Friday, 31 December 2010

Nearly 2011 Rocking My World Friday

Firstly - where the flip did 2010 go? I mean... really!

So obviously top of my Rocking List is going to be Christmas. Because, I don't know if you noticed but that happened last week. There was a definite shift in mood this year. The last few have been pretty, well, putting on a show for the kids type of thing you know? I know exactly why - Mum always came to us for Christmas day and it just hasn't been the same without her.

I hit a black spot around the middle of the year and it affected everything - I kind of shut down. Crafting was minimal if at all, everything got on top of me and I cut myself off from family and friends and just fell behind on absolutely everything. I don't know why it affected me more this year in particular - 3 years on.

Towards the end of the year I started to come out of it again and am starting to feel more like myself. This Christmas has been a happy one again and I have a definite positive attitude for 2011. I think it's time to start living again rather than just existing.

On a completely shallow side I got lots of lovely pressies from friends and family who really seem to have 'got' me this year. Lots of books and crafting tools - a sewing machine, a wood burner, paints, brushes, pens, promarkers and handmade gifts. So thank you everyone :)

Craig's Mum made us a crocheted blanket for our bed, that really surprised me and I love it - it must have taken forever. I will try and get a decent picture... it's so snuggly and warm.

My sister found me a DVD of a film that I adored as a child, it was one my Mum had taped by accident one night when she was taping the film before it and had just let the video run through the night. Not like our exact timings of today or 'On Demand' TV. It became a firm favourite of mine - I can't believe my sister remembered it...
She commented to me that she had forgotten just how old it is - so old it's not even black and white, it's brown and white! It's a real feel good film, no blood, guts, vampires or monsters at all. Of course the rest of the family groaned and sent sis daggers when I opened it - they don't share my appreciation for the oldies. Though Devvie actually sat through the entire Miracle on 34th Street when it was on TV last week - the original version!

GABlinkLink

I have my first blog post allocation for Gauche Alchemy in January. When things were getting on top of me earlier in the year the lovely Amy let me take a step back while still remaining on the team. I still did the newsletter (my baby!) but not so much the crafting and blogging. I'm happy to be coming back on board and excited to be a proper part of the team again.

Lastly all you bloggy peeps, wherever you are in the world. I've been priviliged to meet some wonderful people through this little blog. Some I've even been able to meet up with face to face. I feel a very lucky girl to have made some fabulous, not to mention super talented and inspirational friends and you don't realise just how much you've all helped me this year.

*Quick smooshy group hug before I go even sillier*

I really hope Virginia continues on with Rocking Your World Friday as it really does make you appreciate the good things going on. Why not join us next year?

I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative New Year :)

2011? BRING IT ONNNNNNN!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

New Year WOYWW

Ooh blimey I forgot what day it was! Still - time yet to join in. Though my desk is a disgrace and not with the excuse of crafting...

This lazy mare still hasn't put most of her pressies away. I don't know if you are like me but I love leaving them out so I can still "oooh" and "aaaah" days later. But I know I really must stop gazing and start putting away.

The Hetty hoover is a pressie from one of my sisters who lurks on my blog it seems - it came with a note telling me she expected to see a tidy desk this Wednesday. Sorry Sue! *shamefaced* She gives the best gifts, lots of thought... which usually make me laugh!

Father Christmas got it spot on this year and this blogger was thoroughly spoilt! This is me realising that Craig had popped a sewing machine under the tree...

...and the exact thoughts going through my head here were "I wonder if everyone really wants a roast dinner... will they notice if I slip off to play?..."

I will stop ogling and start tidying up tomorrow. After the New Year I have to start clearing out what will be my craft room (stu-stu-studio) at the unit and prepare to start moving stuff down there. So, need to be organised and ready.

Happy New Year WOYWWers :) And here's wishing you a happy, healthy and crafty 2011!

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrilliant Christmas Card

No you haven't got deja vu... I know I've shown him before but after doing a bit of blog hopping I thought I would drag out the pic of my one and only Christmas card this year to enter him into this months Stampotique Designers Challenge.
The criteria is to create a project that includes at least one punched shape and one die cut shape or image! Think this scrapes through... the dripping snow is a Martha Stewart punch (who knew it wasn't just good for blooooood?) and the tag must have been die cut at some stage in it's life? Worth a shot!

