Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Help

OK I know I'm probably the last person in the world to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett....I'm so last year.... but I've done it now and I'm very pleased I did as I really enjoyed it.  The only real disappointment was that I wanted to carry on following the lives of Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter after the book had ended.  In some ways Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s seems so far away and although I can't say that from just reading the book that I know how Aibileen, Minny and the other Help felt, I certainly got a sense of the tension form this book. I'd now like to see the film but I'm slightly worried as I have such strong images in my head of the characters and the houses that the film might not match this.

Monday, 26 March 2012

70 Years of Memories

Recently we celebrated my Dad's 70th Birthday and I wanted to do something a bit special.  I knew that my Dad didn't really want anything or need anything present wise for his birthday....but I couldn't let this event go by without something.  

Mum had taken him away for a few days for his actually birthday and had a trip for a Legends Tour around Manchester United's Old Trafford planned....I know you're now either cheering or groaning depending where your heart lies!

I knew my Dad would be perfectly happy with just having Mum, his two daughters, two sons in law and two grandchildren there to share the time with him but still I wanted to mark the occasion with something more.  Now my Dad is a retired Geography / History teacher and working with the history theme I was thinking of something along the lines of "This is your life".

After playing around with a few ideas and doing a bit of research I came across Holly Burns at who had also wanted to surprise her Dad (who is a bit younger than my Dad) with a fun and special birthday treat and I decided to adapt her wonderful idea.

So at the beginning of this year I wrote out to everyone I could think of (or had contact details for) and explained that I wanted to try and collect 70 memories of my Dad and then present them to him for his birthday.  Then it was a case of sitting back and waiting...and waiting...until bingo I got an email from one of his old teacher colleagues and I thought "excellent, we're on our way now, one down 69 to go"!!

Although my sister and I thought we could quite easily come up with 70 memories between us, that wasn't the name of the game...although for a little while I thought it might have to be the case but after email and letter after letter arrived right up to and way beyond the deadline I'd set....some were short, some long, some with photos, some funny, some poignant, some I knew about or could remember, some which were new news to me or from before I was born.

Now even though my Dad is 70, he doesn't look 70 and he doesn't act 70 (whatever acting 70 looks like!) but collecting 70 memories of him was very fact so was collecting 80 memories.....and 90 memories....and well over 100 memories!!

I didn't want to leave out any of these fabulous memories so I worked at grouping like memories together...for example my sister and I both had memories of Dad mistaking Mum's bikini bottoms for his Speedos when we were on holiday in France in the late 1980s and not realising until he was in the campsite swimming pool......or two of his sisters remembering him reading his comic during the church service when he was a choir boy.....or his teacher colleagues reminiscing about school trips he'd organised to France.

I then put the memories into 7 piles of 10 memories and checked and recounted.....and checked and recounted again....and then got Mr A to check and count them as well... just to be sure before I started putting them into numbered envelopes.

Ta da!  This is the finished gift....70 envelopes containing 70 memories (OK over 100 memories)....some memories were so big that they needed an big envelope to match!

I also wrapped up a big album so that Dad could put all the memories in the album after he's opened the envelopes and be able to flick through and read them more easily from then on.  That's quite a stack of envelopes to open!

I didn't tell my Mum about this either so she was able to enjoy the surprise.  I'm pleased to say that Dad absolutely loved took a couple of sittings with a meal in between to get through opening all the envelopes and reading all the memories....lots of laughs and a few watery eyes as well....I'd definitely recommend doing something similar if you have a "big birthday" of a loved one approaching.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Me versus The Slugs

Spring is here and it's time to say "hello" to my lupins.  I love my lupins but unfortunately so do the slugs and in my garden sadly the slugs by far out number the lupins.  So today is the official start to the annual battle....Me vs The Slugs.  Aaaarghhhh!  I'll keep you updated. 

About 3 years ago Miss M and Grandad planted a pip from an apple Miss M had just eaten .  Together they  found an old yoghurt carton and some mud...yes mud not potting compost and waited....and waited....and waited.  Just look at it, getting ready to grow again this spring.

Lots of lovely new green leaves

Also we're looking for new accommodation , compact and bejou, own front door, sunny and secluded location, nestled in an antique rose bush, must be willing to share garden with two lively and noisy children!

We've been lucky to have had resident blue-tits for 4 years now.  This year Mr A has pulled out all the stops...he steam cleaned the bird box with our new steam that taking it a bit too far?!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all Mums xx
I've had a lovely Mother's Day here thanks to my lovely family.  I was called downstairs to a banquet of a breakfast of grilled grapefruit, fresh fruit and yoghurt, croissants, chocolate brioche, fruit juice, tea and coffee ...OK it was 6.55am but still that's quite a lie in chez nous.

We then got the bikes out, one of our favourite things to do and raced against the dark threatening grey clouds.  Such fun!  We went on one of our usual routes and I'm very proud to report that Miss M managed the "big hill" for the first time without stopping...high fives all round.

Home for scrummy hot chocolates in the garden while Misses M and E played in the sandpit and Mr A finished off the wonderful roast dinner he's prepared before the bike ride and used the timer....the oven timer is something that I've never been able to get my head cooking is definitely here and now!

