Ladies Camera Club

30 Nov 2008

curse the flash

With Belle being pretty much albino/photo phobic, all types of light hurts her eyes.
Belle lives her life through squinting, unfortch, unless she is in dim light of course.
Her normal spectacles are photo chromic so that when she is outdoors in bright light, they film over to be dark grey. Otherwise she wears Jacki-o style sunnies to protect those beautiful lil peepers. I don't mind, I can take a gazillion pictures of her and nobody would ever know her eyes are closed or not. But to see her eyes streaming with tears is not unusual in this house and its not because she is crying. Its because the light does that to her.
When she is indoors at night and the only source of light for a photo is flash photography - well, the whole idea of having a wide eyed girl to mark the memory is a non starter. Can I get a photo with her eyes open for her 13th birthday party? Can I buggery.
So here are a few pictures from last night at her annual visitation to Frankie and Bennys plastic food, same tasting menu restaurant to celebrate her b'day with her bezzie, Beth. Even Beth has photo phobia issues so I have amassed a number of eyes closed style pictures which, of course, I shall treasure forever regardless.
Belle and Beth - inseperable lil dudes
Down in one..............
aged 31 or 13?
Eyes open one minute
Closed the next. And Im still convinced Im a cyclops...why do I have one big eye and one little eye when I smile??!!!
Yest afternoon, before Frankie and Benny's adventure I popped over to Oswaldtwistle to teach a class in punchcraft. Having limited punches to use I managed to make 3 layouts using squares and circles alone and in the end, myself as well as the ladie,s fell back in love with the simplest of shapes. Liker the old saying goes, its not what you make its how you make it. It was a lovely afternoon and the company was especially friendly.

Today was so bright and beautiful but also bitterly cold. Belle and I went on our big food shop (you know the one - the big haul for the week where shopping on an empty stomach costs extra!). We parked up in the car park and had about 75 metres to walk to the front door. But we were so snug in the car and were really not looking foreward to the short walk in the froz. So we sat for ages in the car chatting. She looked so lovely in the light and for some odd reason my D70 was in the car so a took these random pics and bugger me, she even decided what poses she should do. Yes, the coat and headband appear again!
Here she is discussing how silly people were to be walking out in minus 273 (kelvin, absolute zero)Disapproving the fact I dare take a picture of her withouy permish.Giving me the 13 year old look of disdain.Ok, Ill warm to the camera, its less bitter than the biting frost.
Now Im going to get a bit cocky
This kid makes me laugh. I live for moments like this - me, her, good light, sweet ruby lips, questions about random what-nots and a cosy car whilst we watch other people freeze to death.

Gotta go, things to do and lose ends to tie up and new adventures to discover.

28 Nov 2008

Marvellous, joyous day

My belle.
Poorly and grey.
We think the jab has knocked the wind out of her sails from yesterday and it almost killed her to take the day off school because it meant missing Science.
Carpet layers.
The supposed a.m. call turned out to be p.m. call which meant the a.m. delivery of our beautiful sofa had to sit on the drive until 2pm. Thank goodness it was dry outside.
Situating the sofas.
We got the one seater chair in and the two part 4 seater in but could we get the 3 seater in? No way matey. We even took the window pane out to try and shove it through the gap.
No way. Nuh, uh.
Cry Cry Cry.
Pah, whats number four when one, two and three sucked big time.

Mark and I have been frantic with it all this week.
I even considered divorce because it would have been less bloody than murder.
On top of that I have been busy in the makery department and have made a total of 15 layouts and a number of papercraft projects this week which has kept me sane into the wee hours of the morning. Studio Calico's Center Stage kit went live last night/this morning which amounted to 5 layouts. I have 5 Basic Grey layouts from the new line which I loved working with but have to say that Granola is not my bestest out of the lot. Love Ambrosia like I knew I would and Eva is just this acidic looking plum with undertones of blush which is gorgeous. Then I have two layouts for Practical Publishing (so happy to be working for the Scrapbook Magazine again) and then 3 layouts for my class tomorrow over at Dawns. And guess what, Ive still got hundreds of photos to scrap. Whilst ever there are photos, there are layouts to be made.