The snowy background is packaging card that has been edged with stamps. I used the Stampotique snowman that a lovely blogger sent me in a batch of Stampotique stamped images. The snowballs and wool came from my Gauche Alchemy Wedding Night White kit. And I have stickled everything to within an inch of it's life.

The sentiment is printed off the computer using one of my favourite free fonts. (Burton's Nightmare.)


Slightly off topic... Craig not only went on to get me a sewing machine for Christmas but I ordered the above Snowman stamp, Peggy and the kitty cat from the Stampotique site the other day... and he told me to put it on his card! Should I start to get worried now? Or should I just enjoy it?

I'm opting for just enjoying it at the mo! Who needs flowers eh? ;)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Rocking My World Friday!

It's Friday but not just any old Friday... It's CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS Eve!

So Rocking My World this week is having a white Christmas - I know it's been a pain and it's limited what we can do and where we can go and thousands if not millions of people have been inconvenienced in one way or another... and we've all had enough of it by now... both Craig and Devvie have both taken a tumble and it's cold... sooooo cold. I've been one of those people moaning about it for weeks now. But you know what? How magical will it be for that little part of you that still secretly wants a white Christmas every year? To open those curtains tomorrow and get your wish? I wont have to go out - just enjoying Christmas day, inside, with my family and there will be a white Christmas. Ours is nearly all gone now but I'm hoping that last little bit on the green outside stays just for one more day.

If it melts by Boxing Day all the better so we can go see Craig's parents.

My Alice Angel back in his rightful place atop a black tree surrounded by red tinsel and bright red berry lights. Doesn't he look right at home? A gift from Ewa last year. He's lived on my desk all year awaiting his time to shine again and look - there he is.

Blimey but my tree looks possessed when you walk past the window. All you see is this huge black thing with red glowing lights. Vay cool if I do say so myself and nope - this was the one bit of Christmas I did indeed put my foot down on years ago. Black tree, red lights, Alice angel. Tick, tick annnnd tick!

Going to Tesco's today for some final bits and pieces. On Christmas Eve! I know - how could that possibly be on my Rocking list? But we managed to get around, straight to a till and out in double quick time. Maybe it was because we went early - I don't know but after psyching myself up for wrestling the crowds it was a pleasant surprise indeed.

Outwitting Craig with Christmas for the first time ever this year - in previous years he has usually tracked down where, when and what I've bought him before Christmas Eve's even dawned. He's like a big kid when it comes to getting his presents and would put Poirot to shame with his sleuthing skills. However this year I believe I have out foxed the fox! MWAHAHAHAAR! It's been hard and I have zero nails left but I've done it godammit! I even managed to make him one and get it wrapped before he even had a clue! I'm so glad as well because he seems to have gone all out this year. Usually I present him with a list and he chooses a couple of bits off it. This time he hasn't asked me once. Not only do I have my craft room and PC tower - there has now appeared a large and a small package under the tree! So excited, I love surprises and ask him every year to just get me something he has chosen. Can't believe he really has this year!

Of course I still caught him with his bum in the air under the tree last night trying to feel and guess right up till the last minute. Nope - not gonna happen this year!

Apart from a few sniffles, an ear infection, a dodgy back that is NOT liking this cold and a burned finger with a huge blister (don't ask!) in the big scheme of things, everything considered, we are a happy and healthy family for this coming Christmas. Couldn't get more Rocking than that now can you?

Be sure to pop by Virginia's blog to join in - what's rocking your world this week?

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Happy Clappy WOYWW!

I'm afraid I don't have a piccie of my desk to show you today. It's so boring at the moment - just covered in piles and piles of books and Christmas stuff, I'm trying to make it look at least a little bit less shambolic before Christmas day - don't know who I'm trying to kid.

I do however have...

*pause for dramatic effect*

*Cue fanfare*

The 'before' pics of what will be my stu-stu-studio! (No I will never tire of chanting that in my head!)

To give you an idea of the scale/size of the place, that black desk in the right hand corner is 6 foot long... it is black honest Guv - it's just covered in 6 inches of dust at the mo!

