Silver Crow Project

Rocking My World Friday...

...on Friday? Is it Friday? I believe it is! On time!

It's one of those sifting through the poop posts this week - please, excuse the "erm..." noises coming from this side of the screen. That would be me thinking!

Firstly has to be Baby Monster Ruby, reaching 4 this week. Can't believe it if I'm honest - time has literally flown by. She had one request. A pink bike with a bell. She got the pink bike - we just have to get the bell to go on it. Had to laugh as she was shaking the present from her Grandad (a baby doll) and she's saying "ooh this is a big box, there might be a bike in here..."
Laundry folding. Hate that job. Takes FOR.EV.AHHHH! However, it's made slightly more bearable when I have two little (not very helpful) helpers!

They ended up rolling around in the nice clean washing, tossing it up in the air while giggling and wuffing at each other. Partners in crime! Definitely make a rubbish job more fun!

Next, signing up to the Marmite newsletter and getting a coupon for a free jar of Marmite in my inbox! Hurrah! Look, for a Marmite lover that is a very big, huge positive right there! Mmmmmarmite! Yum!

Internet seems to be finally fixed. We had a great couple of engineers come out really quickly and sort the problem. Well, quicker than we expected anyway - we were dreading weeks if not months of interrupted internet which would have been a disaster.

Oh, the house has been full of coughs and sore throats this week. Nothing major and no other symptoms. Think the girls and Craig were quite pleased when I fully lost my voice a couple of times there. Apart from an irritating cough it seems to be clearing up.

Loving seeing the autumnal colours creeping through the tree's. Some lovely golden and red leaves are appearing - wish we had the snuggly cool weather to match. I must admit I was not one of the people wishing there had been a hotter summer. I don't do well in heat. Therefore I think it highly unfair that those people have now got their wish in what should be my season. Snuggly cardi's and comfy jeans while you stomp through the leaves. That's the way it should be... I should be allowed my own little bubble of weather to cocoon me. Not to much to ask is it? No, I didn't think so either.

Mr Silver Crow is being spotted more and more. I say Mr, Craig reckons it's a she. Something to do with genetic mutations always occurring in the female or when two of one kind breed another kind it's usually a hen bird... I don't know. He's the bird man... whatever, Silver Crow is getting really big now and turning into a handsome beast I must say. Will have to try and take my camera around with me more, try and get a good picture.

As always, Craig, the girls and the people that keep me sane - you all rock my world. Even when you don't know it!

Thanks for stopping by, if you'd like to play along be sure to visit Virginia and leave a link so we can all find you :)

Married With Zombies

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

"Meet Sarah and David.

Once Upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they’re on the verge of divorce and going to couples’ counselling. On a routine trip to their councillor, they notice a few odd things- the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their councillor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client’s throat.

Meet The Zombies.
Now Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But just because there are zombies doesn’t mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don’t eat their brains out first, they might just kill each other..."
This is the first of three books centering around Sarah and David. A couple on the brink of divorce… that is until the day they find their marriage councillor chowing down on her previous clients. And not in a good way. So begins a rollercoaster ride of zombie bashing, couple bickering and good old fashioned car theft.
The two main characters, Sarah and David, are so flawed in their own ways but both so likeable. The story was told from a first person perspective by Sarah and I liked seeing how she came to terms with the realisation of her flaws and in turn how she dealt with them… sometimes not always quickly enough. They both were likeable, believable and I rooted for them not to be eaten all the way through.
I loved Married With Zombies, it reminded me a lot of the girly fiction my sister reads by the likes of Jill Mansell… but with zombies thrown into the mix. A definite improvement on romantic comedy! I cracked through the book in two evenings and will definitely go on to read the other two.
Book copy - my own. A gift :)

Thank you for stopping by :)

A-Z of Me...

Evening all. Am still around but having connectivity issues again. Our phone line has crumbled, literally, the lovely BT engineer has patched it best he can until it can be replaced but we could lose it again at any time until then :( Good news is that it should all be sorted in a few days. Fingers crossed.

In the meantime here's a quickie post, nabbed from Laura's blog. The A - Z of me, where I so kindly give you all a chance to find out a bit more about me... like you're remotely interested. Just pretend!

A. Age: 34

B. Bed size: Double... I think.

C. Chore that you hate: Can I say all of them? No? Then... ironing. 

D. Dogs: Two. A Jack Russell/Whippet cross - our old lady Lucy, we don't know her real age as she was a rescue doggy but we think around 13/14. And Cooper our Jack Russell boy, he's two and completely mental.