Ive was approached to make some stamps by a UK manufacturer this week (quite out of nowhere) and its given me the chance to think of some ideas of when you have those moments when you think"I wish this was a stamp" or "I wish there was a stamp that did this". Do you ever think like that? I also do it when Im working with photos that have no matching papers. I dream up this patterned paper in my head but it never materialises. I think in December I can take that on and will now be able to showcase them at Stitches in February along with my software CD of printables for card makers. The shift back into cardmaking is slinking furiously towards reality. The uk being a nation of Carmakers, it was only going to be a matter of time.

So as you can see, its really been a fabulous week - either with tongue in cheek or poking out of my mouth. Decorating sucks for the house but decorating with crafty papers - I lubs it.

Oooh and get your butts down to the biggest online giveaway party at Crafts Beautiful with free downloads including an exclusive card making pack of papers and motifs - by your truly!

27 Nov 2008

I knew I was right

Thank you for confirming that I was, indeed/as ever/most brilliantly right about the wall paper question yesterday.
Mark, in his fight to get his own way (men are so competitive) he marked the walls starting from the left to where the papers would lay and it just so happens that the centre of the chimney breast had a strip going right where I suggested we start. I swear down he was determined to get his own way but at least there was a central strip in the erm, centre.
We did hit a snag.
The chimney breast is not straight and we had to cut off after a recess because the paper just would not sit straight. So if anyone comes to my house and sits in the new chair next to the window, they will see the join of misaligned non matching-ness. So its our endeavour to reserve that seat for the dog from now on!
Then we hit another snag.
Damn the bugger who invented pattern repeats at 32cm. I mean, what a bloody waste. When we bought the wallpaper we over catered and bought 4 rolls and thought we could at least send the last roll back. But no. The flaming uneven walls and a little bit of artistic cutting (by me, I admit it.... i ballsed it up) meant that we had cut into the 4th roll with extra runs that would not align.
Blast, bugger, crapsvilles.
So muggins here had to drive 4 miles into town to hope that they had more rolls within the same batch number or even hope they had any, at all, in stock. Phewey louis, yes indeedy doody - there were plenty only Mark said get two rolls (like why, we had 2 runs to go and one roll more than covered that). but you know, all men are right so I did as I was told. I got back, slapped the last of the wallpaper on the wall (without cutting into the second roll, because as you know we really needed it).
My feature wall is looking very featurey, warm, floral and chirpy. I will share pictures when its completely finiiiiiiiii. The carpet gets laid (snigger) tomorrow and the sofa arrives in the afternoon. Only we have a 4 and 3 seater sofa suite on the beg so if you know anyone in Wigan or the surrounding area who wants a claret coloured sofa with 3.2 million scatter cushions - email me pronto or else its going to the tip. My mobile number is on my website if you feel its more urgent to reserve your free sofa.

So my good news from the Bellemeister.
Belle is being put in for her first swim certificate after crimbo.
She swam her first half a width without armbands yesterday and held half of her head under the water. I mean, you hit thirteen and suddenly you can swim? WE ARE OVER THE MOON. And really the credit not only lays with belle but Mrs Conboy (her very patient and caring SN assistant). Our girl is such a flippin miracle......boy, we do love her, you know.

Yet tonight, after school she was feeling a little tender. She had her follow up cervical cancer jab today and broke her little heart. You know after a big cry, how tired you feel? Well obviously Ellie had cried buckets after her jab today so she wanted to go to bed when she got in and she slept for 3 hours. She didn't whine or whinge (which, considering everything she goes through is nothing short of an academy award). She just went to bed. Poor love. She woke up for a scummy chicken stir fry and of course the thrill of watching the Jungleness. I don't know what we are going to do after next week when its finished.

Im going to hit the "publish button" as I am spending the evening over at Studio Calico for their reveal night of this kit. It means a 5am bed slot but as most of the girls are parting with some of their Thanksgiving evening to share the fun, then I should sacrifice my beauty sleep to join them.
On that note:
What is your favourite bag removal remedy? (for the eyes and not pilfering a Luis Vuitton from a department store).