This is the window that Craig reckons he is boarding up - for you see, it opens up into his office ;) Whereas I'm thinking he knows I'm a tea addict and will keep him well supplied so the boarding up will never happen.

As you can see - LOTS of work in the New Year but I still get very excited whenever I see it! I'm well impressed how light it is in there too considering there are no actual windows to the outside. I'm looking at that as no distractions. But indeed it is very light in there.

What do you reckon? Nice sized space methinks. Am going to go from cramped up in the dining room to a whole mahoosive room of my own! Woohoo!

Right, am running late tonight so will get the dinner on the go (tummy is a rumbling!) and then will be popping by your desks. Want to play along? Then surrender your soul to our esteemed leader Julia, just remember to leave a linky so we can all find you .

A very Merry Christmas to all WOYWWers... The regular rabble will get a Merry Christmas later.

Thanks for stopping by :)

*Editing to add* The room is in the unit that Craig rents. It's literally a 5 minute walk from our house - and yes Craig hopes this is the push I need to start selling - he is self employed himself so can help me with that side of things. It's a confidence thing really - I've been using the lack of space as an excuse.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Matchbox Fairy Swap

I participated in a Matchbox Fairy swap over on UKS recently. The criteria was literally to make a fairy out of anything and house it in a matchbox sized-ish box.

This is what I made for my recipient - she is imaginatively named... Buttons, because... well... that's what she's made of.

Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy Her hair is made of purple fibres from the Gauche Alchemy Purple People Eater kit - and her box is decorated with purple tissue paper from the same kit, Scraps of DCWV Once Upon A Time paper and punchinella/sequin waste (on the inside.)

Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy She was great fun to make and I must admit I love her to bits. Think it's the buttons, just love playing with them.

This was the gorgeous fairy I got back from my sender - the oh so talented "Kitty Crafts."

Isn't she amazing? She put her in a coffin because she knew I liked 'different' things. All the fairies turned out so unique - I love taking part in these swaps and seeing the different ways people interpret the subject.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Friday, 17 December 2010

Rocking My World Friday

Yeah! Friday yeah! Last day of school term which means no more freezing cold multiple treks up and down to school each day for a little while! What a great kick start to...

The brain child of Virginia ~ inspiring us all to look past the carpy lollocks and focus on the good stuff once a week.

I missed last week due to my PC just being a complete waste of desk space. BUT the first of my feel good moments is that I am, as of Sunday afternoon, now the proud owner of a new PC tower. Which houses a quad core no less. I say that like I know what it means. I don't. I just know I can now do what I do best which is have a zillion windows and other stuff running and I am zipping around so fast I'm almost giving myself whiplash!

This was supposed to be my one present for Christmas - we've been saving up all year for it - I've been on stash ban since April and am now just about running on empty with quite a lot of things so eldest ratbag Devvie and I have a stash jaunt planned for some point in the new year. The £1 a day savings have been handed over to PC World and we begin again saving up for that... but imagine my surprise when Craig tells me not only will I have a couple of surprise presents under the tree... he doesn't do surprise pressies. He does "tell me what you want and I'll buy it" presents so am excited now already... Yes, not only will there be a couple of surprises but... BUT... how would I feel about him emptying the back room of his unit and turning it into a craft room?

How would I feel?

Aaaaaaaargh!

He has a small 2 room and utility area unit. He would keep the front room and I would have the back one. We would share the utility bit.

1) I help him clean it out. At the moment it houses all his... well, junk is a polite way to put it. Big tools, packing materials, everything gets lobbed in there and it's a state. I help clear it out and he'll build me shelving units etc.

2) I can go down whenever he is there because there's only one key BUT... when the youngest ratbag goes to school of an afternoon I'll have around 2 and a half hours a day to just play. I have to PROMISE when I am there to pretend he isn't there, let him get on with his stuff and I get on with mine *start to laugh manically*

3) I can now get a sewing machine that works and can leave it set up without worrying about little fingers. I can leave stuff out and not have to tidy away all the time, It will be solely my area.