Happy happy days, thank you guys xxx
Miss M's card on the left is of me and her disco dancing...I'm the one on the left....with the purple hair!
Miss E's card on the can't see from the photo just how thick the glue is to hold on the sprinkling of glitter!
Perfect cards that make my heart smile xxx

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Even more blooming marvellous

Last summer I created some fabric flowers as I wanted to add some height to display on Blooming Marvellous post to see the original post.

Although I was very pleased with them at the time I felt they were missing something....leaves.  So armed with my scissors I set about trying to add leaves.  My initial idea was to sandwich wire inside the leaf fabric but it didn't quite work as I'd onto plan b.

This time I tried putting fusible webbing between in the fabric to give it a bit more stiffness and changing the shape of the leaf so that I could wrap and glue the stalk part around the flower stem.


One leaf on and I'm happy.  Right onto making a few more then.

I have the flowers on my dining room table now and I love them.

And you've probably spotted that they feature in my current blog header picture.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Delivery for Mrs M

I love getting parcels...even if I've ordered the contents and I know what I'm getting I still love opening them.  Parcels from the lovely Sarah at Paper and String are always packaged so nicely in tissue paper and little bags...little parcels within the parcel...I love it...happy days!

3 different packages to open and a postcard of  the latest kits.

What lovely colours peeping out at me, gorgeously wrapped in hot pink tissue paper...everything is better wrapped in tissue paper....and how well they match my tablecloth!

In the little white bag were my ribbons and polka dot buttons.

Soooooooo cute.

I'd completely forgotten that with this order I would have collected enough loyalty stamps for a Free Craft Kit....this parcels just gets better and better.

So what's in my free craft kit?  Squares of fabulous felt, strips of stunning ribbons, a beautiful bounty of buttons and some key rings and brooch findings.

Smile, dots, hearts, stripes, felt ric-rac.....does it get any better?

Oooops....nearly missed this could I?  I think it's my favourite.

Spring Summer 2012 Colours

Ta da!!!  This is the colour scheme I've decided on.  All the felt colours are from the brilliant Paper and String  Now I just need to firm up some of the ideas I have about designs.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Colour choices for Spring Summer 2012

Colours colours colours......
I've been trying to chose a colour scheme for my Spring Summer 2012 collection.  I know from past collections that pink is my best seller...pale pink, baby pink, hot pink, dusty pink, rose pink, cerise, fuchsia name it but us girls are suckers for any shade so long as it's pink!  SO obviously pink is going to feature in the scheme but what other colours?

Delicious strawberry pink with lovely icy blues?

Fresh radish pink and garden greens?

Peony pink, green and teal?

Tulip pink and graphite grey

My Cath Kidston table cloth pinks, blue, yellow and greens?

I'll reveal the final colour scheme very soon.  I want to get a better photo so the colours can be seen properly.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

New Blog Header

I have had a beautiful photo of Lake Windermere as my blog header photo since I started this blog and although it's a photo I'm very fond of, it didn't really fit in with the content of my blog.  So with some thought and photos from me and some technical help from Andy, I'm really pleased with the new look and hope you like it too.

My initial rough sketches....

The ideas changed a bit from the plan as I started to take photos and put things together as you can see in the header.

I'm still very new to the world of blogging but at least now the header includes some of the things I've made...the fabric flowers, the grey flower ring, hairclips being modelled by Miss M and Miss E, a purple Hazy Daisy corsage from my last collection and a felt heart hanging inside a delicate metal.  

OK and then a photo of the harbour in Weymouth which I've included just because...I like it...I remember taking it during an early morning walk with Misses M and E during last year's summer hols....a fantastic summer holiday with some brilliant, special memories.

Checking in - March 2012

I am listening to The Chad Who Loved Me from Mansun's Attack Of The Grey Lantern album, I love the opening orchestral bars and it's one of the songs that always stays on my playlist even when I've had a sort through.
I am eating nothing at the moment but for lunch I had toast spread with pesto mixed with parsley, topped with a sliced tomato, slices of brie and drizzled with olive oil.  A lovely light lunch but followed by a humongous pudding....Andy made a scrummy apple crumble the other day but it's huge.  He took it to work to share but they hardly made a dent in would be rude not to try and finish it off wouldn't it?!!
I am drinking a lovely big mug of tea.
I am wearing wellie socks (it was raining and snowing earlier today), demin skirt, grey jumper and pink pashmina scarf...comfy.
I am feeling tired.
I am reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I've been meaning to read it for a while now but it's our current Book Club read  so it's moved to the top of my list.
In my garden things are looking a whole lot better since we had a good clear out in the sunshine yesterday.  The spring bulbs are poking through the soil nicely.
Around the house is a selction of dolls, barbie dolls, High School Musical dolls, a Justin Bieber doll and a Marvin from JLS doll!  Misses M and E have had a great game.  Do you know how hard it is to get Justin Bieber back into his trousers?!  Very tricky as he has big inflexible feet!
I am enjoying having Waitrose Extremely Zesty Lemon Curd on toast for breakfast this week.  I've opened a new jar but haven't told anyone else....there are some things that don't need to be shared!!
I am creating not an awful lot at the moment but I do have plans!
Outside my window it's pouring down.  I'm very pleased I swept up the leaves yesterday while they were dry.
I am thinking of painting my nails this evening.
I am loving this image from 

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