E. Essential start to your day: TEA! Do not expect anything coherent until at least two cups in.

F. Favorite color: Black and purple.

G. Gold or Silver: Silver. I detest gold with a passion...unless in painting.

H. Height: 5’10" (and a half)

I. Instruments you play: Does playing with a wooden spoon on the kitchen worktop count?

J. Job title: Take your pick: Chauffeur, delivery driver, Tea/coffee maker, cook, cleaner, personal shopper, personal assistant... oh yeah, ARTISTE! Ha - no wait, that's in my spare time.

K. Kids: Mummy monster to 3 monster offspring of the female variety, ages 14, 10 and nearly 4.

L. Live: *Checks pulse* Yep - just about.

M. Must haves: Tea. Books. Tea. Internet. Tea. Paint. Paper. Pencils. TEA!

N. Nicknames: Cammie, Cambo, Cambop, Cam and Whoops.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Three, little monsters need recovering from when they make their arrival.

P. Pet peeves: Rudeness. People making improper or zero use of their car indicators. Dog owners that don't scoop their doggy poop. Parents who swear in front of their children... and then blame their little darlings blue mouths on the playground. Parents who smoke over a pram or while pregnant. Finding out I just used my last tea-bag and it's to late to go to the shops (yeah - stay out of my way until I buy some more in that case.) I could go on...

Q. Quote from a movie: "... I'm the exception... " from He's Just Not That Into You - a film I saw for the first time this week. A cheesy romance but I really liked it and I loved that couple, that quote and the whole scene it came from (You all thought I'd do a Labyrinth quote... I almost did! )

R. Rhubarb or Custard: Rhubarb (and evap milk! OMG!)

S. Save or spend: Both. Save, save, save my pennies, spend on paint and books.

T. Tea or Coffee: Altogether now... (who said coffee?) Actually, I do like a coffee when out but always, always, always tea at home.

U. Underwear: Granny pants. Oh yeah baby! Or as my Mum called them - Harvest Festivals :)

V. Vegetable you hate: Don't think I've come across one yet... love my veggies. Oh, no, I lie. Broad beans.

W. What makes you run late: The internet! Complete time suck!

X. X-Rays you’ve had: My arm when I fractured it in nursery school maybe...

Y. Yummy food that you make: Rissolles, Quorn curry, Pickled onion soup, Rock cakes, lemon drizzle cake, Quorn Chilli, Bacon roll (the suet variety not slapped in a bread roll) Veggie stew and dumplings...

Z. Zoo animal: All the big cats. Don't like seeing them caged but on flip side, without places like Howletts etc. how long would it be before they were gone completely.

Well you all learned... not a lot there ;) Normal service of craftiness, artiness, reviews and and rambling will be resumed shortly. I hope!

Thanks for stopping by - if you do the A-Z too, let me know so I can come nosey!

Unicorns vs Zombies!

Hopefully this post will remain at the top of my blog till the 18th - please scroll down for newer posts.

Mad, bonkers Amy's birthday is coming up. To celebrate she's having a Unicorns vs Zombies blog hop.

Really, it would be RUDE not to play wouldn't it? It's her birthday AND she's paying for Mr Linky and everything.
Are you in? I am!


See you there... or I will assume you are Team Unicorn and got eaten!

p.s I NEEEEEEEEEEEED this book!

Rocking My World Friday...

...on Monday. I'll eventually get so late I wont be able to help but end up on the right day!

So - what moments Rocked my World last week? Well, the kids are back to school. No tears. No tantrums. Quite a few smiles actually... There's me thinking the holidays had flown past and now I am wondering if they were ready to go back? Surely not! Biggest surprise was Monster no. 3, usually a prolonged period of absence from nursery brings with it tears and clinginess when it's time to go back. Not this time. She charged in, threw the water bottle in my general direction and I was left standing there like a muppet, comforting arms outstretched and lips puckered for a goodbye kiss. Well. Nice to know I am relegated to chauffeur/bodyguard/general dogsbody with all three of my girls now.

This also meant I could venture out to the workshop where Craig has set up my old desk for messy time.I can't be quite so flamboyant with the "HAYAAAAAH's" as I lob paint, in an over arm arc, straight at the canvas... well it is technically Craig's office after all. *Ahem*

He has also been fabulous as usual this week, not making much comment when I spread off the edge of my desk and onto his, using his printer to prop wet canvasses on and such like. He even indulged in a little more of my "pin-up" modelling today. Remember what I said about if the Gauche Alchemy mama's sent me an apron? Yeah... guess what arrived this week? Maybe NOT watch this space. No complaints from him there - much guffawing more like!

