Ladies Camera Club

31 Dec 2006

Happliest of Newest Yearingtons

Ring out the old, bring in the new… blah blah blah.
I would love to sit and mope about the horrible and ploppy things about this year but REALLY!!! What is the point? You don’t care, I’ve gone past caring and if I add up the wonderful opportunities, events, happenings and travels of this year - it far outweighs the misery. Truly. So a big hooray for those “happiness through tears” situations that makes my life so beautiful.
It has been a very, very good year, though, if I absorb it all and sift out the weak points. My hair went from shoulder length to bob to very short, weight went from nice to wobbly to weird, scrapping went from ok to great to non existent, photography went from P&S to acceptable to addictive snapping (in excess of 15,000 photo’s) and my life went from drudge to mediocre to crapdom then stability. I travelled from England to California, to Florence, to Holland (twice), to Paris, to Spain and about to travel again to Barcelona and Eire. Ive taught in Birmingham, Bristol, Gloucester, Devon and Scotland and about to hit Wales in February too. Ellie’s confidence grew but physically she is looking a little hunched and curved. But that will be fixed with this new physio she is about to embark on. Mark goes to more Liverpool FC games and introduced myself amongst others to geo caching and for that alone I am dazzled.
But, you know, we shouldn’t really sit and analyse this year (as other years) too much as it will inevitably blend into the others we have survived. There are lessons to learn but non too significant that it should change us. We can make a resolution but like dreams, they are something we float on and try to feel good about the fact we took the time to try and make changes – that in itself is good. I like to think some things I have done have changed me but really I am still me. And the beauty of blogging helps me realise that.
If it wasn’t for blogging so much, I would forget the mundane things I did on a monotonous, daily basis. I blog enough to stand public attention but between the lines, remember the other little bits of that day too. You really only see the better side of my day and nothing gets past the “submit” button that you would want to be sent to sleep by (do you really want to know the total of my grocery shopping bill or how much council tax we pay?!!).
And so what if I blog about having a pooey day? Lifes about poo too! I love looking back to any day I choose and recalling the smallest detail without even opening a single scrapbook. I love that I can upload and share my pictures and my slide album and enjoy the comments and emails that follow it. You empathise, you disagree, you share – it’s a democracy I sometimes hate living with but its there. I cry and laugh and stare and hurt and moan and jump for joy……. every day. I love the randomness a day brings be it being morma, wife-like, crafting, photographing, surfing forums, learning new ideas – even doing nothing. So this is why scrapbookers love to blog – its an online album without lifting the herma!
This is our treat for seeing the new year in. Ok, ok, ok - its hardly Krug or Bolly but its our celebration to toast to a new year… whatever it may bring. I made a spag bol (don’t die fo shock, it was shop bought sauce but a rather splendid sainsburys special sauce with pesto and of course a fabulous shop bought cheesecake) We don’t generally “do” shop bought stuff but we wanted to take it easy tonight.
So – 2007?
I don’t want to plan that it will be successful or overly eventful. I have listed a few goals for Ellies sake and am confident that they will be ticked off as they occur. My goal though? Mmmmmmmm, not a tough question. My main treat is Barcelona in February. Its been a dream destination of mine for years. Id very much like an Epson R1800 printer so Im saving for that and Id like to teach a bit of creative photography a bit more often as well as teach at scrapping events. But as long as Belle is happy, Mark is home more often and my camera is working – then Im happy.
Have a wonderful New Year – I will be seeing it in tucked under the duvet whilst watching fireworks on the TV from London. And then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

