A Few Of My Favorite Things

07:45 Karen 6 Comments

Well, as the year draws to a close, I can say it has been a very good one and like many of my blog friends I have decided to review it using some of my projects from the past year, they are not necessarily my favorite ones but the ones that best illustrate the year. This could well be a long blog post (20 photos) so either go and get yourself a cup of tea and the last piece of Christmas cake or just flip onto the the next blog. If you are flipping have a very Happy New Year and thank you for dropping by over the last year.

January - Santa's Little Helpers

Love the way these two mess about and do things just to make each other and everyone else around them laugh. They are so inventive with their ideas and I love how they are when together.

Favorite thing #1 - how happy these two make each other and everyone else who is lucky enough to know them.

February - How Do I Love Thee

This man has been my best friend, my whole hearted supporter, my rock and my world for the past 27 years. He works hard for us as a family, helps support his mum and is generally a really lovely man. I don't know one person who has anything bad to say about him or who doesn't genuinely like him.

Favorite thing #2 - how lucky I am to have this wonderful person in my life

March - A Dream Come True

We had long dreamed of starting up our own crop and finally in March all our hard work came to fruition. It was not how we originally planned it but we have both worked hard and it now has an established pattern and runs in a way we are both delighted with. We have made it into a crop that we are both proud of and that the members like too.

Favorite thing #3 - friends with the same hopes and plans and the wherewithal to put them into practice.

April - How Can It Be?

Exactly, how can she be 17? Only five minutes ago she was a new born in my arms and now she is planning to leave home and go to university. We are so blessed with our darling Gracia, she is hard working, kind, bright and our shining star. We cannot put into words how proud we are of her and everything she does.

Favorite thing # 4 - Gracia - our pride and joy, our beautiful girl. Oh and in April I discovered another favorite thing, a new passion - cupcake baking!

May - A Message For You.

Gracia had her first dance lesson when she was two and a half and has never looked back. The dance school was the only one locally who took students under three and from her very first lesson she fell in love. She still goes to dance class every Friday evening and sadly, this year was the last dance show she will be in. I love that she dances with her heart and soul, dances because it makes her happy and doesn't care that none of her friends still go to dance class.

Favorite thing #5 - that you are confident to do what makes you happy and that you always dance to the beat of your own drum.

June - Fuzzy Face

Kiera is our third Golden Retriever and between you and me, my favorite. She only wants to please and has never been to dog training classes - she just does as she is told all the time. I cannot remember a time when we have had to raise our voice to her or even get slightly cross.

Favorite thing #6 - Kiera, a dog who thinks she is human and is quite affronted if referred to as a dog!

July - Silly In Sheffield

July was the month we went to visit Sheffield University and I fell in love with the city. At the time it was the top of the kid's list of courses to go but now, sadly, it may not be. But going to Sheffield made me remember how much I like visiting new places and discovering new things.

Favorite thing #7 - Actively seeking out new adventures and places to go.

August - Amazing Results

What fantastic results the kids got in their A/S exams. They worked extremely hard and it certainly paid off. Both sets of parents were so proud of them and it proved us right to trust them to get on with studying together and not worry that they weren't putting in the time and effort.
Also in August I made a page for Shimelle's online crop which celebrated my quirkiness and how I like to be me.

Also at the end of August we went on a little holiday. The first one we had been on as a family for several years and the first one which included Josh. So August was a bumper month.

Favorite thing #8 - That I can be the person whom I like to be and my family and friends accept me for that.

September - Learn Something New Every Day

This was the second year I had taken this class and decided to make it 6 x 4 digital. Using a template and only having a few lines of journalling meant that I was able to keep up during the hectic first weeks back at school. I love online classes as that is where I have met many of my blog friends and some of them have become real friends too and come along to our crop.

Favorite thing #9 - meeting the many and diverse people I have been in contact with through the internet. Ladies who although I have never spoken to or met in the flesh I still count as friends.