26 Nov 2008

So here is my teenager

Isn't she the prettiest?
I took almost 140 pictures to get a handful of ones I could savour; she was not in the mood. I hate that I have had to use a low aperture with an iso of 200 for these pictures - its freaking pitch black here during the day. Its worse than the north pole.So.
We got her up at 7.30 to open all her gifts and cards. Along with her bacon butty she had chocolate and coffee. She loves this day so much for the choc brekkie, im sure!. I couldn't wait for her to open her pressies but she is such a slow caoch and opens each one gingerly. Rip em open, dammit!
She got a hat and fingerless mittens from Eddy, socks, slipper socks and smellies from us plus her iPod plus I got her some of these cute "bra's. I term that loosely as they really are for the younger kid (aged 7-8) who just wanna pretend. Well, they were her best present. And she knows they are not the real thing (she is far from that stage) but my goodness, her face was pure delight. Forget we just spent big bucks on an iPod. Monkey!
Talking of monkies, my generous, thoughtful friend Sharon dropped off this handmade gift for her tonight. Ellie is a massive Marmoset fan (her fave monkey's actch) and although this could be stuffed on a shelf for her room as decoration, belle does loves her cuddlsomes and Im not kidding - she fell mightily in love with him (she has called him George after her fave to win the Jungleness). This picture is not staged, this is how she was with him. I don't care that she should be hanging about street corners and getting up to horrible teenage stuff - this only child (who are often lonely children) loves cuddles be it from man, beast or cuddly. Thanks Shazzer........ it was the most thoughtful present for her.
Anyway, belle gets in from school yest and we were invited to go to her Nanna's so she could open her gifts from them. Our house is a stinking, messy pig sty right now (with the decorating etc etc) so it was a breath if fresh air to go somewhere clean, dust free and tidy. I miss being tidy in the house, its killing me. Only when we got through the door and into the kitchen, the table was set up like you would for high tea. Cups and saucers and a cake (made from meringue, ellie is not a cakey cake girl). I didn't have my camera and anyway, its too frigging dark for one plus as you may/may not know, I hate flash photography at the best of times). It was so civil and dignified sitting there drinking from poshy cups and saucers and Ellie opened her gifts and delighted at them all. Her most treasured one was a book on Origami. Ellie does like to fiddle with paper now and again but Origami is something that fascinates her. She was a happy kid yest; loved it myself actually. Which reminds me to thank you for such lovely comments that some of you left yesterday. Ellie does often quite feel the superstar at times, so anyway - THANK YOU xx
Well I have to hit the hay. I have got the crappo job of wallpapering with his nibs tomorrow. Anyone that knows Mark will know he has bugger all patience and I can see the day panning out to be a spell in A&E after I have wrapped him up in wallpaper and painted his head. I feel so sorry for our neighbours for the impending rows. OH! Can anyone settle this argument because Mr Know-it-all-stinky-pants is convinced he is right.
When wallpapering a wall with a recess, in our case a chimney breast - is it best to start with your first roll of paper central to the chimney breast (like I KNOW you are supposed to) or do you start either the left or right edge of the wall (like he thinks even though I know he is wrong).
For the love of god, will someone give me confirmation that i am right and if I am wrong I will admit defeat (but rather much stamp my feet and trip over my pet lip in the process).

And also - do you moisturise? Not the walls, I mean your face?

I bid you adieus.

No daylight

The week we tackle the refurb on our lounge, the sun takes a dive right out of Wigan.
I havent been able to take one decent picture nearly all week, my skin has gone grey and my mood is pretty low.
Need sun.
Need light.
Need moisturiser.

