Ladies Camera Club

31 Mar 2008

Doing the Do

I have still got use of my fingers so I can now blog!
However, if blogging required the use of my feet, I'm afraid I would be out of it for a few more days. These are Clare Curds feet, she walked back to the Hotel one night in stocking feet. Red, raw and unloved were all of our feet. I think if we had of had a pong-o-meter, we would have broken it
I am completely drained but inwardly charmed by the whole show at Olympia. I got to work with Anita Brook (DO's cardmaking fanatic and teacher of all things bling), Sian Melonie who is the most fastest, busiest, gorgousest and happiest PR girls I have ever met and Clare Curd who makes you leak pee pee in your undies from laughing so hard. A combination of these three people makes for a lovely working environment this side of Watford Gap.
I was quite nervy working my first Design Objectives show because the stronghold of their industry lies with card makers. Cardmaking in the UK makes up for a large proportion of crafting with scrapping being very much in the minority. I think I had a fun job with these students who experienced a smooth transition from small card to big page.
**cheese on toast moment coming up next, so look away if you the cow stuff doesn't do it for you**
I actually "welled up" (quite by accident) at one class when I tried to relay how crucial scrapbooking can be. Not only is it prettifying and artistic but also you double the fun by creating a genealogy that most of us tend to ignore. I got a bit teary when I was trying to explain to one class how much I am obsessed with scrapbooking. It wasn't about "wow, look what I made"but more about freeing that damn hard drive packed with photos and freeing the memories that you will take to the grave if you don't. So with two students in tears too, we could have used our sniffles to stick down the paper!
What also struck a chord with our lovely cardmaking students taking the scrapbooking class was explaining to them that every penny they spend on supplies is for themselves and the benefit of their generations (as you know, Cardmakers tend to make cards and give them away). And through scrapbooking - not only will they fill albums with pages invested with careful spendage of supplies but they can also make a couple of cards with just one page's left overs. I think once people "get that", scrapbooking will begin to grow more rapidly in the UK. It doesnt have to be a niche market - its a hobby that everybody should do.
So not only did we teach 16 classes to almost 320 crafters over 4 days with barely enough room to breathe between class changes (because we spent most of that time laughing, sneaking up chunks of very dark chocolate, copious loo run's, slurping (not quite enough) water) we also spent quality time in the evenings enjoying our company - perhaps being a lil sozzled at times. We talked more than we ate and drank more than we took breaths - so where did time go? It just flew. We met some really nice and interesting people at the show including Anne Parry who came to see us. I have to say I have not met anyone so charming and unaffected in my whole life as a scrapbooker and the refreshing thing was is that we both talked about what means most to us both. Our families. Anna Moore paid me a visit and bought Ellie these lovely things to take to the USA.
She is so quiet and kind and lovely (and Belle freaked right out when she saw them - thank you Anna, you chose the bestest things). We also spent a bit of time with the funky bunny that is Shimelle who graciously allowed us us to tease her UK/ American accent. I have only managed to spend small fragments of time with Shimelle and I always find her so lovely. We met briefly with Jane and Georgina on Saturday who had no idea I was at the show and it was about time I had met Georgina in real life after only getting to meet her on Janes pages. It was also nice to meet with figureheads in the industry such as Amanda Bateman and Dawn Bibby. And to talk and meet with these people in a relaxed manner, it's actually quite less intimidating than we all assume. These girls have an air of confidence which I certainly lack but it was nice to put a personality to a business face, IYKWIM. We spent an evening meal at our hotel with Dawn and JJ after a ridiculous amount of blush Pinot Grigio (my new, erm, **fave**) and it was the most pleasant evening I had enjoyed in the longest while. Why is it that the silliest text jokes make an appearance at a dinner table when we are supposed to be refined and demure? Im not sure neither but by jove, it was rib tickling good.
So when most of the crew had gone to bed, Sian, Clare and I stayed up to just schmooze with the mixed affairs of the hotels guests and **people watched**, took silly photos and danced in our chairs hoping that nobody was watching. You know that kind of experience - don't you? Oh I did feel the pain the next day though - and we lost an hours sleep. Tut, tut, tut.
Before the show started, mind, my sister and I met at my hotel on the Wednesday night. **note that the bed awaits a tired and tipsy lady on return!**Boy did I almost die from laughing a hundred times that night. We started with a lil aperitif in the hotel which cost the earth and they still managed to sneak on an "discretionary surcharge" on top. Im sorry, but nothing is discretionary when you read it in black and white. So to make up for it, we swiped all the olives on the bar top and that lined our tummies before our booking at Foxtrot Oscar, one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants near the Embankment. **Foxtrot Oscar being the phonetic wording for the letters "F" and "O" - which we know is a swear word amongst there!**
Becky and I are familiar with London as we were both serving in the RAF at some point in our careers. Dallying around Kensington was cheaper than we expected but getting to the embankment was a real treat and a half. We caught the bus - THE BIG RED LONDON BUS (love it!) to Sloane Square where people looked dapper and super posh.
Hmmm, ok - tipsy, on the bus, out of focus....... as it should be!We ran through it looking for our restaurant treat and walked like the clappers down the longest road in the world. We finally saw it (took pictures, as you do) and walked in quite excited and tipsy. The whole affair was not as grand as we expected but then we did realise we had chosen the Mcdonalds rung of the Gordon Ramsay ladder. Not that we got burgers but you know - on the sliding scale of opulence, it wasn't exactly Claridges. However the food was indeed divine, the waiter was genuinely French(ish) and cost us less than £75 between us (and yes, that crappy discretionary surcharge was on there on top, so it would have only been about £65) - and we got a bottle of wine with that, so fair's fair. We worked it out that it was cheaper than eating at Planet Hollywood where Sian and the rest of the DO team had 2 fajitas at £20 a portion whereas my steak with snail butter cost £14.50 and buttery soaked savoy cabbage at £3 a bowl - all in a Gordon Ramsay drive through ;)
Here are sone pics of us both although the lighting was pappa-poo, we caught the action at least.
and then back to my room for Coffee to try and pep us up for our next day. We needed, like, a ton of coffee!
It was sad when we wrapped up the show because it was Sian's penultimate day at Design Objectives. She is leaving to travel the world and I'm mad that people like her are allowed to leave when they are so good at what they do. But she is young and happy and adventurous and will see the world whilst there is life in that wee soul of hers. I wanted to take Anita home with me forever so that we would work every show guaranteed and Clare? Well Clare Curd, DO's most prolific show demo girl with funky hair, cool dude specs and cheeky manner... Im sure we will meet again.
I took some wee snaps of flower boxes (on our walk to Olympia from the Hotel) near the end of the show one day and wanted to share them because although London is smoggy and stifling with zero air - these babies live on!Oooooh, talking of DO - they have announced three seriously fool hardy UK guest DT's for the new Creativity Life magazine (over here). With a potential readership of 220,000 - these girls are going to be thrust into mega stardom. You lucky girls xx

