Saturday, 31 March 2012

Saturday is Caption Day

Mealtimes can be a bit like feeding time at the zoo, except zoo animals are less vocal and showy-offy than my animals.
Zoo animals will grab their food and retreat. My animals lark about, have a laugh, scream a bit, wander off, and then say "I don't like it".
I may trade them in for chimps, or penguins.

Look, see what I mean?

Slap a caption on it and then slap some more at Mammasaurus.

PS. Just in case you didn't know (where have you been?), I've been shortlisted in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards and I would be obliged if you could place a tick next to my name in thereby issuing me a vote that gets me one step closer to the red carpet. Just click the badge. Much obliged x

PPS. I've also been nominated in the Best Photographic Blog category of the MAD's. This is just getting embarrassing but I have to mention it, and then I might just ask in a casual way if you fancy voting for me? So, thanks, and all that.Click the badge ;)

Saturday Is Caption Day
Snap Shortlist
MAD Blog Awards 2012

Thursday, 29 March 2012


There must be something wrong with me.

First it was the carpet and dusting off the ancient Vax machine, searching online fruitlessly for some instructions before conceding to the "suck it and see" rules of experiementation and sudless anti-foam carpet shampoo. The results were considerably less wet than expected and considerably cleaner carpets than expected. But I was audibly shocked at the colour of the water coming out. As a side effect, ancient carpet cleaners make for great upper body workouts.

Second was the underwear drawer clear out. Odd socks, heel-less socks, elastic-less knickers and wireless underwired bras were confined to the recycling bin. Not to be recycled into anything useful in my house despite my best efforts to visualise sock monkeys with no noses, but to be sorted by the council into rags. It was therapeutic but I now have no underwear.

Thirdly I have been washing (with actual soapy water in a bowl and sponges and drying cloths) my skirting boards. This was an amazing feat in itself but it was, in fact, a precursor to touching up the chipped paint where my hoover bashes into them whenever I drag it out and use it in anger (no other way to hoover in my household management manual).

Fourthly, I have weeded 3/4 of my 'flower' beds. This in preparation for a drought when nothing survives in my garden except dandelions.

Should I seek medical help? Should I at least have a lie down and sip gin? Should I start a cleaning company?

I have considered all 3 options, albeit the last one only very fleetingly, and the answer would seem that it is an annual infliction that I seem to recall occurring at a similar time last year. Yes it is the over-rated Spring Clean. Thing is it is getting worse every year and I have heard it can be age related, symptoms getting progressively acute as you age to the point of cleaning on a daily basis. I know, shocking isn't it! Who knows where this could end. I might actually wash the floors next.

Should I be worried? Is there a cure? I was quite fond of my loathing of all housework. I even discovered a name for it: Domesticaphobia. It would have been called Oikophobia had I been writing this post in the period immediately after WW2 and had Robert G. Moeller been reading it who invented the term in relation to slacking wives.

I like my Domesticaphobia status so please can anyone make any suggestions for what, on the (polished) surface of things, seems to be a cure?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Look Closer

This is a photo of my front door. Close up.


This is the door that I pass through 10 times a day, at least. I take it for granted. I don't even notice it but it keeps me safe when I am inside, is a doorway to a new day and new opportunities, and welcomes visitors. It holds a certain charm and beauty up close but stand back and all I see is glass that needs cleaning more often than I can bothered to do it.

I am amazed by the beauty in things when you take some time to actually look, examine, turn something a different way to create a shape. I seem to be doing this all the time, looking at colours and textures, looking up and down, and seeing beyond what is there. I think this stems from my increasing interest in photography, joining in with the Gallery and doing the 365project. I am constantly looking for another image.

But it has gone further. I am wandering round charity shops and I spot a cotton top. Only I don't see a cotton top. I see a dress for the Princess. I am looking for things that can be turned into something else, a bit different and I can't stop myself. I walk over a rippled paving stone to aid the blind at a road crossing and I see a really lovely pattern and take a photo of it. I boil wash a jumper and (cry) see an infinity scarf.

It's driving the kids mad. "Can we go now, Mum?" "Yes, just as soon as the sun has moved a little further round because that is going to make a stunning shadow." *sighs from the children*

But I am so absorbed by it, and I am loving the thrill of my finds whether they are visual or material. And I'm not going to stop any time soon.

In the meantime, sorry door. I promise to take more notice of you in future.

I am joining in with this weeks Gallery and the theme 'Extreme Close Up'.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The £1 Dress

I love a bargain.
I also love a rummage.
I love creating things.
I love sewing.
I love the smile on the Princesses face.

