Monday, 31 December 2012

This is NOT a New Years Resolution!

2013 doodle


If you have to wait till New Years Eve to decide to change something about yourself, then the amount of time it will take to break that resolution will be directly proportional to the amount of time it took for you to decide on that resolution in the first place. i.e not very long at all.

With that in mind, and given I have spent the largest part of 2012 frustrated with my lack of umption to get on and DO something, and preferably something that will pay the nursery fees, I am determined that within the first month of this New Year I will DO SOMETHING.

And it will involve craft, making, mending, fashioning, slap dashing, creating.

And I will sell my wares, my services or my knowledge.

And I will be happy.


Happy New Year to you all and may it bring new and fulfilling opportunities x

Sunday, 30 December 2012

What I have learnt about Christmas - The 2012 edition

Two days left and I will have completed my 365 project (ok, technically 366).

Five Go Blogging 365project week 52

What I have learnt about Christmas - The 2012 edition:
  • Adding a dash of homemade trimmings to a present generates a satisfying amount of oohs and ahhhs on Christmas day.
  • You can have too many lights but too few just looks lame. *adds lights to the sale shopping list.
  • An 8 year old likes to think they they are too cool for toys, but they love them and will happily play with a toy garage bought for the three year old.
  • Boxing Day at Burghley for a brisk stroll is a Stamford tradition (especially if you take a flask of coffee laced with Baileys.) *cough
  • It is never too cold to walk on a beach.
  • Window shopping is not just for grown ups and you are never to young to appreciate quality cookware.
  • It is possible to buy three pairs of shoes for three children in the sales without tears or too much damage to the bank account.
I'll be back again next week with the start of my new 365 project!

I'm joining in with my fellow 365'ers who never let life get in the way of a good photo over at The Boy and Me.

My photos are in my album on the 365project site. I'd be so happy if you went to take a look.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

donut on hunstanton beach

Silent SundaySocialPix - LoveAllBlogs

Sunday, 23 December 2012

365project Week 51

With one week remaining I have been looking back over my project and have identified some highs and lows. I would say they are about equal in quantity and each can be counted on my fingers. So I consider that a success. The remaining 345 photos are ok.

But that proportion is probably pretty good. I know professional photographers take hundreds, thousands of photos to find that really good shot so I'm happy with my tally.

I'm planning a round up of the year before I embark on my next foray into a photographic marathon. I'm not sure yet what it will be. Another 365? Something with more of a theme? Either way, expect a year of photos condensed into a monster collage ;-)

I'd love to know whether you are going to start a project, or carry on. Do let me know and where you are going to publish it so I can watch out for it.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 51

In the meantime, here is week 51. For the record, my highlight this week was the bottle top and my low was the Christmas lights on my bookcase.

I'm joining in with my fellow 365'ers who never let life get in the way of a good photo over at The Boy and Me.

My photos are in my album on the 365project site. I'd be so happy if you went to take a look.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

Silent SundaySocialPix - LoveAllBlogs

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Saturday is Caption Day

So when you come face to face with a rocking horse your first reaction is to...

Picking a rocking horse's nose.


Caption that!

And then don't forget to visit Mammasaurus for more photos begging for your captioning skills.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

365project Week 50

This was the week when we were (almost) late for school.
And it wasn't because the children were dawdling, it was because Mummy wanted to take just one more picture of a frosty gate, or leaf, or glove, or wall, or grass.

Mummy!!! Come on!!!!

Sorry. Just coming.

Now if I had a pair of gloves with a touch screen finger tip then that would save a bit of time ;-)

Five Go Blogging 365project week 50

I loved watching the wee one eat his spaghetti. Who needs cutlery?
I drew, I sewed, I ticked off another present from the Christmas list.
I crunched across the frosty lawn to capture this cobweb.
I papped a front door. Because if I had a tiled path, a twinkly lit up hedge and a wreath, I would want is show off too.
I managed to find one of the few remaining frost covered fence posts at school. All the kids had been rubbing the frost off the rest.
Uncle Martin came to visit and deliver cuddles.
A Christmas lunch out and Jenga blocks will always end in a tower competition.

Only 2 weeks left until I have completed my project.
Should I do another year though? That is the question.
Are you carrying on? Or have I inspired you to start your own project?