Im off to go and find some glue remover as I have a 12 year old poppet not letting me go right now and I need to use the bathroom. And it ain't no fun having an extension of a body clasped to your side when the call of nature springs upon you. I have had a ton of sweet kisses from that little girl today which makes up for the separation but a girl needs a lil elbow room ;)

25 Mar 2008

Calico moment

Gah, this next statement sounds like that proverbial broken record.
But it isnt.
It just that these guys send me the most perfect kits every month to make some pretty layouts for their DT and for me to keep and adore.
The coral, sage and petrol blues in this kit set my heart all a-flutter. The Sasafrasslass papers are adorable and the SEI Dill range is beyond my initial love of SEI's Grannies Kitchen some 4 years ago. The alpha, the bling, the ric rac felt - the whole flaming lot is just the best. I had to force myself to prize open the scissors and murder those papers within an inch of their lives.
Im sure you are all bored to death of me bleating on about these kits and Im not apologizing for it.
This months kit has to be the best of the best (they have always been the best - Tina, you know how it feels, right?). I just don't feel I can convince the world at large just how bloody marvellous they are and how flaming fortunate it is that I get to cut them up and make something that makes me happy - every month.
And I don't get paid to say that, you know. I ain't even going to sell my granny neither!
So, are some sneaks. The kit goes live at 5am in the morning in Friday (thats midnight Kentucky, USA time).
If you are thinking of buying a kit this month, I bet you all my stash that you will love it.

Going to go and get packed for Olympia - if you are in attendance, do come and take a scrapbook class with Anita and I. Im also meeting a media group tomorrow night with my sister, Bex, in fashionable Kensington (two northern birds in a london wine bar is going to be comical). Probably will get wasted, probably will fall into bed at an unearthly hour. Probably will only take me two glasses of wine to get into that state! Im so weak.
I really can't remember just how long ago I actually had a night out where I got completely bladdered. I think the very last time I got tipsy woo was erm, Bank Holiday Monday in 1999 (do you remember that, Bex?) But fear not, fellow exhibitors, for I have my emergency hangover kit of fresh strawberries, apple juice and tinned peaches on standby - believe me, this concoction fixes you up in 30 seconds flat. 40 seconds at a push ;)
See, nobody will even know that I had a glass or two the night before (except my poor head!)

