandy beaches.  If you haven't been before then I highly recommend a holiday there. 






As always one of the problems of taking a holiday is that we always return home wishing that we could live somewhere else and the whole house-hunting lark starts again!  Do you ever feel like that?  Do you think it's just a case of 'grass is always greener'?  Or is it that you feel relaxed on your hols and wish that feeling could stay with you all year round?!?

craft fair

After a fretful week visiting our poorly Mum in hospital, my sister and I took ourselves off to visit a local Craft Fair and boy oh boy did we enjoy ourselves!  It wasn't at all as I had expected.  I recently went to a Craft Fair to find I was the only member of the public there - I really felt for the stall-holders and really hope that it got busier later in the day!  

Anyway this one was a thrive of activity - the place was packed with stalls and stalls of wonderful crafty things and lots of people taking the opportunity to start their Christmas shopping!  Of course, seeing so many beautiful things that had been lovingly made by hand I just had to treat myself to a few little lovelies...

I have a thing about throws and blankets.  My Grandfather worked in a woolen mill and the smell and feel of a wool blanket takes me back to the days when we visited him at the mill.
I think I'm going to make the blanket into cushion covers for my living room.  I feel bad cutting it up but I'm sure the finished results will ease my conscience.  I so wish I had bought a green one too.

The lady that made this picture had the best stall of all.  She had lots of wonderful things - I could have taken one of each item!  She made the appliqued pictures using both machine and hand sewing and her husband made the oak frames.  A very talented team!

I just happened to be looking for an 'owl' related birthday gift for a friend (she's  really into owls for some reason) so this cute little owl tea-light was perfect.


and I couldn't resist this little ceramic button for myself.  I'm going to make a felt flower corsage and use this button as the centre

I also started my Christmas shopping.  I won't name the recipient of each gift just in case they happen to read this blog!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

end of september

Well September has been and gone!

We returned from our summer holiday on 3rd September which just happens to be our eldest sons birthday.  Our first 'little bundle of joy' has just turned 19!   And after passing his A'levels this summer he has just started a three year degree course in Computer Games Art at Uni. Exciting times for him but mixed feelings for me - I'm so going to miss him.

On 25th Sept we packed up the car with all his art equipment, laptop, suitcases, bedding and kitchen paraphernalia and set off on our two hour journey. Our first stop was at the Uni to formally enroll.  The place was absolutely buzzing with students and it felt quite exiting - a new and exciting beginning for him.  He can't wait to get started on his course and is really looking forward to his first project.  After enrolling on his course and signing up for the doctor, dentist, insurance etc we picked up the keys for his digs and went to see where he will be living for the next year!  He was understandably anxious though about his accommodation and who he would be sharing with. It's one thing leaving home to live with friends or girlfriend but quite another to move into a house with two strangers! As it happens it has worked out really well and the two lads he is in with are both good guys and they seem to get on.

My other two 'little ones' started back at school on 7th September.  MissG has just started her options for her GCSE's and is particularly enjoying doing her art and textile lessons.  She is getting much more homework this year which is fine if it's art and textiles but quite another thing if it's maths or world history!  I'm afraid I'm not much help to her as history is one of my weakest subjects.  Guy has just started in sixth form and his subject choices sound really interesting. He is doing psychology and sociology and he comes home with lots of interesting facts. I'm probably going to learn a thing or two over the coming year!

The last week of September was amazing. We had a whole week of really hot, summery weather and we had to dig our sandals out again! On the Saturday night we managed to cut the grass and sit out on the patio for an evening barbecue before the rain and wind came on Sunday.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

my birthday gifts

I thought I'd share with you all my lovely gifts I was given for my birthday at the end of September. I dropped a few hints so I was hoping they had been heard! Lovely, lovely gifts from my lovely, lovely family and friends.

photos to follow

Saturday, 20 August 2011

school hols

Hi there.  I'm aware that I haven't been doing my blog as often as I planned to so now that I have some free time I thought I'd share some news with you.  

I so look forward to the school holidays as I love having the children home.  I love the relaxed starts and the various day trips.  This is the first summer holiday that I have found myself feeling slightly redundant though - the children are now young adults and don't want to go out with their 'old mum'.  I am sad that their childhood days are now fading and I do feel we are moving into a new chapter of our lives.  MrG tells me I should savor the peace and enjoy the extra 'me' time.  I do have plenty of hobbies -  I find that I start lots of crafty projects but don't always manage to complete them so now I have no excuse not to get them all finished!  I have managed to make 24 cards today, I've started a new tapestry and I'm revamping some old furniture!  I have also taken some photographs to add to my blog (they were taken on my mobile so I'm not sure what the quality will be like - I hope they're OK).

I've been out in the garden taking some photos while the sun is shining.  We've had some terribly wet days this last week so it's so uplifting to draw back the curtains to see some sunshine! This is a new climber I planted just a couple of months ago and it's covered in the most gorgeous purple bells.  I wish I'd planted it closer to the house so that I could see it from my kitchen window.  Perhaps I'll buy another one!