October - Guest Designer for ATDML

Ok I have cheated here because I have included all the projects that I made for Mel and Jill. I found it too difficult to choose one and so loved the kit that they sent me that I have included each project. I think that the one I love the most is the Marks Hall one. (I still have one more project that I made for Jill and Mel but they haven't uploaded it to their blog yet).

Favorite thing #10 - being able to be creative and being given the opportunity to do it for the design teams I have worked on over the last year.

November - My Life In Numbers

Another Shimelle class taken in November! I can't seem to resist them. This one was a journalling based class but I am afraid that life got in the way and for the first time I didn't complete the class. No worries though as I can always go back to it and finish it another time. One prompt was to use lots of numbers or letters in your journalling and I wanted to document how my life has changed from being that of a single person to our little family of 4 (including Josh).

Favorite thing #11 - My lovely family and friends. The life I have led and the life I have yet to discover.

December - Gracia's Heart Cushions

This was a joint project that Gracia and I embarked upon early in December. She brought the fabric from ebay, made the patchwork fronts herself and then I helped her to make the cushions and the button holes on the back. I love that this year we have had many craft days together. We have made cards for Josh to sell for the Russ Foundation, baked and sewn and I think that we are both making the most of our time together before she goes off to Uni in the summer.

Favorite thing #12 - Spending many hours with my friends at crops and my lovely Gracia at home making and creating to my little heart's content.

If you have finally made it this far, I applaud your staying power. I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year that is filled with peace and harmony. xxx

Reason to be cheerful:

Only one today - that I live the life I do surrounded by the people that I love.



Sian's Christmas Club - A late entry!

07:41 Karen 10 Comments

I was going to write about the 12 traditions we have in the weeks leading up to Christmas but after reading Denise's post decided to write about just one of them.

We have always told Gracia that Santa brings her presents but that we pay him for them. This was because when she was little we were very strapped for cash and I worried that she would think that Santa liked her friend Emma more than he liked her as Emma always had huge expensive Christmas presents. So the solution was to say that we paid Santa and as Gracia knew that Emma's parents could afford larger presents that was ok.

When Gracia was about 3 all she wanted for Christmas was a doll called 'Potty Training Shelly'. Shelly is Barbie's little sister and this doll was quite expensive and I knew it would be a five minute wonder. I said that I was not going to ask Santa to bring it as I thought there were other things he would bring that she would like more.

But all she asked for was 'Potty Training Shelly'! Not one to go back on my word once I had said no I had to find a solution. It was easy really because 1997 was the year that Santa started to bring a naughty present, just from him. We always leave Gracia's presents on the sofa and that scamp of a Santa placed a present amongst the ones from us, it was wrapped in the same paper as those in her stocking, which everyone knows are from Santa and can you guess what was in that rogue parcel - yep you're right it was a Potty Training Shelly. He must have known how much she had wanted it. True to form the doll was played with twice and never taken out of its box again after Boxing Day - I knew it would have limited appeal but my little three year old didn't!

Every year since then, Santa has left a naughty present for Gracia nestling amongst the ones we have for her, it is usually one we definitely don't approve of, these have ranged from Beano Club membership - to one year when he was naughty beyond compare and left her a remote controlled fart machine! Last year he left some very skimpy panties and this year he has his present all ready to be wrapped. So the naughty Santa present became a family tradition which has given us so much laughter over the years and all because a mean mum could not be seen to back down on a decision!

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. After a couple of days battling flu and a chest infection, today I am beginning to feel human again.

2. Accidental traditions that make our Christmas special.

3. Friends whose blogs inspire you.



Today's the day

08:48 Karen 3 Comments

Title taken from a Facebook status from one of my friends who is majorly excited as her boy is coming home from uni after his first term.

But I am hoping that today IS the day when I get my act together.