Anyhoo, the old mojo is creaking back to life. The old cogs have started a whirring. There are a couple things making me want to go all Incredible Hulk on their arse. I can't understand why, why, WHY I can visualise stuff so blimming clearly but my hands just wont do their job and recreate what I see in my head. Not much to ask is it? No - I thought not. Another bonus (or not) to Craig working alongside me, I can't have screaming hissy fits and smash canvasses up against the wall and stomp all over them. (Then saying I knocked something over when he wonders what the noise was!) But a couple of things, well a couple of things have taken on a life of their own and I haven't really had that before. You know when you read in books or online, "I didn't paint, this or create that, I was just the tool that brought it to life" - yeah, cue much snorting and eye rolling from this side of the screen - hey, it just sounds corny to me, I can't help it. But, well, with these couple of projects - there has been a tiny bit of that. Just a tiny bit. And I'm loving it. Yeah, you roll your eyes, I'll let you.

Next up - rainbows. Yes, rainbows. Mega huge downpour over the weekend and then looked out of the window and saw a double rainbow.|You can't see it's a double from these pictures but it was and a full arc too!
Best bit though? Monster no.2 and her sleepover buddy charging downstairs so they could come outside to take photos as well. Then, within minutes, Monster no.1 arriving home from her sleepover, jumping out the car with her friend shrieking "Mum, Mum, look!" And both of them, full grown snotty, moody, argumentative teenagers, getting their phones out to take photos too. I just LOVE that rainbows still have that effect on all of them and I hope each and every one of them never ever loses that.

Documentaries. Ooh you know it's coming into Autumn when you start getting some stonking good documentaries on the telly. Am such an addict. I missed a good one on Sunday - my Dad told me today, it was something about doing tests on skeletons of people that worked on the ships round about Nelson's time. Find out how they lived and died. Apparently brilliant, quite gory but really eye opening. Told him off for telling me after the fact, don't you worry.

There is one coming up on Tuesday that sounds really good. It's on Channel 5 (UK peeps!) at 8pm and is called Mysteries Of The Vampire Skeletons: Revealed. Doesn't the title alone just sound fantastic? That's me booked the TV.

I can't sign off without saying how grateful I am that I can cuddle and smooch my family whenever I want to - we all know why I'm saying that. It's always a grateful of mine but some events just bring it home.

This status on Facebook really spoke to me today: (via your brother Virginia.)

"As many updates I have seen today, I would like to pay respects to the 1.5 million civilians that have died as a result of the US invasion of Iraq and the countless more killed in Afghanistan. Let us not forget that it is no less tragic and wasteless a life just because they are brown skinned and live drectly above Oil......"

Very true. Let's remember every innocent life that's been lost. And cuddle your loved ones that much closer. Because you can.

How was your week? If you'd like to join in our look back on the week to search out the good stuff, make sure and link up with Virginia so we can all find you :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Birthday Gauche Alchemy!

Gauche Alchemy hits the ripe old age of THREE this September and there are celebrations a plenty over on the blog! Already two giveaways have gone up - the chance to win a huuuuuuuuuge THREE MONTH subscription to the Acme Kit and the chance to win one of the brand spanking new Going Postal kits. There's also a post from Septembers guest designer Dina Wakeley! Much, much more partying, fun, festivities and frolics are coming this month and all through September.
What are you waiting for? Join the conga line and head over... I have a copy of Black Lace doing the Birdy Song! Who's with me?

Drawn in by Julia Rothman

Blurb - Drawn In presents an alluring and amusing collection of sketchbooks from this diverse, fascinating pool of contemporary working artists and designers. The book features large, full-colour photographs as well as profiles and interviews with each contributor.

Sketchbooks often feel fresh and alive because they are first thoughts and often not reworked. Catch a glimpse of these usually very private pages where artists brainstorm, doodle, develop and work on ideas, and keep track of these musings. You will see how they use their journals to document their daily lives, produce their initial ideas for bigger projects and practice their skills. Using a variety of media from paint to pencil to collage, these pages can become works of art themselves. See how these pages capture the artists' personalities along with glimpses of their process of working and inspirations.