My tomato plants are covered in tiny tomatoes but just a handful of them are turning red - we need a little more sunshine please!

My peppers that have been grown from seed on the windowsill in my craft room are doing really well and have produced lots of tiny white flowers.  I have only one green chilli pepper so far.  I have taken them outside for a shower in fairy liquid today as they are covered in greenfly.  I wasn't really sure what to do with them so I hope the fairy liquid shower works and the mass of white flowers do manage to turn into peppers!

I have enjoyed sitting in my summerhouse even on cooler or rainy days - I love the sound of the rain on the roof. It's a lovely place to relax with a cup of tea and a good book!  My newly finished rug looks so good doesn't it?


 And the view from my sofa....


 I also took a photo of some of the cards I made today, the others need a few finishing touches.  I used the sewing machine to sew onto card for the first time - to sew the grass and stems of the flowers before adding paper flowers.  I'm not really into making cards but I was inspired to buy some packs of cards, envelopes and cellophane wrappers after seeing some lovely handmade cards in a craft shop in Penrith.  I'm quite pleasantly surprised with the results.


Here's a photo of my new tapestry.  I bought the frame on ebay for just £2.20!  I've made a start on this one and it's coming on holiday with me.  Oh, I can just see myself sitting    relaxing with my tapestry in one hand and a glass of vino in the other!  I can't wait.


And another new tapestry - I saw this one in the sale and so had to have it!  Goodness only knows when I'll get round to starting this one as it's quite time consuming and it will take me ages to finish the one I've started.

I am also the proud owner of two new toys!  The first one I'm going to tell you about was just delivered yesterday so I haven't had a 'play' with it yet.  It wasn't really something that I wanted to purchase but I was forced into it by my son's new puppy!  I'm sure it will be very useful though and I will get pleasure from having clean carpets!

My other toy is this.... can you tell what it is? 

It is an absolutely fabulous toy!  It was a present from my hubby and I love it, love it, LOVE it!  It's the most fantastically brilliant present and I'm sooooooo pleased with it.  I was able to take it to London with me to 'play' with and it was a joy to have for the train journey - I was able to do crosswords and solitaire while listening to podcasts of Desert Island Discs.  Brilliant!  The three hour journey flew by.  I can get my 'home' and 'work' emails on it and can check out my favourite blogs and websites.  It's my very own iPad.  Isn't the cover fab too?  It's from Cath Kidston, no less! 

Of course, I had to order it to match my keyring!  Very funky.

I thought you might also like to see my son's new puppy.  The reason for my VAX purchase!  He's three months old and we've had him for almost three weeks.  His name is Sonny and he is lovely.  I wanted to call him Mr Whippy because he's a whippet but it didn't go down well - I think everyone thought I was joking!  I wouldn't say I was a 'doggy' person but somehow we've now got three!


We are lucky that my parents 'dog sit' while we are away on holiday so I'll have to break the news that there's an extra one to look after this summer!  Saying that, it will be my Mum and Aunt dog-sitting this time as my Dad had just got himself a little puppy.

My Dad lost his beloved doberman 'Cito' to old age.  I know doberman and rottweiler dogs are thought of as quite aggressive but Cito wasn't - he was a lovely dog and a real pal to my Dad.  They went everywhere together and my Dad was quite lost without him.  So along comes little 'Duke'.  The most cuddly little chocolate lab - he's like a little teddy bear!

I am so looking forward to our summer holiday.  We've got another week and a half to wait but I feel the countdown has already begun.   I can't wait to get away! 

I'm feeling a bit 'stressed' this week as it's A'level results week for Son1 then next week Son2 will collect his GCSE results.  We have school uniforms to purchase and appointments at the Vet, Orthodontist, Optician and the Doctors (for yet another blood test) - all to do before we go away. 

MrG is working hard (far too many hours) to try to finish projects before we close the office for the week.  I think we all need to have a well earned rest.  My books, iPad and tapestry are going with me! 

My sister took her children camping last week and the rain didn't let up for days so she ended up coming home early - there's only so much wet mud you can take.  We've enjoyed lots of holidays in our tent - camping is great if you get the weather.  We booked a holiday cottage for the first time about ten years ago and enjoyed it so much that we have booked one (or two) each year since.  I don't enjoy roughing it anymore - I like my creature comforts. Maybe it's an age thing!  We've stayed in some cottages that have been so nice that I could have moved in permanently.  I think we've only been disappointed once and now I only book one if I've seen internal photo's (appearances can be deceptive!).

Talking of houses...

Welcome home to my friend Ginny.  She and her family have just moved back to the UK this month after living in France for the last five years.  Woohoo!  Before moving to France they lived in our village and our children went to the same primary school.  Although she has moved back to the UK she hasn't moved back to Cumbria, she has settled down south in Somerset.  We have kept in touch via email over the  years and I'm so looking forward to making plans to meet up.  Welcome home!

Well, I'll close now.  I've been writing this post for a couple of days and didn't realise just how long it is.  I will write again when we get back from our hols - I will take lots of photo's while we are away to let you see. 

Happy holidays to everyone - hope you have fun!