So far today I have:
  1. Baked Apple and Cinnamon muffins for Gracia to take to work.
  2. Wrapped 7 presents for David to deliver to his friends.
  3. Made some extra Christmas cards
  4. Eaten at least one or was it two (o; muffins for breakfast and it is not yet 9am!
So with a start like that I am hoping to go into town to buy the wool and hook to make myself one of these -

Beautiful isn't it?

I also would like to catch up with my JYC mini as I have not made any more pages since last Saturday. So the pages I have made but not posted and blogged so far are:-

Only 10 days behind then :oO

I also made this page about the stunning Christmas lights in our home town this year. The cardstock is black Bazzill Bling which doesn't photograph very well.

I have presents to sew and many, many more to wrap but feel that if I can keep on top of this chest infection then all will be done and dusted by the 25th.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. Apple and cinnamon muffins.

2. A night out with work colleagues dancing and dining.

3. The prospect of a very crafty holiday.

Hope you have a lovely and productive weekend.



Christmas Club - Tales of Christmas Past

08:07 Karen 12 Comments

A story for Sian's Christmas Club post.

This is one of the very few Christmas photos that we have. Film was expensive in those days and mistakes couldn't be rectified like you can now with digi photos.

It was Christmas day 1965 and the things that stands out is my short hair. In those days we lived in a very small town and children were allowed a lot more independence. We could go to the shop for a packet of tea without our parents fearing that danger was around every corner.

Back to the hair. Prior to this photo I had waist length hair that my Grandma used to wet every morning and curl into long ringlets. She would then take two and tie them onto the top of my head with a large, and I mean large, white bow. She thought I looked gorgeous! At school the boys always said I had, now please excuse the horrible description, 'dog's turds' on my head - a mean way of describing my tumbling ringlets!

Well, not long before Christmas my mum gave me the money to take myself off to the hairdressers for a trim. I don't know what came over me but with the words 'dog's turds' ringing in my ears, I asked for my hair to be cut short. As I was known for being a good girl the hairdresser did as I asked because it must have been what my mum wanted as I would never have been so naughty! As soon as the first snip was made I knew I was going to be for it when I got home.

My mum's first words were "Your Dad will kill you", not literally, obviously but he did have a very loud shout when necessary. I went to bed early that night, before he got home from work and when he came to kiss me good night, I was pretending to be asleep but had on my anorak (do you remember those - for younger readers they can best be described as a quilted hoodie, made from synthetic material and they usually came in dark green, blue or brown (mine was dark green). Back to the anorak, not only did I have it on but all anoraks had a string with toggles through the hood so that you could pull them tight in adverse weather conditions. So of course I had my hood up and the string pulled so tight that all you could see was my eyes and nose. Dad, of course, had been warned my mum what to expect and didn't buy my story that I had my anorak on because I was so cold in bed.

Obviously, he didn't kill me but he was so disappointed that the surprise haircut was the only one I had for the next few years - until my hair was down to my waist once more, in fact when I was 14 I could actually sit on my hair it was so long.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1. How easily photos can bring back long forgotten stories.

2. A carefree childhood where we could wander the fields and streets in complete safety.

3. Anoraks that kept you warm and hid unplanned haircuts.



Helloooooooooooooooooo, I'm Back!

16:06 Karen 5 Comments

Yes, I am back in cyber space! Still not on my own laptop but the lovely guys at Nexus have loaned me a brand new laptop to use until my naughty little wanderer returns! Normal service has been resumed but I dare not look at Google Reader to see how many blog posts I have to read but I will look later and make a start.

Today, the snow came down with vengeance and school and college were closed.

Not a bad thing really as I have so much work for David to catch up on - the VAT should have been in on Wednesday and has yet to be done :( Gracia wanted to go over to Josh's and stay the night and David said he really didn't want me to drive - so that was the start of our epic trip out this morning.

First we walked to Eileen's so that Gracia could spend some time with Hannah and I could have a natter with Eileen and then we walked another couple of miles to meet up with Josh. I then had the 4+ mile walk back. So we left at 9:15 and I eventually got back home at 1:10.