23 Mar 2008

1hr and 45 minutes

That's a world record for walking a mile - in Belle's world anyway!
We love how Belle shoved her lucky mascot teddy and unicorn necklace in her jacket whilst also wearing the cap that came from Steve Irwins Zoo as part of a sponsor pack they sent her. Without those items she would never had made it - according to Belle.
Laugh out loud.
She did it though, with only 4 rest breaks and each one filled with sugary boosters to get her on her way for the next stretch. We bought this pink collapsible chair about 4 years ago in the USA and it came in very very handy!
We are so proud of Ellie, beyond any reckoning and to us she is a champion. She never complained once and to be honest, it did not feel like an hour and 45 minutes. For Mark and his Pop to metre the walk last week took them 15 minutes but we always knew Belle would be a lot slower than that.
We were joined by so many fabulous people including a wee slot from the Wigan Observer to go in Wednesday's edition. We want to thank the following people for coming yesterday who we believe played a fantastic support role and provided great company for all involved.
My sister Becky and my niece Charlotte (well done Charlotte for completing the course, even without a sit down... gorgeous girly).
My Brother Leigh and his wife Kerry (ahem! who have just got themselves a 9 month booking at the fetus hotel... Im going to be an aunty again!)
My in laws, Pat and Dave
My friend Suzy and her two fun filled nibbles - Beth and Ben
My friend Jane, hubby St and their two minxes - Courtney and Katherine
My friend Sharon, her hubby and wee Harry - who was rolling around in the mud and loving it.
My friend Carmel and her daughter Charlotte (who is the tallest 7 year old in the world!).
And finally but certainly not least, Julie and the girls from Speedy Hire who came along to support us for the walk too. We were completely delighted that they had taken to Ellies plight through our local paper and have held a national collection through all of their offices in the UK. They have raised (so far) £1700 and announced this to us yesterday
bringing our total collect (so far) to
Mark and I sit here stunned, pinned to the chair, jaws dropping to the floor in absolute bewilderment. I say this all the time but we seriously cannot find a word worthy enough of relaying just how grateful we are. Thank you is all we can muster and we have said it 400 trillion times and we will continue to say it until we have run out of breath!
Hitting our target was beyond anything we imagined. And Belle managed it through some serious hard work yesterday morning - I really don't think she knows just how much £11, 750 is.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you xx

After the walk we invited everyone around to sample my MIL's cakies and Carmel's momma's scones (of which I had to decline cos you know - being wheat free and all (try my new wheat free recipe for yorkshire puds over here) - and almost took a bite out of Ellie's arm to ease my sugar fix). The house was heaving and I just felt rotten that I couldn't have spent lots of time with each individual. I managed to pass myself around, briefly, to everyone inbetween kiddies getting whacked in the face during a marathon session on the Wii! The stinky guinea pigs got a ton of attention and I think Belle's tortoise, Lightening, slept through it all. Belle was such a lucky girl to have all of our friends and family's support.
Most of everyone left after about an hour and my Bro and Sis stayed behind for a few more hours. We had a fish and chip lunch and a bottle of plonk was shared between my sis and I. We were having such a lovely day. The kids were plied wih eatser chocs, we got the playstation out and had a giggle or two. I didn't want them to go when they did, both Becky and I were tipsy and laughing at the most silliest things. And then when they left I got teary. How many emotions in one day?
Here are some more picture from Belle's big day - I was really ragged off to find out that I had my ISO on quite high over the past few days and I am apologising about the quality - more out of embarrassment! I must have been cuckoo not to notice such a simple mistake.
Suzy B's kiddies, Beth and Ben pose with Belle
My Bro and sister, mummy and daddy to be!
Belle and Charlotte snuggle and warm up on the sofa.
My niece, Charlotte, determined to use her prized brolly despite being no rain. I love how kids get attached to things like this although we were worried that a gust of wind would take her away at one point.Beth and Ben rest up whilst waiting for Belle to catch up. Yes, she was very slow!My sister and I having pictures taken this time last year?
But now - thankfully, YES! We both are little tinkers at times and family fall outs are part and parcel of that tapestry. When we finally swallowed our ride at my bro's wedding last year, I think it was the best thing I had done in a long time.
Becks, Belle and I in a very rare grouping. I shall treasure this photo for EVER!
And then this - this little beauty....... I love this picture of these two people so much and the fact that belle has her eyes wide and blue!
And this is a picture of Barry and Andy who came round to deliver sponsorshop money to the tune of £1500. Barry, on the left ran the Liverpool half marathon and collected money from the various clients who are associated with their car sales form in Wigan. Again, mark and I were flummoxed for words - we are grateful and thankful for their amazing gesture.And finally - meet Nibbles. Belle received this soft toy from Suzy B and she has been besotted with him for a whole 24 hours (Belle is a kid who rotates her toys on a 12 hour basis - I think nibbles is in for the long run). I had to take a picture of how she had left him yesterday when she nipped upstairs to feed lightening. Nibbles **may** have eaten a little bit more than she expected on her departure!And to finish off completely - here is a wee kissy from Belle as another thank you from the bottom of all our hearts.