30 Dec 2006

Playing in the Studio

Well I dont actually have a full blown, photographers dream studio. It turns out that the new den that Mark built me is enough for just myself and craft supplies, projects, albums and knick knacks. So meet my mini studio!! Until we reclaim the dining area of our lounge back - this will do for practice. Whats beautiful about my new den is it is free from inteferring light so it makes perfect practicing until I figure what to do with the mountain of craft stuff I have. Not only do I scrap but I also make cards, sew, paint and use another PC for my Pazzles machine. So I have acquired an awful lot of stuff since 2001 and I can't bare to part with any of it - not even a scrap of card (all my scraps make cards and toppers - for those emergeny fixes). Here are snapshots of the room. Its is pig sty right now and I AM RIGIDLY REGIMENTED about tidyness as a rule. However, this room is still under construction with shelves to be put up and pictures to hang... so forgive me.
I set up the black background for the first time plus my camera and practiced on moaning mini Ellie. Honest, she has a mum who loves taking nice photies and she hates being the subject. Then I practiced on moaning mini Mark and he was just as bad. So if you are up for modelling PLEASE come and play! This was Mark's effort although I have to say that even though its slightly over exposed - he didn't half do a good job. Then I took pics of my new wellies for my geo caching days. I am in love with these monster wellies and saves my trainers and Cat boots from being ruined to death. We are off geo caching in the morning near Abram - I believe there are 9 to find so we will wrap up and go and discover.
I had a lovely email from a lady near me on christmas day who thanked us for bringing geo caching to the world of scrappers. She bought a GPS for her kids and went on their first adventure on Chrsitmas eve. Subsequently they went out again on christmas day. And I believe a certain lil lady in Holland is going to give it a bash. It truly is good, clean family fun and gets you all out in the fresh air. the bonus for the kids is the hunting for clues and the hidden treasure from within. WE LOVE IT.
We went sales shopping today in the Trafford Centre. I only bought a few things including 75% off jewellery pieces for everyday wear, "Big" and "Uncle Buck" on DVD plus some wrapping paper (you know - the nice funky stuff I often use on layouts!!!). I also took a brave step into the Apple shop and calculated my dream purchases to around £2,300 and walked out with only having to spend a penny in the nearly public conveniences!!! Belle bought herself a game for her DS called Hamsters and is hooked. She had an awful lot of saved pocket money to spend and she feels so grown up when she goes to the counter and pays for stuff herself. I admire her new found confidence, especially when she practically jumps for joy over a hassle free transaction with a purchase she is delighted about. And although she had £125 to spend, she didnt part with much. Ive always love that Ellie buys just what she needs as opposed to blowing it on rubbish. Mark bought a shaver after his old one of 4 years died this very morning. He also bought the new Pirates of the Caribean (now I know thats spelled wrong but I can't be bothered to google it neither). We are about to settle down with the last of the Xmas chocs and watch it. And I was so good today eating yogurt, a healthy subway lunch and jacket spud for tea. Aaaah well, new year is but another 28 hours away yet.
Diet will start then.
And resume back to crumbing up the xmas left overs til february, by which time it will be almost valentine and mothers day with chocolates, then easter with chocolates that will last until August. Then I have to buy in the christmas stuff again. Gee.... one day, hey?

29 Dec 2006

For Sale

Oh my poor Fuji. She came, she saw (lots) and now has to go. This was my flagship camera, a true workshorse that makes a lovely clunk when taking a picture. It took 70% of the pictures on my website and so set my hobby to the max. Its being sold (body only) with many extras such as the camera grip, 1gb memory card, fast recharge unit and 12 batteries, lowe pro professional camera bag carrier with room for spare lenses. The body is in perfect order, dust free, strap, and in the original box. The full spec can be found on here and believe me, if I didnt need my Nikon D200 so much, I wouldn't be selling it. I want to buy another D200 as a spare so selling my fuji will help put money towards it. The S2 pro ranks amongst the abilities of a Canon 20D and a D100 for superb results. The fuji S2 Pro has a nikon lens mount which means you can use quality lenses on this wonderful camera. If you are seriously interested - go and make a bid here

And if you haven't yet - go and see this. I LOVED IT. In fact I think I loved it more than Ellie. Completely have an affinity to Mumble. He is my new black in cartoon heroes.
Those feet, those dancing feet ....... tra la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

28 Dec 2006

Goony Christmas

I can't tell you the fun some of my family had with photobooth (mac's in built photo thingy). Even though I've been hacking my guts up with a cough so hacky, I've almost resorted to being "at one" with my intestines...... I did manage to take a break from being grey and yucksome in short, sharp bursts.





Now we are back home, snuggly snug in our cosy home and watching Pretty Woman before Greys Anatomy. I do actually have some nice photo's to share but Im spending time doing something I don't really do and thats chilling out. And coughing. A lot.