4) Craig gets the dining room back with my just keeping a skeletal craft supply at home, like my pencils and sketchbooks. Obviously my desk will stay but it will be tidy and not covered in towering mountains of wobbly craft supplies, cordoned off with hazard tape.

5) Craig can then start to expand the business because he will be able to go off and leave the unit unlocked while he goes to see other businesses on the estate. Just means buildery types might get a fright when they come in looking for him and find someone caterwauling along to Alice and splashing paint and glitter everywhere.

6) He wants me to use it as a springboard to start selling and he will help me out. He's self-employed so will give me a hand through that side of it. (Or in his words - he wants to pimp my stuff.)

7) It's a 5 minute walk from our house.

8) It's central heated! *sigh*

My one demand was that he wrap up the door in a big Christmassy bow and that I am allowed one, just one occasion when I hear he has a visitor... I get to yell through the interlocking window in my best Harry Enfield/Cathy Burke impression "Young maaaaayun, young maaayun. Would you and your friend like a cup of teaaaa? Ooh young maaayun!" Teehee. Apparently that's a no no. But I might.

Aren't I a lucky girl? When we start clearing it out I'll start taking progress piccies. I'm so excited. I can't decide whether to call it my craft room or declare it an artistes studio.

Next on my Rocking list (yep there's more...) Phoebe and Ruby both doing so well in their Christmas plays. Phoebe's was more a concert type thing and she read a Christmas poem aloud. Ruby's nursery show we worried about - all week she was teary, protesting that she was Ruby NOT Mary. On the day she did get on stage... minus Joseph who was sobbing and so the story was re-narrated as Mary the jilted single Mum... who had a tendency to kick the manger in a sullen sulk... oh joy. It was funny.

Next up - having nearly finished all our pressies. I didn't get as many made this year as hoped - I'm so behind on everything craft related at the mo but it will be different next year. No excuses now eh? But what hasn't been bought now - probably wont get bought. We did stick to our trying to reclaim Christmas. We won a lot, made a fair bit and used a skip load of vouchers that I had earned throughout the year. We'll carry on year on year, I already have so many more ideas for decorations and presents for next year. We're both quite proud with how much thought we have put into peoples pressies this year - tat was off the list. We didn't want to get things that would possibly end up just shoved to the back of the cupboard and I'm hopeful we might have managed it. Of course I could be completely wrong and people will think it's all rubbish but the thought has been there for everyone. It's all more or less wrapped too. Woohoo.

I'm going to wrap up there as this is a bit of an epic post and all text as most of my pictures are still on my old tower... sorry.

So lastly... it's just one week till Christmas! What's Rocking Your World this week?

Thanks for stopping by :)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Mmmmmm Chocolat


It's a whopper review - get comfy. I bought this book for the princely sum of 20p at a library sale.



Chocolat by Joanne Harris


We begin with the exotic and strong-minded independent Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk blowing into the small French village of Lansquenet on the wings of a carnival wind.

Travellers at heart they are at once seduced by the atmosphere and magic of the carnival and the smallness of the community. Vianne takes the lease of the old derelict bakers and prepares to open it as a chocolate boutique - much to the chagrin of the local priest Father Reynaud.
Furious that this woman, this SINGLE woman with child has dared to open up such a shop during Lent is bad enough for Reynaud - but the gall of the woman to open the monstrosity directly opposite his church enrages him. Desperately he tries to turn the villagers against her and is infuriated when one by one they are drawn as if by magic through the doors of the colourful chocolate shop.

Although this sounds a simple tale it is in fact quite intricate. Vianne hides many secrets about her past - the fact that her Mother was a lone parent traveller also, flitting from one country to the next until her death, thereby releasing Vianne from the constant travelling, constant running. But from what? And why does Vianne choose the same existence for herself and her own daughter?
Many people claimed her mother to be a witch - including her mother herself, a cruel name, not one that Vianne likes. She too has the way of the Pagans but refuses to use them for her own self-good. Instead drawing out what a person’s favourite chocolate is, gaining their trust and trying to better their lives.