I'm joining in with my fellow 365'ers who never let life get in the way of a good photo over at The Boy and Me.

My photos are in my album on the 365project site. I'd be so happy if you went to take a look.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

Bottoms up

Silent SundaySocialPix - LoveAllBlogs

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Saturday is Caption Day

I can go weeks without the children doing anything worthy of a #satcap and yet this week I was spoilt for choice. Thank you Grandma for visiting and giving the Wee One and great excuse to show off in the middle of town, thus providing this photo for your captioning delight!

giant ice cream


Would you like a caption with your ice cream sir?
Yes please!

Our host with the most is mammasaurus so be polite and pop over.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Tis the season to be thrifty...

Tra la la la laaaa
La la la laaa.

Sing along now!

What thrifiness can I impart on you today in the run up to what will be a thrifty Christmas and a nifty thrifty New Year?

First of all I want to share two awesome finds in my new favourite shop Wilkinsons. I went to a different store than I normally go to and found some amazing stuff to help get Christmas swinging and thought you may want to see my finds so that you can hop along there before I buy all their stock!

This heart door hanging (can't call it a wreath really, on the basis that it isn't a wreath) was only three Great British Pounds! How incredibly good value is that?

Wilkinsons Heart Wreath
I am now torn between hanging it on my front door for the next 30 days or install it as a permanent feature in my living room.

And this cute pack of magnets which should be adorning every single fridge in the land was only £1.2(something). I've lost the receipt and there isn't a price on it but the website says £1.50 so I think mine was discounted! (Double Yeah!)
Not only was I wowed by the Christmas and gift ranges but I have a further dilemma and need to decide between these two wallpapers for a feature wall on our stairs.

Wilkinson wallpaper exhibit 1

Wilkinson wallpaper exhibit 2
I am a great believer in good value and I have to applaud Wilkinsons for 1) managing to delight it's customer this week (me) and 2) for coming up with fresh and desirable products in what was a fresh and clean store.

I am only writing this post because I was so impressed and have not been paid or received any products to review.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Well not quite. You see it isn't Christmas until it snows (according to those wiser than myself and of younger years) and so far this year we have avoided the white stuff.

Two Christmases ago, we woke up to a good old dump of snow, and as is traditional in our house, we set off for a quick walk with the dog between a late breakfast, and round two of present opening. We donned our wellies, new Christmas hats and gloves and carved a path through the snow drift at the end of the drive. (Of course that is an exaggeration but we always exaggerate about snow in Britain.)

As we turned the corner at the top of our road, we came across an ice castle. Nothing so humble as an igloo. An actual, 7ft and still rising, ice castle.

Ice castle

The architect and builder had even fashioned ice windows.

I was supremely jealous of his snow skills right up to the point when my toes went numb and the lure of a log fire and mulled wine drew me back home.

I can't wait to see if it snows again this Christmas and to see if our snow architect has submitted plans for his ice castle again this year.

I'll keep you posted.

Joining in with The Gallery and the theme of Christmas at Sticky Fingers.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

365project Week 49


What I love most about winter is that the sun rises late which has two advantages. The first is that the children don't get up at ridiculous-oclock with the sun rising. And the second is that I don't have to get up at ridiculous-oclock to see the sunrise and snap it.

Two mornings this week I have been in a position with my camera to catch it's early rays glinting off my frost dusted car and through my (on close inspection not so clean) windows.

The sun sets early too. So on an afternoon walk you can catch it's warmth shining from behind a grazing pony.

And because it hangs low in the sky, not quite summoning the energy to rise any higher (I know how it feels) it shines straight through the bathroom blinds into your eyes.

Should it not shine, you can always retreat: Into a coffee shop for a a well deserved break; Into the kitchen to make red onion marmalade; Or for a play with some Playmobil.

Five Go Blogging 365Project week 49

May the sun shine on your week x

I'm joining in with my fellow 365'ers who never let life get in the way of a good photo over at The Boy and Me.