This book is literally pages and pages of sketchbook glimpses. The book appears to be a spin-off of the authors blog Book By It's Cover, a place where she shares her love of art books and started a 'little' feature showcasing the inside of artists sketchbooks... I will put my hands up now and admit I had never heard of Book By It's Cover... but then I have never heard of a lot of the people that write craft and art books. I know what I like just not usually who made/painted it.

This book is quite simply gorgeous. A real feast for the eyes. I am a real people watcher, I love to sit on benches in shopping centres and watch, making up stories about the passers by. I love to read blog posts sneaky peeking inside people's studios. My guilty afternoon pleasure used to be Through The Keyhole before they started staging it a bit to much. So to be able to see inside so many sketchbooks at one time is just, well, like handing over the key to the secret chocolate stash. It's such an intimate thing for the people involved to show, accompanied with short interview questions, it gives a real insight into each particular persons thought process.

What I particularly like is that it's not just one type of creative person showing their books. There are artists, cartoonists, typographers (is that the right word?) so much diversity. I also liked the inclusion of people across the globe - usually I've found craft books are mainly people from the USA which, granted, this book did still have a lot of but I was pleasantly surprised to see people from England, Scotland, Singapore etc. represented.

I took this book away with me on holiday and read it from cover to cover in the evenings while we were away. Since we've been back I've read it again. It's sparked something, I'm trying now to work in a sketchbook every day - whether it be just sticking something in that's inspired or actually drawing.

I'm including a few sneaky peeks of my favourites - there were loads I could've included but you really need to see them up close. I was surprised at which ones intrigued me the most...

Jenny Volvovski, her pages are very clinical and analytical, I found them fascinating.

Jessica Hische - the beautiful typography and her tips on how to get started has me wanting to explore this further.

Laura Park, this is the one that I loved the most, her autobiographical cartoons are just amazing and so funny. I will definitely be taking the time to check out her website.

The only downside to Drawn In was that it left me wanting more - you can see images showing through the sketchbook pages and it's so tantalisingly out of reach. I envy Julia Rothman getting her mitts on all those books and seeing them in ALL their glory.

This is not a "how-to" book, it's a snoop-fest. And I loved it!

Thank you to Quarry Books for sending my copy for review :)

Julia Rothman

I've ummed and ahhhed about whether to offer this one up as a giveaway, it's already quite well thumbed ;) I've decided I'd love to share the absolute huge smile and fizz of excitement this book gave so if you fancy my copy, drop me a line below. Aren't I good? Self sacrificing or what? *Polishes halo*

Thank you as always for stopping by!

Apologies for the weird spacing between my lines, blogger is annoying me. I can't work out how to get single line spacing back.

Rocking My World Friday...

**Picture heavy post - you've been warned!** 

Hi everybody! It's been a while since I've played along with the other Friday Rockers so bear with me, I'll try and condense but I have a feeling this will be a mammoth post!

Firstly I am grateful the move is over. Finally! It's true what they say, it's one of the most stressful things you ever do. When I was younger and didn't have any children I used to move around quite a lot, always restless, never found somewhere that I'd call home, it was always just a stop gap. Moving was so easy, sling stuff in boxes, hire a man in van, rope in some family to help and job was done in a few hours. Throw a partner, dogs, three kids, a shed full of birds (80+) and a business into the mix... I'm never moving again. I don't care if they sell this house from under us - I'll claim squatters rights!

Next BIG grateful is the holiday people being so understanding and moving our holiday ahead a few weeks to give us breathing space... and not charging a single penny to do it either - a rarity these days. Oh what bliss Scotland was. We'd been worrying as everyone we'd been talking to had said how horrible the weather was up there. However we were really lucky, we had gorgeous weather and for the week we were away it apparently rained constantly here, in Kent.

We've been to Drumnadrochit, a small town on Loch Ness, a couple of times now. It's becoming sort of a tradition that on the last day we do the boat ride around the Loch before we set off home. Ruby and Phoebe loved it when the guide let them drive the boat - literally, he sat them down, told them what to do and walked away to continue his spiel about the Loch. The other tourists faces was a picture, especially when Ruby sat down and span the wheel. With a little help she even parked it alongside the dock. They both said it was one of their favourite bits of the holiday.

Castle Urquhart

These two came to see us one evening, we think they are fallow deer, a mother and daughter. They came so close, this was taken from our kitchen window. We also had loads of bird life (Craig was in his element!) and bats flitting around the lodge.

Pheebs (Monster no.2) and me :) at castle Urquhart.

Devvie tried her hardest to get us to sneak this goat into the car. They really took a shine to each other :P

Piper at Castle Urquhart.