27 Dec 2006

BLECH!

s'now fun spending christmas in bed with bronchial flu and a back pain only one can describe as crippling.
Had so much fun though watching belle opening presents, stuffing as much food as we could muster into our "saved" christmas bellies and playing games that any dice could survive the bashing against my mums famous "tempered glass" top.
I have pictures to share but Im just about to enjoy my first christmas drink after getting over the flu from hell. So I'll chink my glass against my computer screen and a small toast to all of you.
Just think - its 363 days to next christmas. Oh what fun.

24 Dec 2006

The Cake..... ahem?

Don't laugh - it's meant to be arty. I was like a kid making this up. Such fun. There were 40 buns to be precise. You may call them cupcakes but actually we call them buns. And there were 40 and now there are zilch. In our tummies along with the rest of the heart attack inducing badness we will gorge on over the next week. Minus sprouts, of course. Blech! Gaddarn orrible things, they are.
Here is the party boy looking incredibly 40. This was taken upon our return from the chinese which I have to say was a good night out. They fussed overe the kids, pampered to our every whim and served great food. It was a wonderful way to spend time with loved one and marks the start of a feast of family spirit. Well, some family spirit shall we say ;)
Gotta go and get ready to roll truly into christmas. Poor Mark is nursing a hangover in bed - so that means I must go and vacuum the stairs. Mwahahahahahahaha.
Have a super squishy christmas and if I dont manage to blog between now and whenever make you you ring out the old (a must for me every year) and bring in the new. As a scrapper that means ditching Skate Shoppe and welcoming Blush. snigger.
I really do hope EVERYONE and that includes - well..... everyone, a very merry christmas.
PS: Its not the law to eat sprouts you know - I wont tell if you dont eat them.

23 Dec 2006

So I was taking a break

from everything rushed and busy until the organisation of the masters b'day. But oh no. Morma and Pappa come a day early, brother cancels, sisters schedule is unknown (eta - she cancelled), no new clothes, food organised, cake stack rearranged, Ellie sorted, my facial session is touch and go whether I can make it or not. Mum forgot her skirt so we have to go shooping to get a new one. Morma and I took a trip to IKEA to get some glasses and napkins and ended up going to ToysRus on the way plus Asda. We did have fun as we rattled along to the Beatles. I played her a medley and she guessed each song within the first few beats. Its hardly suprising as the Beatles started a lot of their songs with the title of their record. Im in such awe of my morma - she went to see them when she was younger .... now that is impressive.
As promised here are photos of our nature walk/geo cache from Thursday. I love this reflection of Glen, Mark and Belle from the canal. I wish the water had of been a little calmer so it wouldethave looked crisp but thats nature for you huh?

The rest of the pics show the gang, marks 50th caches - guess what was in there as a cache treasure? It was a choice of crayons, a yoyo or a medal (uncanny!) and some naturey bits.

Then there was a leaf clinging on for dear life and yet other branches had buds on them. This gaddarn planet's seasons are well out of sync. Just wish it was permanently summer!

21 Dec 2006

oh no - the big four-oh!

Its the masters 40th today. He doesn't look a day over 43. Mwahahahahahahha.
Its so late and no time to do a proper, in depth blog-a-roo today. Spent all afternoon geo caching with Belle and Glen. We walked for miles and took in nature with big breaths. Found 7 caches with treats hidden inside for the kids. Mark couldn't find 2 within the GPS vicinity until hawk eyed Kirsty took over. Hurrah for my fab vision.
Will update with pictures tomorrow and the ramblings of todays promising visit to the physio with Ellie. I say promising because I believe. But I've said that at least 30 times in the past and look where it has got us. Pray for us bloggers becuase Ellie has to learn to walk all over again. Its a long journey ahead of us - let's just wait and see.
Adios.
PS: I have received two unexpected christmas cards today and from whom I have not sent cards to. I feel rotten about that.... who knows any lovely, classy e-cards that I can buy rather than little freebies?

20 Dec 2006

Anita and I bought everything in Wigan.......