I have to say it was a beautiful walk and I love how ginger Gracia's hair looks when I use the snow setting on my camera. When she was a baby she had beautiful auburn hair, she got it from David's side of the family. Now it is brown or blondish brown in the summer. Did I get on with David's work when I got home - of course I didn't, not when I had snow photos to scrap for the second page of my JYC album.

I am so pleased with how it is coming together so far. Well, I had better make a cup of tea and get on with the VAT and I promise I won't leave it so long next time.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. Not having to share a laptop.

2. Unexpected days off school.

3. Long snowy walks with my girlie.

I hope you are all safe and warm in these adverse weather conditions.


Popping up for a quick Hellooooooooooooooooo

07:19 Karen 9 Comments

I feel like a huge part of me is missing - my laptop has gone in for repair and I moaned out loud when the guy in the shop said it would be up to 7 working days! He didn't seem too surprised at my reaction so I can only conclude that it was one he was used to.

How can I cope without reading the blogs I regularly read - I dread to think how many Google Reader has stored up for me. I do everything by e-mail and need a computer to do David's work most days. I feel cut off from the world but in a way it is good as perhaps I spend too much time in cyberspace and not enough time in the real world, well in Karen's world really, which for me is much more fun than the real world.

Gracia has very kindly allowed me to 'jump on' and use her laptop whenever it is free, which is not very often with the amount of work she needs to do for her A levels. So While she is still snuggled up in bed I can do a very quick blog update. I am using Internet Explorer when I usually use Firefox for my blog update. I love Firefox as it allows you to manipulate your blog posts so much more easily than Internet Explorer so this post may or may not have photos!

Note: After taking 30 minutes, I have finally added photos. Oh how I love Firefox - I just cut and past the photos, in Internet Explorer I have to 'leap frog' the photos from the top of the page to where I want them. Come back laptop - all is forgiven! I have realised that Gracia doesn't have Photoshop on her laptop either so I can't adjust the photos to the quality and colour I would like.

I have made two pages recently (one for a guest design team spot, so can't show you just yet) and this one that I made at the little crop. I have said it before and I will say it again, I really love the little crop it is just like a coffee morning with very good friends, with the added bonus of a little scrapping thrown in.

At the crop I also started making my Journal Your Christmas album. I found the most amazing bargin in The Range. An 8 x 8 pack of Christmas paper (called Mistletoe Kisses) and about 8 packs of co-ordinating stickers, I am not sure exactly how many as I have opened the packs and used them. They also sell more stickers in this range and I brought two extra packs. I have used an old pizza box for the covers.

My album is 8 x 5.5 which is the same proportions as a landscape 11 x 8.5 page. I used some die cuts, that the lovely Karen gave to Gracia who then gave them to me, for the front cover and have made up 20 pages, in the hope that if I only have to add a photo and some journaling I will be able to keep up. I hope to make the rest of the pages this week. I am going to use these and these journaling spots from Elle's studio which I have altered the colour of to match in with the papers and printed out in several sizes. I have made little journaling spots to put the date on for each page.

I have also started to make my Christmas cards so, partly because I haven't had a laptop to play on and partly because I am a bit more organised than last year, they should be finished before the end of the month. I am not sure whether to make them with the sequins or without. I like both versions. They will all have the doodled holly with Stickled berries.

Hope you all have an absolutely wonderful week.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. A generous daughter who lets me use her laptop, occasionally.

2. I am quite excited about going to church this morning as the building has been reordered, to make more room for our ever increasing congregation. For the past few months we have had our services in the church hall. I will try to sneak some photos to show you if I can do it without it being too noticable.

3. I am going to start making some Christmas presents today, which if they work out properly, will be sooooooo cute.

My blog post claims to have been posted at 7:19, it is in fact 9:07 so thank you Internet Explorer for helping me to take almost 2 hours to write one blog post!