Beyoootiful picture of Devvie (monster no.1) and me.

I love Highland Cooo's! The only thing I bought was a mouse mat with one of these gorgeous beasties on.

I'll stop there as I will just upload them all. It was fabulous - we didn't do the expensive touristy things this time, we kept trying to seek out the cheap or free, off the beaten track things to do and it was amazing. We had a couple of costly days like the castle and the boat ride but the rest of the time... we found a tiny little croft tucked away that had an honesty box at the gate asking for £5 for a family! Can you imagine that in most places here in the UK? It would be empty! It was one of our best days too - the kids loved it. Then we found a gorgeous mountain trail when trying to search out a pottery that was signposted "just up the hill." For future reference, if you go to Scotland and a sign directs you "up the hill," what they mean is - up the side of a mountain and down the other side! We are taking better walking shoes next time to explore further.

Anyway - can't wait to go back in 2013! Although, I will say I seem to be taking ages to bounce back from the 12 hour drive this time. I'm feeling constantly tired, my ankles of a morning and evening still swell up and ache... and if I do anything remotely energetic (like park with the girls and their Nanna yesterday) I'm knackered up for a few days afterwards... but on the plus side my back isn't as bad lately so I suppose it's give and take, eh?

Next up, a long overdue thank you to the lovely people who sent cards and gifts at the beginning of the month. I apologise in advance for the truly awful camera work - I am coming to the conclusion that my girls are way better photographers than me!

This wall hanging was sent by the amazing Sam. It now has pride of place in our hallway so it's the first thing people see when they come through our front door...

Isn't it amazing? The corn represents Lughnasadha (August 1st) which is apparently "the first harvest and a time of plenty." The silver crow represents my silver crow which I still think is my good luck omen and, AND, we have seen a few more times since we came here. He's getting big now and still hopping around. I never have my camera when I spot him though.

The corn and crow are Sam's own stamps that she carves herself. Can you imagine how blown away I was to find this hand cut lino stamp in my parcel too? She's used my cartoon avatar and cut a stamp based on that! I mean.. WOW or what? Chuffed to bits doesn't even cut it! Thank you Sam.

Gaily sent this card...

...and this wooden heart which now hangs in our dining room. I think each of the girls has so far tried to swipe it. Thank you Gaily :)

And then these two beauties came from Susie (above) and Helen (below) Love them both. I am nicking that design to try and have a bash at Susie *g* And Helen - you KNOW I am framing that card! Talk about laugh when I opened it, love it! Love them all - thank you girls.

Now, I'm going to try and be really quick and zip through the rest as this is turning into an epic novel...

Yesterday, taking the girls to the park in Hastings and finding a slide that my gargantuan backside didn't get wedged in - in fact, I went down so fast I burnt my bum! But, taught monster no.2 to never, ever say "you wouldn't dare!" as am poised to slide and she runs up from the bottom...

Would I not, now?
Hur, hur, hur!

My gorgeous new boots, a pressie from Craig because my kitties are dying a death (you can actually see through the soles now but I refuse to stop wearing them!)Those charms at the back (a skull and a rose) tinkle when I walk and it sounds like wearing spurs. Yes, I have trotted round like I'm on a horse, yes, I have walked like a cowboy and snarled "get off your horse and drink your milk." Yes, they take forever to put on... yes Craig is wondering why, why, why did he buy them. But that's why I loves him, because he's bonkers!

Another grateful is the big pile of craft books that have arrived for me to review - ooh, there's some goodies there. Have not arted, or crafted...was going to say farted but I would be fibbing about that bit... in a good couple of months but these books are getting me all inspired. I'll be claiming back my afternoons when the girls go back to school tomorrow trying to resuscitate my ailing mojo... ooh and I was able to save my mahoosive desk. It just fits in the workshop attached to the garage so Craig squeezed it in there for my messy play. Another reason I love him! But back to the books, watch out for reviews because I am going to give some away as I review them, they'll have been read by me so not brand spanking new but hey - I know there are more art/craft book addicts out there - it's not just me!

And... I'll leave it there. I will be very surprised if anyone made it to the end but if you read a bit - well done. I am ever so slowly catching up with everyone. Between the girls hogging the PC and trying to make the most of their last few days of the hols and just being downright knackered and out of sorts... well you know how it goes. I will get there eventually.

Thank you as always for stopping by, it's never to late if you want to play along. Just stop by Virginia's and link up!