So can you imagine the skip in my step when I delved into my local charity shop and came out with this little cotton top for the bargain sum of £1.

cotton print top

It was the fabric that drew me to it. I loved the bright blue and orange print and a little bit of me hoped that the top would fit me. [I can't ever bring myself to try clothes on in a charity shop. It is the smell you see].

It didn't. Too small. Must diet.

So instead I cut it up. Or partially deconstructed it like this.

cotton top

cotton top cut up

Then I had to wing it.

I wanted to keep the yoke section and then have the dress attached from that leaving it sleeveless.
I took in the side seams of the dress and then gathered the top of the front and back of the body to fit the width of the yoke.
I then cut bias strips out of the excess fabric from the sleeves to finish the arm holes.
I attached the yoke front and back and then finished the edges of the yoke.

Not the neatest of jobs I have to admit but for a £1 slip-on dress I was chuffed.

And the Princess? Well she doned her model pose and declared that it was lovely!

upcycled girls dress from adult top

Am I alone in wandering charity shops looking for things to cut up?
I'm going to start my own club.

Monday, 26 March 2012

This is NOT Snap Slappers

Nope this isn't the place where photos turn into tweenage girls trying make up for the first time and have eyeshadow all over their eyes, literally all over, in a lovely shade of blue and lipstick applied straight from the stick, liberally and mascara accidentally pocked into the eye thus creating tears to wash away excess blusher in pretty pink streaks.
No self respecting photo should have to go through that.
Shouldn't be allowed.

But it is a giggle isn't it?

I love tweaking and twiddling and fiddling those photos into submission and I have loved seeing the effects and techniques you have used over the last 20 weeks. But I think it is time for a little rest. I think you must all have been picnik'd out because there were only a few hardcore picnikers here last week and I know when a Snap can be Slapped no more.

So no Snap Slappers this week. Don't worry, it will be back when batteries have been recharged and when I think your creative picniking juices are flowing freely again.

Instead here is a little montage of my Slapped Snaps, all to 'help' you make a decision on who to VOTE for in the Snaps category of the BiBs. Have I mentioned I have been shortlisted?

If you have been super organised and Slapped a Snap then go ahead and use the badge, let me know and I'll add a link here.

Happy snapping everyone :)

Five Go Blogging Snap Slappers

Saturday, 24 March 2012

365 Project Week 12 Round Up

Spring has sprung and Five were outward bound this week. Walking, playing, screaming (at the funfair) and shining.

FiveGoBlogging 365project week 12

My week started with Mothers Day. But then I suspect yours did too unless you are not a resident of the UK in which case it might well have been Fathers Day (Spain). Did you Spanish Dad's get flowers and homemade cards? I did.

The sun had the daffodils bobbing their heads at me so I thought I would recognise one daff in particular that caught my eye and see if it would say 'Cheese!' for me. It didn't but I still think I captured it's smile. And then my bracelet smiled at me while I was sewing a dress for the Princess. I think it approved of the fabric.

There is a time of day when the sun is going down at the back of our garden, when it flickers through the low branches of the tree. This was when I was bringing in my DRY washing off the line *little celebratory cheer* and decided to hang some of it back up again (mad) to take a picture of my pegs.

And when the sun didn't shine we brought our own glow to the day by looking through glowstick glasses.

Stamford has some serious history attached to it and I walk passed a little slice of that everyday in the form of a row of houses. They are stunning. White, four stories, balconies on the first floor, a slice of my towns history and yes I would love to live in one of them except they only have courtyard gardens so wouldn't really be practical for Misty Moo. Phew. Thought I was going to have to move for a minute then.

And to end our week we forced the kids to go to the Fair. I know, but we insisted they eat sugar and have fun at this other piece of Stamford history. The picture I added to my 365project seems to confirm they hated it, when secretly I think they loved it.

How did your week shape up? Just being nosey, you understand.

For more 365project photos head over to The Boy and Me.
And you may have heard (have you heard?) I am on the shortlist for a BiB Award recognising my photography. Should you agree that I am indeed worthy of an award please accept my invitation to vote for me in the Snap category and click on the pretty pink and green badge below :)

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Snap Shortlist

Saturday is Caption Day

You know when you have a fair in town and the kids get uber excited about it and there is no way you can avoid the inevitable?
Yeah, that.
So *pretends to put on enthusiastic face* we went to the Lent fair which is very traditional and comes to town at this time every year which is why it is called the Lent Fair. In olden times, it would come to town and you would have your fortune read, you would throw wet sponges at the mayor and you would dunk a wench. Times have moved on and now you have the privilege of throwing £30 down the toilet eating sugar in various forms, trying not to throw up on very large spinning rides and negotiating with children about how many things they can go on.
After the tea cup incident (another time, the wounds are still too raw) we managed to get the princess on a ride, supervised and supported by her big brother.

