2014 in Review

23:58 Karen 7 Comments

Firstly, I must apologise for being a bad blogger and even more so for being a bad blog reader/commenter. I changed my job in September and although I have a shorter day my whole routine changed and whereas I used to read and comment on blogs before work I don't have the time now. I am hoping that 2015 will see a return to my blogging more and finding time to read other people's blogs 

As a way of dipping my toe into the big blog pond I have done a quick 2014 favourite layouts round up. 

In January I used papers from one of my favourite designers (Teresa Collins) to celebrate my friendship with Eileen.  She moved to Scotland in 2013 and not just to Scotland but to the farthest north of Scotland possible - 12 hours drive away Scotland!  We all miss her very much and hope that it won't be too long before she is living closer to home. 

In February I used scraps of Simple Stories to make this page.  Frances, Gracia and Rachel - all studying to become doctors and friends almost from day one of their 5 year course.  Missing from the photo is Marta who caught pneumonia in December 2013 and again in early 2014 but she has remained healthy this term so this layout celebrates Gracia's lovely Newcastle friends.

Two for March, I couldn't choose.  The first celebrating Gracia's love of ballet - taking classes from the time she was two and a half .

The second one documenting a What's App conversation (complete with photos) that we all had.  I love the way these two fool around and include us in on their tom foolery.  

In April we celebrated Gracia's 21st Birthday.  She had a week of celebrations with birthday meals with her friends, a meal with us and a holiday with Josh in Marrakesh - all documented on Instagram.

May saw Gracia returning to Uni and celebrating her birthday with her Newcastle friends - with Marta there too this time. 

Josh graduated in June and Gracia went to his Graduation Ball with him.  I wanted to document how she wore a £16.00 dress but managed to make it look like a really expensive one - she knows how to make Primark look like Prada.

 July saw us going to Newcastle to retrieve Gracia's things ready to move into her new house with Frances and Marta - we had hoped that this would be the last move for a while - four houses in as many years but no she is moving again in September 2015!  We took the opportunity to visit some places in the North East that we hadn't seem before.

Gracia and I spent a day in London as a belated 21st birthday present and we went to see Buckingham Palace, had a Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel, went to see Mamma Mia and finally visited the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red instillation at the Tower of London.

In September I started my new job.  It is totally different to any I have done before and I am having to learn lots of new things.  I am amazed at the number of new skills I have had to acquire but by far my favourite is working in the recording studio and making recordings of the girls music pieces.  I have operated the sound and have for various performances as well as learnt how to set up and install new computers.

The worst thing that happened in 2014 was that mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The good news is that she is responding very well to her treatment and the long term prognosis is good.  I saw a saying somewhere on Facebook the other day and it so typified how she is dealing with it - 'Cancer got on my t**ts so I kicked it in the arse!  I hope my darling mum can keep on kicking its arse.

What a fabulous time I had in November - three weekends away but this one was by far the best.  A weekend with 12 crafting friends and we had so much fun that we had booked another one within a week of getting home. 

The layout I chose for this month is one showcasing the love these two have for each other.  To be with them is such a joy as the whole house is filled with laughter.  They have had a difficult time since September as Josh has been living in Colchester while Gracia remains in Newcastle but they have found ways of seeing each other as much as possible.  

So there have been many changes for all of us in 2014 but on the whole it has been an exciting year and I am sitting here with just 2 minutes of it left hoping 2015 will be equally as good.

If you have managed to read all of this very long post, I hope you have a fantastic 2015 and that it brings you everything you would wish for yourself.

See you soon, I promise xxx

Reasons to be cheerful

1.  Mum is fighting hard.

2. Gracia and Josh are just as much in love as they were when they first started going out when Gracia was 15.

3. That I have had my rock and sole-mate with me every step of the way in 2014 and I look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring us.



The Photo Bombed Selfie!

22:03 Karen 9 Comments

 Well another month of being both a bad blogger and a bad commenter on other blogs has passed me by but I am going to join in with Abi's one photo twenty words.

Photo bombed selfie from a weekend of crafting and laughing with 12 fabulously funny ladies 
- who could ask for more.

I was away for the third weekend on the bounce last weekend. A retreat organised for some of my crop ladies. We had such a good time and it was inspiring to see their creative process as their pages evolved.  So much fun that we are busy organising the next one!

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1.  A husband who never expects me to let the opportunity of doing something that would make me happy pass by.  Even if it means I haven't done any housework for the past three weeks!

2.  Spending time with 12 lovely ladies and having such a blast.

3.  Planning Christmas adventures for Gracia and me ;0)



Helloooooo, Hellooooooo, Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

18:00 Karen 14 Comments

Firstly I am joining in with Abi's 1 photo 20 words after realising that September's one was the last time I blogged.

A short visit home to see Josh but fitting in some time to go walking with us = happy parents.

Secondly, a big apology to my blog friends as I have been very neglectful of you lately.  I have the excuse of a getting used to a new job and had several DT commitments plus various other pulls on my time.  I hope I have got to a place where things have settled down and some sort of normality can return.

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1.  Spending a splendid sunny Sunday afternoon with the people I love the most.

2.  Gracia is loving this year at Uni after not really enjoying last year.

3.  It is almost half term and that means a week off from work - oh how I love working back in a school again. 



Splendid Summer Adventures - One Photo, Twenty Words

19:44 Karen 15 Comments

 Joining in with Abi's one photo twenty words.

A snapshot of the wonderful summer we had filled with endless fun and laughter.  
So loving our splendid summer adventures. 

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. Accepting that it's silly to give myself grief about not keeping up with LSNED and accepting it just isn't going to happen this year.