An interesting and bizarre cast of characters grace the New York style stools of Vianne’s boutique these include:
Armande ~ The 80 year old rebel wealthy widow. Bored with being in constant mourning as her friends and family pop their clogs. She decides to just dress constantly in black but wears the naughty crimson red silk undies in protest. A diabetic with a fondness for the yummier things in life - she constantly infuriates her daughter by chowing down on chocolate and refusing to die.

Caro ~ The afore-mentioned daughter of Armande. The uptight label wearing, twin set and pearls leader of the ‘Bible Crew’, is constantly embarrassed at her Mothers eccentricity. Believing that everything should be prim and proper; a place for everything and everything in it’s place. Armande's place is a care home if only Caro could make her see it.

Luc ~ Caro’s long suffering son. You know the type. Mummies boy. Slicked back hair, shy - Billy No-mates. Too scared to voice his own opinion for fear of his Mother’s wrath he develops a stutter. Banned from seeing his Grandmother Armande because of her corruptive influence he gets the chance to shine when Vianne weaves her own unique magic in a cup of hot chocolate.

Anouk ~ Vianne’s very own daughter. No friends of her own because of the constant wanderlust that has been her life. Her only companion is Pantoufle the rabbit. Her imaginary friend. A bright young girl, vivid in her imagination and as talented as her Mother.
Guillaume ~ The gentle bachelor. Scrupulously neat - his constant companion is his faithful dog Charly. Who is dying. Too afraid to release the dog from it’s suffering and too caring not too he faces losing his oldest friend. Taken under the wing of Armande, an unlikely friendship is struck.

Josephine ~ The battered wife with an addiction to shoplifting as compensation. A beautiful heart hidden beneath a multitude of scars and bruises. The day she targets Vianne’s boutique for her little hobby is the day she turns her life around.
Roux ~ The traveller who sails into town on his barge but doesn’t get the chance to sail out again. Despised by Reynaud and his ‘Bible Crew’ he soon finds the stores and cafe’s of Lansquenet closed to him and his kin. All the stores but one that is.

Reynaud ~ The priest. Obsessed with righteousness and good. Repelled by sinners and their sins, perhaps not the best person to lead a congregation. Hiding secrets galore he slowly develops an unhealthy obsession with the ‘Pagan Witch’ that is Vianne. Believing her to be the cause of all the unrest and change in the village he sets out to get rid of her and her unruly brat too.

To say this book is not what I expected is a huge understatement. I ended up reading this in a day. I initially thought such old fashioned idealisms set in the scene of today seemed so unlikely. The feud between Reynaud and Vianne over CHOCOLATE - preposterous. And yet it worked... although having said that, I have since watched the film and it also works if you ignore the few mentions of present day technology and imagine it set in the past.

Most of the characters could easily be identified as people that wander around many towns and villages in any country. Perhaps that’s why they are so easy to identify with and feel compassion towards. Joanne Harris draws you in completely. What at first I thought was going to be a girly novel was SO not. So many issues are dealt with in the 320 pages - death, murder, suicide, and prejudice, friendship and much, much more. I found the odd paragraph typed in French a bit hard to understand (having dropped French in school as soon as was humanly possible) but these were few and far between, you got the general gist of what was meant.
I found the way the novel was set out extremely clever. It is told entirely through the eyes of Vianne and Reynaud, events are told to us second hand through their own words and thoughts... the whole novel spans just a couple of weeks, though it seems so much more.

I came away from this novel with a smile on my face ~ it didn’t end the way I hoped it would but I still came away satisfied. Joanne Harris encourages people to look inside themselves and find the good. You don’t need special powers to turn your life around - we all have the magic inside us to achieve it for ourselves.

I would recommend this book to absolutely everyone. If you are a chocolate fan then this will be a delicious treat just for the pure and simple fact that nearly every page has some form of chocolate being ingested in the most drool-inducing manner. Whether it be melted down and drunk with Tia-Maria or served warm over croissants. When you pick up this book check your diet in at the door. I will certainly be trying some of the suggestions myself; Joanne Harris gets full marks for managing a veritable chocolate recipe book so successfully entwined within a novel.

Go on - Indulge in some Chocolat.

ISBN: 0-552-9948-6
http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/

Oh and for the record - the film, even though it stars the luscious Johnny Depp just doesn't even begin to compare with the book. It is very sickly sweet where the book is actually quite dark.