20 Mar 2008

Goin card nuts

I have a ton of left over papers from old scrapbook pages that I made almost 3 million years ago - they are just sat in a box collecting dust. Granted, its looking pretty and slurpilishus but the damn stuff has got to be used. I thought I'd give them an airing this very afternoon and bang the leftovers on a card with some wee die cuts to make cheery little cards for standbys. I made most of these last night whilst the kids had their craft club night at out house - they made cards they wanted (a non-teach night for me - wahoo!) and I got on with chucking some card on card on paper and card with sparkles and stamping too. I even dragged out my redundant punches which are perfect for adding a lil "zyuz" in a corner or two.

I also have a recipe over here at a little blog I made for my wheat free trials and errors. I'm sure I'm going to bore you all senseless with my experiments on this blog. So if you fancy pork mince curry patties for tea this weekend, do pop by.
Im currently, like this very moment, teaching myself how to use my god damn craft robo. I have had the little bugger since November and have hardly used it. Thanks to Tracy Johnson who sent me a DVD of how to get the lil tinker on the go. So I am off to be taught and hopefully, by the end of this evening I will have something that resembles "craft robo-ish-ness".
Belle has her BFF here for a sleepover (belle spent last night at her BFF's, it was WEIRD in this house without her). They have been so good and tomorrow see's a bit of a crafting spell. Good Friday is not traditionally celebrated in this house but I reckon we might go mad an make some chocky easter cards.
Feel a craft robo title coming on - must create.