25 Nov 2008

Studio Calico Sneaksvilles

I finished up these babies yesterday and they are ready for the revelation on the 28th.
This kit has oodles of christmassy stuff in t but I wanted to use non Christmas type stuff for layouts. Out of all these projects, only two are xmas themed and they are a hanger and a card. The rest was used to make a mini and 5 layouts.
It got to the stage where I was scratting for off cuts to finish off projects because wanted to use it all. And then some.
This is my fave - obv the close up doesn't give you a full indication but its my fave.
This one was difficult and yet a novel experience for me. The reason will be disclosed on the 28th.
My mini, made from packaging. You will see the fuller pics on the 28th :)
Hmmmm, I look so attwactive here. Going glitter crazy in this house. Its up my nose, in my hair...........on the dog.
Weaving techniques inspired by Suzanne Torr - thanks Sue
This is my second favvo layout
love these colours
Jenni Bowlin birdies.....I LOVE HER
Its a beautiful kit this month and the Studio Calico stamps (remember, not available anywhere else) are out of this world. The Alpha is quite like nothing Ive seen before and believe me, Im the Queen collector of fontaciously scrummy fonts.
Now only if I had some decent daylight today for more pictures but its darker than the north pole in winter here. Lord, give me light.

**Got birthday girl news coming up laters**

24 Nov 2008

Tomorrow morning......

This lil peach nut will wake up a teenager.

Holy shit shit shit.
Profanity I dare say that I wont be apologising for.
I knew this day was coming (for 13 years, obv).
Its one of many of her personal milestones but to you and I its a pretty significant one.
She will start to wear black. She will give me attitude.
She will turn into a moody monster.
I hope she doesn't start as soon as she wakes up!!!
We have bought her a sizeable iPod (160gb) so we can put her fave DVD's on there for boring car/hospital trips plus her beloved CD's can be burned and banished to the relics bin. Ive lots of little openy bits just so that she can look back and remember her 13th birthday as being a bit spesh. Ive also made her a bit of a one off card but then we all claim our cards are one off's anyway.....tee hee..
I was at Asda tonight doing my weekly shop and I was gushing to the cashier about her birthday. The young girl really flattered me by saying I didn't look like I should have a 13 year old. Yeah, I know. I thought the same! Needless to say I skipped all the way to the car. Having recently lost some serious poundage, Im guessing the weight loss has stretched my wrinkles to nothing. Hooray! I'll soon be looking as thinful as the third picture down (above!).
I can't wait to get wrapping and thinking of the delights she will have for breakfast (chocolate is top of the list - the only day where choc is allowed for brekkie).
Ive also just scanned back to three years previous blog posts on her birthdays - enjoy them with me
Free the reigns, Kirsty and watch her fly.
**pass me a kleenex**

PS: I had to add this even though this is a happy post. Did you see the Barnardo's advert during the jungleness? I didn't like it even if it was meant to affect me. The smack over the head part made me feel sick. Ellie was watching it too and yes, it was after 9 but come on. It was dreadful.
Rant over..........

23 Nov 2008

Back to my homeland

Yorkshire air - yeah go on, breathe it right in.
**sprinkles some bottled goodness over this blog post**
It no longer stanks of coal, sulphur and pale ale (like in't good old days).
Yorkshire is my homeland, its beauty knows no bounds by by eck, it were bloody freezing today. Chanking is the word I would use to describe how bitter it was.

Today, I nipped over to the posher ends of Yokshire (Harrogate no less) to join Dyan and 10 really nice and I mean REALLY nice girls who were just darling to sit with. I met lots of familiar faces again and didn't feel like I was teaching a class at all. The warm reception certainly took the sting out of the cold day. So what did we make? Well, we made my special recipe advent calendar and we also made this. Its an inside photo (I hardly saw daylight today)To make this little eccentric crimbo table dec you only need pages from an old book and some bazzill to make a cone to stick the strips onto. Of course we distressed the pages and splodged alcohol inks on the paper before we stuck them on and then we topped it off with a pretty lil butterfly.
My advice when making this curly tree?
When you eventually rip the pages from an old book, make sure the lead character isn't called Fanny. That name appears on several of the strips on my treea nd Im quite unsure whether it really is suitable for my crimbo table. Im even sorry to even have to type the "F" word, I really don't like it. But there you go. That's Jane Austens Mansfield Park for you. Who knew that name would have such a cringe worthy significance these days? Bluergh. PS: Don't go looking at the picture again just to look for those words, I turned the tree until there were none on show. What I am grateful for is that the girls on the workshop were good humoured about it and needless to say, they used pages from a book with slightly more appealing words.