Stamford Lent Fair

Safely installed at home and without too many scars I'll be slapping captions all over the other entries at Mammasaurus. I dare you to do the same right after you have applied a caption to mine obviously :)

PS. You like my photos right? *retorical question* *cough* I've only gone and been shortlisted in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards and all that stands between me and a super duper trophy and an embarrassing acceptance speech is your VOTE so be a love and furnish me with a vote by clicking the BIB badge below. I'm under the Snap category. Much obliged x

Saturday Is Caption Day
Snap Shortlist

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


We have a tin of colouring pencils that Grandma gave to The Big One.

They originally belonged Daddy when he was a boy and have been sat waiting in their box for a new owner. I can only imagine that Daddy was not the budding artist that The Big One aspires to be, given that only a couple of them were worn down at all and all the pencils are still there, nestling in a row in their tin.

The Big One uses them almost everyday to create one master piece after another, a robot, a pirate and machine that shoots out fire and has a holding cell for when the big claw catches baddies. You know, that sort of thing. He loves those pencils and makes sure they all go back in the tin when he has finished. They sharpen really well, not like those cheap ones that break as soon as you have sharpened them to a point, mocking you as you waste half the pencil.

pencils in a in

When I look at his picture though, I don't see pencils lined up. I see moles, little multi-coloured mole noses, peaking up above ground before they dig another multi-coloured hole in your garden.

Their eyes are shut.

Now why don't you take a look around Sticky Fingers' Gallery.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Snap Slappers Wink Wink

We've had some good weather recently. Good enough to get out to the garden and tackle the undergrowth.

I was actually embarrassed today when my Mother-in-law/green-fingered-gift-to-gardens came over and had a wander round our garden with the Wee One.

She is polite and tactful enough to only comment on the green stuff that is growing in the shape of what may be recognised as a plant rather than a weed. Having said that, a weed is only a plant that is growing in the wrong place, so I like to feel that my garden is a refuge for all plant life and no healthy plant will be dug up or weedol'd unneccessarily.

After our forray to Wales a few weeks ago we returned to sunny Lincolnshire with a sack full of stones from the lovely beaches that we found, stones that would one day be painted, and adorn our windowsills. Or not. In fact they found their way into the garden to create a 'feature' pile of stones in a derelect corner of the herb garden.

On their journey they meandered onto the scrubland that was once a lawn and I swear they winked at me.

creating a gif
"'Ello darlin'" courtesy of Picasion

They may also have wolf whistled or was that my post lunch imagination?

Who has been playing with photo editing this week?
Snap Slappers (Anonymous) is in session!

Five Go Blogging Snap Slappers

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday mocha beanie mummy

365 Project Week 11

What I have learned from this week in photo form:

FiveGoBlogging 365project Week 11

  • Sunday. Best way to christen a new sink? Rinse painting sponges out to make a techni-colour mess.
  • Monday. The first project for the summer needs to be a new sandpit.
  • Tuesday. Stash of beads = inspiration for my next Pinaddicts challenge.
  • Wednesday. When baking always grease the tin or use parchment or both. Non-stick pans are not that non-stick.
  • Thursday. The Wee One has mastered the difficult and messy task of drinking from a carton.
  • Friday. Disturbed nights and no afternoon naps make for a sleepy Wee One.
  • Saturday. Red party bag sweets REALLY turn your tongue red. REALLY red.
What did you learn this week?

For more 365projects go over to The Boy and Me by clicking on the badge.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mother's Day My Way

I love Mum

Mother's Day tomorrow and I am having wistful thoughts about what a perfect day would look like:

8.00    Gently waken to the song of birdsong, the sound of a tea spoon in a china cup of of  Earl Grey Tea and the aroma of bacon grilling.
8.15    Breakfast arrives on a tray, with flowers freshly picked from our cottage garden.
8.45    Laptop, papers and coffee
10.00  A country walk, in the spring sunshine en famille with Misty Moo
11.30  More papers,  laptop and coffee. Perhaps a slice of fruit loaf toasted with a knob of butter
1.00    Luncheon of roast beef, yorkshires, cauliflower cheese, and rhubarb crumble and custard for pudding
3.00    Snooze on the sofa
4.00    Play with children
4.05    Resume snooze
5.00    Tea with cucumber sandwiches, pastries and scones.
7.00    Children retire
8.00    The Help on DVD.
10.00  I retire to my feather-downed bed satisfied that I am the perfect mother.