..........so don't go shopping there. Its all gone - in either our bellies or bags.
Seriously, that woman can shop. I say that within 1.5 hours she had gotten everything and more plus a bit of a supermarket sweep at Marks and Sparks. A trail blaze of molten lava lay in her wake with women in the queue's having more hot flushes than normal (and believe me - ain't that the thing with Mark and Spark customers whose average age is 45). I LOVE Marks - they have the best food and knickers ever. So from the best shop in the UK to the best value shop in the UK ... the wonders that is Primark. OMG. Have you seen what I got for my money? I love instant gratification on a teeny budget. Little things like this make me happy.

And then these little wooden hearts that I buy from a shop in Wigan called The Bluehouse. It sells the most delish furniture and knick-knacks plus a massive range of East Of India Products. I must have been a magpie in a previous life to love such little trinkets.

I have three more things to buy plus party food for mark's 40th. We have both our immediate families attending plus a few tag-a-longer's. This means dips, chips and stuff to make hips as wide as the english channel. I cannot find a plain iced cake for him so Im thinking of doing a cupcake stack with lavender icing. Trouble is I can't find any fresh lavender sprigs so any suggestions for altenatives would be great. Do they have Lavender essence in shops at all? Wouldn't it be great that if they didn't have this in the shops that someone would make it - I love lavender icing.
Another invention idea I had with Anita this afternon is Sanitising spray. If nobody does it I want to go on the "The Dragons Den" to present the idea to them. Let it be said here first though bloggers unless of course this stuff exists. Ok - reason for sanitising spray? Well public toilets for starters. How many do you visit and find them completely in a state of sewerage? I love to visit loo's where there are seat covers or attached sprays to help keep you germ free when you spend that wee penny ... (tee hee!!!). But wouldnt it be great if you could have a handbag sized spray to keep about you to blast those pesky stinky germs into infection heaven when you next go and attempt to hover over that infested stink pit of a public bog? Girls on nights out, old grannies and those with a lavvy OCD would buy these for sure. So come and sign my petition and get some fat cat pharmaceutical company to make them NOW!
Im off to go and make a 40th B'day card for hubbly and the last of my family's crimbo cards. Are you all excited yet? I soooooooooo totally am (well, after the marathon that is "wrapping presents" is over)

19 Dec 2006

Signed, sealed, delivered - Im yours

Bloody hell and bloodyness of all mighty.
Christmas for me started about 10 minutes ago when everything I have supposed to have done has been done and will be put to bed forever. The cards have been posted (see my special one here made for my extra special one made for Dyan), deadlines complete, photos edited and loose ends all tied up. I thrive on deadlines, I do. I may moan, whinge and panic but they get done and I reckon the adrenaline is enough to give me grey hair before Im 40. But Im done and for the first time in weeks I am watching a DVD with Marko. Ok, still surfing on the bad boy laptop but nevertheless Im having time out with him after the Liverpool match he was supposed to go and see was postponed due to fog. He found out about 100m from the grounds so it was a waste of 30 miles, trying to find a parking space and the gut wrenching news that the boys were not playing - booooooooooooo for fog.
Wanted to share a photo of a wonderful package I received today. No letter or note arrived with it but the post mark screamed "Hebe" and its the most gorgous gift I have ever ever had. It's a lunch box filled with pink tissue and clear baubles filled with ribbon, buttons and beads. I stared at it for ages and took a studio shot of it. Hebe and all my friends will delighted to hear that I have taken a short online course about studio photography. Its about flippin time - I do struggle with it somewhat.
Also - to my darling friend Robyn of Georgia (USA). Your package arrived today and I am blown away with your generosity. Robyn is such a sweet lady who mails me from time to time and whose daughter wanted to send ellie some goodies. In the parcel were these awfully delightful lime cookies, a lantern kit, a fairy, spiced tea, a Pottery Barn catalogue (how yum is that?) and more suprisingly and delighfully a special DVD of Lady and the Tramp for Ellie. I'll take a snap of that later but right now Im slowly getting innebriated on Bud and Lime. Thanks Robyn.
Ho Ho Ho - Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerry Chrismas.

18 Dec 2006

Geo Caching again!

Its been a gorgeous day here in Wigan which means one thing. Get wrapped up, grab the GPS and go and find a cache! Co-ordinates were set, hats and scarves were donned, Ellie chose a small prize to exchange in the cache and off we went strolling. (To understand what Im talking about – go here). Ellie and I let Mark do all the hard work as we discussed various issues from global warming to crop rotations in the 14th century to the industrial revolution in Lanarkshire. Its true! We found a snazzy cache with a number of objects that Ellie could choose from. She chose the spyro game (most of the cache treasures seems to be unwanted Mcdonald toys but nevertheless – they are fun!!) Here we are on the start of our cache and photos of the exchange.