Thanks for stopping by :)

*This review is adapted from one I wrote a fair while back on Ciao.co.uk*

Friday, 3 December 2010

Rocking My World Friday...


I know, I know I missed last week but it's a double whopper this week so it's allowed.

So last week I had a text from my big sister Donna asking me if I could be in on Friday just gone, around 1 - 3pm. She said there would be a delivery of our Christmas parcels. Thought no more about it. Come Friday there's a knock on the door and when I opened it there's an armful of pressies in my face and peeking round it... yep, my sister Donna. Talk about knock me down with a feather. Why was I so surprised? She lives in Fife, Scotland and I live waaaaaay darn sarf in Kent. There was an emergency that was not so great for her which is why she found herself suddenly in Kent but wowee what a fabulous surprise for me. Plus I loaded her up with my presents for her to take home. So not only fabby to sit and natter and catch up but also tick, tick on saving on postal charges too.

Next up, another visitor from Scotland, although this time she was expected, arrived that very same day. My friend Lesley came to stay over the weekend - feels like forever since she was last down. We've known each other for years and years - my oldest friend... as in time we've known each other - not saying she is decrepit or anything - even if she IS older than me.  We went to school together and then my family moved back to Kent shortly after I left school so now it's a once a year thing if we are lucky.

Ruby hogging Lesley's attention.

It was great to see her, we took the girls to the cinema - for Ruby is was her very first time and we watched Despicable Me - which I really loved so that too rocked my week...


Although we were all sad that Lesley had to head home on Monday, it's lucky she did as the dreaded white stuff finally hit us Monday night... and as usual most things ground to a halt. She would have been stranded here had she stayed any longer - which the girls had been hoping for. Cooper - usually a manic mutt charging round the house and bouncing off the walls whenever we get someone 'new' in the house, took to Lesley like a lovesick puppy and has been pining a little since she left. I can't understand what it was about her that had the calming effect on him - Craig reckons it's the accent. So now we know he has a fetish for ears and the Scottish language. Strange doggy!

Wednesday night we had around 8 inches of snow fall and it didn't stop all day Thursday. Schools are closed, we've had no post, people are panic buying.  I sent Craig down the Co-Op for emergency supplies... he came back with Pringles and chocolate Penguins. Hmm. We have no central heating so our little 'leccy heater is on overdrive and we are working those layers people. So today I am VERY thankful for my £1.50 yummy purple Primark fingerless gloves - they come off for toilet breaks and food prep only. Too much info? I care not a jot. I am also thankful for huge mugs of steaming tea and bowls of hot porridge... and for powdered milk. Not quite as disgusting as I feared! We tested it today - it's there should we need it.

Also the power of radio - we've had Radio Kent on all day yesterday in the background and honestly, the stories coming through of NHS workers battling their way to work, of 4x4 drivers phoning in offering their services to people that need anything - it really has served as a reminder that at least some of this human race are really genuinely thoughtful, decent and caring people.

Next up - Helen and Julia - both messaged me and let me know last week that Alice was on Desert Island Discs. I had been unaware till they told me and I really enjoyed finally catching up with it today. The link is still up for the moment if you'd like a listen. Thanks girls, for not only thinking I'd like it but for letting me know.
Alice the vampire - yum!

What rocked your world this week? Why not pop over to Virginia's and link up :)

Thanks as always for stopping by.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Alice

Hi everyone.Thought I'd post a sketch I did for one of the Rock R.I.P Circle Journal pages that passed through my hands... the actual sketch didn't make it into the journal but a scan of it did. I feel a bit guilty about that but it turned out to big for the book.

I'm starting to get more confident with my drawing and am noticing how the classes I've been doing (namely Suzi Blu and Willowing) are helping, not just with girl faces. I've never been able to do noses but I incorporated one of the Suzi classes into this without even thinking and it really helps.

Still a ways to go till I'm happy, more practice, lots of practice.

I am still doing crafty things but unfortunately - still can't show and tell till the end of the month.

Hope you are all home and warm and safe - it's finally stopped snowing here... for now.

Thank you as always for stopping by :)
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