Alternative and more realistic schedule:

6.00    Rudely roused by sound of argument interspersed by books being thrown.
7.00    Give up and watch TV in bed. Cbeebies obviously.
8.15    Breakfast arrives on a tray, with flowers freshly purchased from garage.
8.45    Laptop, papers and coffee. I've been promised this and I will not budge until I get it.
10.00  The Big One goes to cricket.
10.01  Princess and Wee One 'help' me make cupcakes. I will hide one in a cupboard so I get to taste them.
11.00  Coffee that will probably go cold while I arbitrate licking of icing bowl.
1.00    Luncheon. Think sustenance rather than Masterchef contender.
3.00    Snooze on sofa / have head sat on by Wee One / argue over which film to watch.
5.00    Assorted food stuffs shuffled on a plate followed by cupcakes licked clean of icing.
7.00    WW3 or what is more commonly known as bath and bed time
8.00    The Help on DVD with wine and possibly chocolate.
10.00  I retire to my uncomfortable memory foam bed content in the knowledge that I have earned my Mother's Day stripes.

I love them more than can be written in words and Mothers Day is about celebrating and thanking your mother for all the work she does in the year to make your life happy and comfortable, so it should be about spending quality time together. Equally it can be a restful day where Mothers get a rest. I will be trying to achieve the perfect balance. Quality time together while they are happy and playing nicely and feet up with a book and headphones when they start to get more fractious adopting the "someone else's problem" pose.

Seems a good balance to me!

How do you think your Mothers Day will span out?

Saturday Caption Time

The good news is Mr Grasshead has grown a head of hair.

The bad news is...

Mr Grasshead


Think up a caption and post a comment and I'll send biscuits. Can't promise when, but I will definitely send biscuits.

Done? Okay, now you can visit Mammasaurus for more captioning fun. Click on her badge below.

Saturday Is Caption Day

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

You Choose by Nick Sharratt & Pippa Goodhart

Have you read "You Choose" by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart to your children? Well when I say read, it is more like played.

You Choose

On each page you choose something to create a story. A friend, a place, a house, an outfit, a mode of transport, a pet, a bed, furniture.

We now have two copies thanks to Bookstart which I shall be eternally grateful for (possibly). The children love this book and we get to play it almost every night. But the novelty has started to wear off for The Mr who refuses to read/play it anymore due to all permutations of the story being exhausted (in his opinion). Although technically that would require reading it every night for the rest of his life and possibly the lives of any grandchildren that may be produced in much future years.

However, I quite like it in smaller doses and decided I would give you all a little treat and reveal my choices from this evenings reading/playing. I know, exciting stuff huh? Hold onto your seats, this could be fun okay.

You Choose
Right now? Up a mountain. Listen! Yep, silence.
You Choose
Bless her. My Aunt Betty Blacktooth.
You Choose
Ptolemy and Persephone. They have anxieties.
You Choose
Wherever I lay my hat... or council tax avoidance.
You Choose
The essentials for a party: disco ball, toilet and lava lamp...
You Choose
and cocktail bar! Gin sling anyone?
You Choose
Party bus. More accomodating than campervans!
You Choose
If drunk, chocolate, yogurt and kebabs. If sober, other.
You Choose
Kimonos are so this season. And big pants.
You Choose
Should road travel bore me, I shall fly on my pet dragon.
You Choose
Flexible working, and you get to spy through windows.
You Choose
As if you need to ask!
You Choose
Not sure how I'm going to fit that in a bus/campervan mind.
N'night* x

*This salutation may be premature. Please feel free to revisit at bedtime :)

For more bedtime stories check out Mumsnet's list of recommended reads :)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Snap Slappers Crufts Edition

I am a dog lover. Therefore I should love Crufts.
Actually I am not a fan. Most breeds just look plain weird. Take this one for example.

No I didn't create this but I would have if I had thought of it first! Of course my version wouldn't have looked anything like this. Probably closer to a 1000 piece jigsaw after the Wee One had chucked it out of the box, walked all over it and then fed a few pieces through the letterbox.

I don't like dogs that are any shorter than my knees, that have a yappy bark or can't see through their fur. It's just a matter of personal taste but I will always fall for the mongrel, the daft dog with the wonky ears that jumps up to lick your face. So Crufts isn't really my thing, apart from when they do working dog demonstrations and I am proved right that dogs are cleverer than most people.

Take Misty Moo for example.

I'm sure they could be trained to do anything, like an international spy for instance.

See I knew I was right.

Although a lot of the lovely bloggers who join in with Snap Slappers often follow my lead and stick with my theme for the week, there really are no rules about what you decide to tickle with the photo editing brush.
Just thought I would mention it!

So have you been slapping those effects on or just giving your photos a light tickle?
Join in and welcome to the more is definitely more school of photo editing!

Five Go Blogging Snap Slappers