We had a brilliant afternoon finding the different clues around the 3 sisters park (a place I love dearly). Then it was home for hot tea and cake – yum. I love that feeling of cold cheeks that slowly warm to house temperature... all cosy and toasty.
I’ll leave you with photos from a story board Im making about Mark, Belle and I using a new technique I made up using camera settings and a bit of photoshop enhancement. Love Marks eyes in this set of pics and Ellie’s usual squint.

Didn't Mark do well with my picture - I can see his reflection in the catchlights of my eyes.

17 Dec 2006

Engrossed

Ellie, Lauren and I spent some of yesterday sorting my studio out. Its still a dumping ground until everything has its own place - then I can show you some pictures.
Ellie got a little bored part way through and went surfing (sounds like a plan, belle!) and Lauren was so busy sifting through a box of goodies which I gave her. Its funny how stuff I bought a year ago is just not something I might use now. Which gave me an idea...... hold on! The kids who come around for tea with Ellie always ask to make cards or wee projects. I love this becuase it inspires Ellie to have a go. She makes the most wonderful cards and although not perfectly cut (she can't use scissors properly - yet!) she is beaming with her productions, as I!! Lauren and Glenn always go home with a hand made project of sorts and just about any kid who spies the craft den simply love what they might go home with!
Cue Technique Tuesday - a mini after school club we are holding in our home after christmas. You will have heard the name Technique Tuesday before - its a great site dedicated to crafting. As Tuesdays are pretty much a free day for Ellie and I plus the fact these kids will be taught new techniques... we are going for it and have nicked tha name into the bargain. When I see the delight in kids faces with simple techniques such as inking edges or using corner rounders, it makes my hobby that little bit more humble. Now all my spare bits and bobs plus various papers and embellies will be put to good use. Less the fact that none of them are touching my Basic Grey!!!! Oh no!
Happy Sunday xx

15 Dec 2006

Dare's up

Wow - i haven't said that for ages and ages and ages.
I love this layout - my first one made in my new crafty den. Im actually very tipsy right now - mark and I cracked open a bottle of champagne that he won at a golf tournament recently. Its very delish and will prob scrap in a more innebriated state in future because I was so relaxed and happy.
Prolly more happy that I had a great day with this loon (taken at the carpark pay booth - a photo screen projects your image on the pay screen ... bizarre but worth a picture, dont you think?) A day spent in Liverpool just eating, shopping, laughing and trying to eat popping candy without the fear of our mouths exploding. We shopped in the very best shops that are the Albert Docks. Its a shame the whole shopping area is being sent to rack and ruin with the whole of Liverpool's centre being groomed for the Capital of Culture 2008. That place is amazing. I take all my freinds there when they come pay me a visit. Ive taken Anna, Sue, Joanne and now Anita - it really is a wonderful place with the added bonus of a little craft shopping. And even that shop has been reduced by 75% in size becuase of the changes being made to Liverpool. I feel sad about that.
Here is a picture of my reflection in this massive bauble we saw at the entrance of the docks. Also a rather swish shot of the columns that make the albert docks look so impressive.
I bought lots of yummo crimbo pressies for family including this from the Early Learning Centre - for me. I wasn't intending to buy anything but this will make you rush to buy one. I want to know just how many of you go and buy one on the result of this picture. Its a wooden (alterable!!) tray with 26 wooden letters painted in bright, funko colours to make many words that 5 vowels will allow - of course. This is my sentence and of course mark added his - what a sweetheart! (whats he after?). The best thing is that it cost £7. Whats that all about?
Anita and I dined finely on tea and scones mid afternoon but it got so dark today. It rained non stop but seriously, we had such a wonderful day just looking, playing, laughing, eating and enjoying each others company. She even found this hat for me which I bought instantly becuase its bonkers!
Im sad that today is over but happy that Im back to normal with scrapping and family life. Ive had one hell of a month ..... here is to crimbo and lots of love x