My photos are in my album on the 365project site. I'd be so happy if you went to take a look.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

*Sigh* That's better

rutland water

SocialPix - LoveAllBlogs

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Once upon a time, I found a grey hair. It would defy gravity and stick up and wave at me in the mirror, brutally resistant to hairspray, gel or superglue to keep it in check. This stubbornness was a new concept considering every other hair on my head was fine and skull clinging despite all my attempts to create that elusive 'volume'. Why was it that I would spend hours on trying to create a little height, a little air space between my brown fine hair and my scalp and yet I would also spend hours trying to reduce the air space of this one solitary grey hair?

Actually, not grey. White. brilliant white. Of course it is white, given that every other hair on my head is dark brown.

Oh, I look back on those hours of tending to that one white hair fondly. I long for that one white hair. Actually it's still there but now indistinguishable from all the other white hairs.

There comes a time when instead of trying to straighten each hair, tease it into submission or just pluck it out (we've all done it so don't give me that look), I just reach for the bottle. No not that bottle, the other bottle. The one marked permanent, with promises of soft tumbling curls and flicking silkiness just because you change it's colour.

Except those stubborn gravity defying hairs, are still stubborn and gravity defying. Just a slightly different shade of annoying.

Take that grey hairs!

See that? That's luscious silky flickiness!

Joining in with The Gallery and the theme of Colour at Sticky Fingers.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

365project Week 48

I am not the person I was four or five years ago. I do not have the disposable income I had four or five years ago. I have discovered a love of crafting and upcycling. My Christmas shopping list this year hasn't been compiled from the great gift guides of our favourite retailers.I am on a thrifty mission. A mission to craft my way through Christmas. Yes, I will save some money but I will give what can't be measured. My time and love and thought.

And a lot of time and love and thought has gone into my week.

Five Go Blogging 365project Week 48

My Bagpuss mouse, unearthed at the school Christmas Fair, sings "We will find it. We will bind it. We will stick it with glue, glue, glue." This is my new mantra.
My paperback Christmas trees sold out at the fair.
Sometimes the greatest pleasure is free: watching the wee one squeal as he runs.
A cup of tea. Cheap as chips and oh so perfect.
Handcrafted (squished and squashed) salt dough Christmas decorations in production.
A fast paced walk to school burns as many calories as a custard cream biscuit (probably). Who needs a gym membership?
Crocheted snowflakes experiment turns out better than hoped.

I'm not a Bah Humbug kind of person, but the exuberance of Christmas is definitely looking a bit tacky this year.

Hope your Christmas preparations are coming on nicely x

I'm joining in with my fellow 365'ers who never let life get in the way of a good photo over at The Boy and Me.

My photos are in my album on the 365project site. I'd be so happy if you went to take a look.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


If you follow me on instagram or have ever had an idle glance at my instagram box over there on the right, you will know I have a new hobby.

And it seems that I am not alone in my hobby having spotted an article on the Daily Mail website on Monday, remarking on a phenomenon discovered in Mrs Warriner's back garden recently involving Meercat triplets.

As I walk to and from school, as I endeavour to round up the abundant leaves in our garden, as I walk the dog through the streets, you will find me, pausing occasionally, squinting possibly, and whipping out my iphone to capture my latest obsession: fence faces.

They are everywhere. Just stop for a moment or two and stare at a fence and I defy you not to spot at least one pair of eyes peeking back at you.

But why stop there? I have finely tuned my skill of spotting faces to spotting expressions and even animals. For example, cow, horse, emu, Chihuahua, Pekingese, gremlin, ghost, moose and mascara running sad face. I have spared you the long-tailed tit in profile sitting on a branch and the owl chick but please take a look in my instagram gallery.

For for delight and wonder I give you Fence Faces:


So next time you pass a fence, have a look. Ignore passers by staring at you staring at the fence and capture your first fence face. Post it on instagram and tag me or use #fencefaces so I can marvel at your new found friend too.

Joining in with The Gallery and the theme of Eyes at Sticky Fingers.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

365project week 47 - Light

The light may fade too quickly at this time of year but I love that the sun is hanging so low in the sky and all you can see are silhouettes. I love the atmosphere, the stark contrasts it provides, the way it sometimes seems to be shining directly at me, pointing me out as if to say, 'That's her. That's the one who needs make a decision and get on with it instead of procrastinating.'

It is encouraging me to step out with my camera, to get on with those many things on my to do list that need doing while the kids are in school before I get distracted.