19 Mar 2008

Making cards

I just have enough time to make cards at the mo - all very quick and simple and as I have a string of birthdays coming up, I have got into cardy action. This card I made doubled as my post for HSMS (which, incidentally, was the word "peg"). I used some funky little die cuts I received from DO as part of the X-cut line. Its so much fun playing with these shapes - makes me want to go shopping! And this card is for the Marie Curie Campaign using a specially designed stamp at Design Objectives. I am not the worlds bestest stamper and I am not a fan of this type of design. But I somehow managed to free the look I was after and became triumphant with a spring-like card to donate for raising funds. I also received a most stupendous donation for the raffle from Ali at Clever Cuts. Their perfect lines of acrylic shapes and stamps are a million miles ahead of when I first got to know Ali a number of years ago. I have watched her business turn into a little minefield of creative explosions - I love how devoted she is to her business, not to mention her dog, Levi. Their clear stamps are the BEST value for money and you can spy her donation below which has a value of £60. Thank you so so much Ali xx
In addition I got my Studio Calico kit today. There is this one piece of paper I just cannot cut into - its just too dee-lish. I think the other Dt girls are having this issue - its so slurpy lish, Im not coping with the fact that I have to use it. Dammit. I was feeling blue because of it coming a little later than usual and when I heard the doorbell go this afternoon I knew what it was. I wanted to catalogue this event to relay how flaming cuckoo I get over deliveries . With that box I got my rolling tote from DO - perfectly timed to travel to London next week (on the train - can you believe it... I LOVE TRAINS and ones that require no changes en route).
I am going to get me a small bottle of plonk and enjoy having a wee beverage (cos I is not driving). What, with my tote on my left, my bag on the right and a tray of dark chocolates on my lap - I can sit back and just think for 3 hours. Oh for crying out loud Kirsty, its only a bloody train ride!
Belle's walk takes place in saturday. She is looking forward to the pitt stops more than anything. I promised her that we would take a whole bag of treats to reward any distance she can manage although she has had some practice to be able to cope. We have a fairly cool number of people coming including my Bro and Sis (to say I am delighted is an understatement), My in Laws, a bunch of friends and their kids - including Suzy B, Traci, Carmel and Jane plus a group of people from Speedy Hire who have done a little sponsor for Belle in their Office at Haydock. There are tea's and cakes at our house for afters so if you are in the Wigan area on Saturday, do join us but let me know if you are coming (so I can cater effectively). I am sad my parents cannot come but they are on a holiday which was pre-booked well before this fund raising. **miss you momma and pappa**
We have also booked our trip this week to Nevada and suffice to say we have very little time to feel prepared for it. If I am completely honest, I wish the whole thing wasn't happening - there has been a lot of tears shed over the whole thing and lots of dark clouds. I even had to ring the DLA this week to inform them of some creepy events as some little nasty gremlin appeared through the cracks only a few weeks back. Lots of behind the scene stuff which would make you a little nauseous - you know? My heart is pounding too fast to cope with how quick it has come around. Not only do we have to change flights once each way (not good, let me tell you that) but we are up in the air with the media. I hate not knowing enough and I hate having too much info to digest. I know that sounds bonkers but I like everything in order and when its not it drives me banana's. Not being in control is bloody awful, isn't it? Through its all I have to try and not lose sight of the beauty of this trip, which as you know is part and parcel of the entire affair. As much as I hate this saying its true - you have to break a few eggs to make an omlette. Pffffft, that really does aggravate me.
We have arranged to stop in a Condo as its far cheaper than $300 a night in a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. We chose this because its better value for money, guaranteed ground floor for access, is on the edge of the desert (and therefore away from the hustle and bustle of the strip). We also chose it as we hate being confined to one room. At least we have access to a kitchen to cook healthy meals instead of eating junk out. And yes, I could have waited to go wheat free after this trip but I am determined to feel better now than wait any much longer! We each have our own room and bathroom, a lounge, dining area, kitchen and patio. I think there is going to be decent heat in the high 70's where we can chill between appointments (Belle does love the warm sun on her back and the beauty of a private patio is that nobody stares at her like they do when we are around a public pool). We have also researched the best places to go for FREE so that we will not be completely depressed between hospital trips. These include the Bellagio Fountains and Circus Circus events at various themed hotels. We have a trip to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam planned plus the M&M factory for Belle.
Belle has Gastro, Cardiology, Genetics and Paediatrics on the cards which costs an absolute fortune so we are INCREDIBLY grateful to all the sponsorship that you have helped to support.
Lest we be eternally blessed by this happening at all despite the balance of horrors.
Belle is so much looking forward to the approach of JFK airport (where we have to change and is actually a pain in the rectum). We experienced the approach of the New York city silhouette back in 2004 and it took my breath away. You cannot begin to imagine how enthralling that view is. We would have loved to have made an overnight stop in NY for Belle to visit the Central Park zoo but we are at the mercy of time and of course the amazing opportunity of devoting the purpose of our American trip to the Physicians who will see to her :) Another time perhaps, New York is too special never to be left off her list until its checked off.
Talking of Media (as mentioned above) I was in communications with a TV production company today. Whilst the conversation I had was pretty much private we did discuss how hard hitting some documentaries can be and I will never forget The Dying Rooms (38 minute video, please look at it if you ever get the chance) which I watched a few years back and it haunts me to this day. Documentaries like this are bloody awful but also profound in the way they can drill a hole in your heart, thus creating this incessant ache to remind you that shit like this happens - even as you read this blog entry and leave it to go and make a cup of tea or click on a link to something else. I was also recently stifled by another documentary called Bulgaria's Abandoned Children (about 50 minutes) which I often think about and feel powerless to do anything about. I did discuss this video last year and I felt as useless then as I did now.
It frustrates me that I am just this crappy number in a gigantic crowd but I do suffer badly with these incredible thoughts and feelings about such atrocities - why can't I do anything significant or profound or indeed pioneering? Why do I get the feeling that I cannot penetrate the minds of other people to wake up to this awful reality? And the reason why I can't do this is that people have a choice of whether the want to listen or not. And yes, that's fine to a point. I guess lots of people are not passionate about giving a damn or like me, feeling as if they wouldn't be able to do enough to make a difference. Sometimes and I mean this sincerely, sometimes I just hate this sadness I feel from it all.
I am not one of these people that will turn a blind eye to anything. Its like I have to feed my mind whether I will like the outcome or not. I even forced myself to watch a film about the genocide of Sarajevo during the Balkan war the other week knowing that I would hate watching how ethnic cleansing was carried out. Its like the "don't touch, wet paint" theory - you know you shouldn't touch but you do, just in case. Why do you think we punish ourselves like this?
Ok, didn't mean to rant but I feel so much better up heaving this heavy feeling I have on my chest and bringing it out into the open.
I am an aquarius - I am affected like that!!
Something to think about when you get a minute, if anything.

**also, one last thing. If any of you are or know anyone married/had children to soldiers who served in the gulf post 1991 (not from 2005) can you please email me at my address on the left panel - thanks**