2. Remembering the fantastic summer we had with Gracia.

3. Realising that it's not too late to do the things I wished we had when she was little - we can do them now she is big and have way more fun doing them!



LSNED Sept 1

09:05 Karen 1 Comments

The lesson today was one I already knew and really didn't need to be reminded of.  Driving away from Gracia and leaving her in Newcastle to start her fourth year at uni was just as hard as when I left her for the first time.  Although she looks happy in this picture, if it were taken five seconds later we would both be in floods of tears.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1.  Gracia has such fabulous housemates this year, I know she will be very happy.

2.  The worry of getting to the hospital using the metro and a bus has been alleviated as she has found someone to car share with. 

3.  No studying just working in hospitals this year - more time for doing things she wants to do in her spare time and the promise of more visits home = happy mum and dad.



Spark of Madness

20:50 Karen 4 Comments

Like many people the news of Robin Williams' death came as a shock and surprise. I have always loved his films, loved his bravery when fighting his demons and loved his philosophy on life.   I feel the world is a less colourful place without him. 

Cheri is running a project called A Year of Kindness, on her blog, and this week suggests that you make a difference with your words as Robin Williams said "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." 

So I will wholeheartedly join in this week and as my personal tribute to Robin Williams I have used one of my favourite of his quotes on this page.



New Year New You - June & July

08:38 Karen 5 Comments

Well, we are over half way through the year and the effects of my efforts to make a new me this year are starting to show - less weight, fitter and a calmer new me!

In June, when the weather started to heat up, I realised that I didn't drink nearly enough water during the day and this resulted in me feeling sluggish during the afternoon.  So my resolve for June was to make sure I drank much more water and less caffine based drinks.

I swapped my 'first cup of the day and last drink before bed' for a glass of water and made sure I always had a bottle of water on my desk at work.


July saw the biggest change so far this year - the offer of a new Job.

I am swapping a 60 minute drive to work for a 7  minute one and as I start earlier will subsequently get to leave earlier and could potentially be walking back into my house two hours earlier than I do at the moment.

 It is a dream job, one I never thought I would be offered and it comes with the challenge of learning lots of new skills over the next year - can't wait to start in September.

This year seems to be shaping up quite nicely - wonder what August will bring?

Reasons to be cheerful:

1.  Goals being achieved.

2.  Confidence being restored.

3. Believing in myself again.



Rinda's Photo Scavenger Hunt - Post 1

21:56 Karen 15 Comments

My offerings for Rinda's Photo Scavenger Hunt

I missed posting my finds last month so am making sure I get them done this month. 

2. A garden gnome 

3. Birds on a wire

 5. A Rack of post cards 

6. An urban street scene 

 7. A rural landscape 

8. A tattoo on a person 

9. A bakery 

13. A Sunrise 

17. A lamp post 

 20. A bus painted on its sides 

 21 A photo of you with something representing the season.

 Wearing wellington boots and a fleece on a summer beach walk!

 Reasons to be cheerful:

1.  Looking at these photos and remembering how good the summer has been so far.

2.  Planning how I can get some more photos at the weekend.

3.  Loving the convenience of taking photos on my phone.



TBT - Puppy Girl

07:31 Karen 2 Comments

A photo from eight years ago. I really can't believe that time has flown by so quickly. I was quite shocked to realise that she was that old. Still as cuddly, still as loving, still my favourite Puppy Girl.  

Reasons to be cheerful:-

1.  Our lives are much richer being owned by Kiera.

2.  David and Kiera still have a very close bond, although I like to pretend that she loves me best I know where I really come in her order of preferences. 

3.  She is such a gentle and loving dog - we couldn't ask for a better pet. 



Cybercrop - installment No 2

19:29 Karen 0 Comments

Well Helloooo again, as promised the next installment of the ATDML cybercrop pages, the challenges I made examples for.

WESTMINSTER - to use a clock on a layout or paper project

 I have now changed the date to 23rd April - don't even know my own daughters birthday!

 NOTTING HILL GATE - to create a layout using bright colours inspired by the carnival and a film title inspired by film Notting Hill.

GRANGE HILL - to create a school themed layout using a school photo. 

Reasons to be cheerful

1.  An absolutely fabulous weekend with my two favourite people.

2. Sitting with the window open and listening to the birds singing.

3. Egg on toast for tea.



Making Stuff

18:34 Karen 3 Comments

Well I have been a very busy girl, what with preparing classes and challenge examples for the ATDML Cybercrop and a 1001 other things I have been very neglectful in commenting on the blogs I follow and updating mine. I have been doing stuff rather than writing about doing stuff! 

I taught three classes for the Cybercrop, made three examples for challenges and then during the crop and over the last week have made a further nine pages so 15 in total.

All the classes were named after London underground stations and I designed a page and an additional project for each of my three.

My first class was called Hanger Lane - I made little coat hangers out of paperclips and hung little handmade paper dresses from these.  The photos are from when Gracia did work experience in a prom dress shop and spent two weeks dressing up and having her photo taken or taking photos of herself - a job she hated as you can imagine.

Additonal project - patch work cards

The second class was called High Barnet and this featured a photo of Gracia when she was in the musical Summer Holiday with her backcombed hair (cockney rhyming slang for hair is Barnet Fair) so the title High Barnet fitted the photos perfectly.

 Additional project - Mini Album

The Third class I taught was called Kew Gardens and featured lots of 'fussy cutting' of flowers.

Additional project - Twisted Cards

I think that's enough for one day so will return tomorrow - if I remember with the three pages I made for the challenges.  

Reasons to be cheerful:

1.  Finding time to be creative.

2.  Inspiration from the other DT members with their beautiful classes.

3.  Feeling really happy due to the amount of time spent making stuff.