I managed a morning of printing with some friends this week which got me thinking about using my creativity in a more productive way and I made countless (14) Christmas Trees and Angels and stars too. So it hasn't been a fruitless week but the spotlight is still shining at me, daring me to do something.

The sun was too quick so my chandelier provided my shining bright moment.
A perfect Autumn walk in the last sun.
Late walk home as the street lights start to glow orange.
Sunlight through a window shining promise into his eyes.
Highlighting the brilliant green moss against a damp dreary leaf strewn path.
My design. My effort. My printing.
My star wasn't shining so brightly but some glitter soon fixed that ;-)

I'm joining in with my fellow 365'ers who never let life get in the way of a good photo over at The Boy and Me.

My photos are in my album on the 365project site. I'd be so happy if you went to take a look.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Friday, 23 November 2012

How To Make Angels and Christmas Trees From A Paperback Book

It is a sad fact that even charity shops have to pulp books after their pages have curled on the shelves too long. Incredibly not everyone wanted to read Mills and Boon 'Christmas Nights' by Sally Wentworth. If I was Sally I would be gutted.

From pulp fiction to Christmas tree in 3 easy folds.

But I have found a craft so simple, so easy, even those missing the craft gene can do it. And in the process we save unloved books from a fate worse than landfill.

Turn unwanted and unloved paperbacks into Christmas Trees and Angels.

I should warn you though, there is one problem making these, especially for a book worm. The temptation to try to read as you fold the pages is IMMENSE and you may find yourself drawn into a fictional world unwittingly. If you resist, these decorations can take less than half and hour to make. If you are sucked in, more like 72 hours.

Here are examples of what you can do with that unwanted fiction...

Simple Christmas Tree made from The Yellow Pages:

One Christmas tree (formerly the Yellow Pages)

Embellished with a little gold spray and a Star:

Paperback Christmas Tree

Blinged baby!

Blinged Paperback Christmas Tree

Here's how.

You want a paperback that is about 120-150 pages long (that is numbered pages, not leaves of the book). If you have one longer, just tear it in half. I know that this goes against all things literary but take a deep breath and rip. Now rip off the cover and bend that spine back. If anyone is hyperventilating at the thought of mutilating a book, have a paper bag on stand by.

For a simple Christmas tree.

Fold each page so that the top right hand corner folds down into the middle of the book.

Paperback Christmas Tree - Fold 1

Then fold the page again so that it meets the middle of the book.

Paperback Christmas Tree - Fold 2

Turn this folded page over and fold up the triangle that is sticking out at the bottom.

Paperback Christmas Tree - Fold 3

Tuck this in.

Paperback Christmas Tree - and tuck

Carry on doing this for every page.

makes a pretty pattern

It will get a bit difficult towards the end as the folded pages increase the volume of paper at the spine but try to get each fold into the center of the book. When all the pages are folded it will stand up on its own in a tree shape.

To embellish it, paint with a little glue and add a dash of glitter.
Or lightly spray paint it.
Add a bauble star.
Make an origami star.
Add tinsel. Okay maybe that is a step to far.

To make an Angel:

Fold the first 20 leaves of the book as if you are making a Christmas tree. Then fold the next 5 or 6 leaves upwards, varying the amount of the second fold for each page to create a fan effect.

Paperback Angel Wings - Fold 1

Paperback Angel Wings - Fold 2

Paperback Angel Wings - Fanning

This is one of the angel's wings. Continue folding pages as you did for the tree until you are about 25 leaves from the end. Then repeat the upwards fold for 5 pages reversing the order of the fanning effect in order for your angel's wings to be symmetrical. Fold the remaining pages as you did for the tree.

To complete the angel glue a bauble on the top for a head or a polystyrene ball or ping pong ball. You can spray paint it or glue and glitter it to create your desired effect.

turn a book into an angel

You don't have to use a book if you find you cannot bring yourself to do it. You could use a quality magazine (as long as it has a glued spine) or a catalogue.

These are seriously easy and hopefully I have inspired the bloggers who are making decorations in aid of The Society of St James, a charity for the Homeless. If you want to know how you can get involved to add a little Christmas cheer for the homeless of Southampton, then visit Mammasaurus blog to find out more.

Tots100 Experience Days Competition