I really enjoyed my day and the trip to Harrogate is worth the 3 hour return journey. So much so that Im going to take a once a month residence in the shop to teach all sorts of stuff that comes in to my head. The next workshop in January is a class where you will complete 8 layouts in 5 hours with 8 techniques to boot. Nothing spectacularly difficult, just the opportunity to bang some photos on a page or 8 - Im lucky if I can make one layout in 2 hours at times. I have to say Im really excited about that, truly.

Then if that wasn't magnificent enough to wet my whistle, Ive only gone and booked myself on a Rusty Pickle day at Dy's (Art from the Heart, Harrogate) on the 16th Dec. The class runs from 12-3 and will see you making a complete album. Its entitled Rockstar but its nothing like the title suggests, which I admit put me off a bit. I got to see the sneak preview and Im so excited and I hardly ever bock myself on a course (namely due to lack of funds or time). I thought I'd mention it on here as not many people know that Lance Anderson himself is coming over to teach it. Counting down the days....................

*meant to add, go and read Dyans blog to fathom what this picture is all about - its hilarious).

toodle oooooooooo xx

22 Nov 2008

I didn't loik it

Maybe she was faking it.
Perhaps Louis was a being his usual total a-hole.
But seeing Danni cry during x-factor tonight made me feel so upset.
She is far too professional to turn it on just for sympathy and she may not be the darling of the show but come on........
As for Diane - bloody hell, quit with the hands and get off. Terrible vocals tonight and based on that performance she should go (ducks for cover).

I can't believe a programme drives me so nuts. And don't get me started on DVD on the jungleness.

Alex for x-factor.
Joe/George/Brian for Jungle.

Carry on.

21 Nov 2008

My handsome pooch

This little boy is stealing my heart right now.
It got so bad with puppy love that when it came to my bed time last night, I couldn't bare lifting him off the sofa to plonk in his cubby bed. As two of our sofa blankets were close by I thought "Bugger it, Ill sleep down here with him". He is such a love to curl up with and warms your back or feet or tummy (I have to admit he is a little shifter during the night). Mark came to look for me at 5am and thought I was still in my office working. After all, I am a night owl and sometimes don't get my sorry ass to bed until 2 or 3. But I like it that way.
Mark laughed at us on the sofa all hunched up. He came to give the boy a belly rub and a love and went back to bed. I wouldn't care but we had clean sheets yesterday and there is nothing more sumptuous than slinking into line dried linen after a days work. I don't think I'll be doing this dog snuggling too often as the sofa is feather based and lying on it for long lengths of time is too soft for me (Id make a crap mother bear from a Goldilocks lifestyle).
I took him out for a long walk tonight to get the circulation going, as you do. This fella, although has tiny legs loves a generous walk. So I nipped over to the 3 sisters park to let him have the run of the joint. He is so funny to walk with and is very protective of me. When any other dog walker goes by and they come near me (not him) - he growls. And he only walks a couple of paces ahead of me but often looks back to check on me. Fortunately he does not run off (which Dachsies are renowned for). Mark has taught him well with obedience. Its me that's the softy.
Anyway, on passing the lake on the way back home we noticed the ducks and swans were settling down. They are constantly fed throughout the day by kiddies and adults alike because the lake is such a wonderful place to visit hence why so many people go - and when they do... they take bread! Its always buzzing with people. But tonight it was dusk and empty as the park gates had closed to vehicles so only dog walkers were dotted hither and dither. I took pleasure in observing the birds in silhouette form against the pink of the sky and the inky black of the lake. Eddy took a disregard to the beauty of it as he sniffed round bins and seating areas. Then all of a sudden the ducks and swans went berserk and swam furiously towards an old man who appeared from one of the pathways. They were all in unison and quacking and squawking like crazy. The wake of the water was furious with froth and splashes, I just couldn't understand it at first. As I walked around the direction of the man it was apparent he was there to feed them. But I had never ever seen this phenomena before and I asked the man if he got that reception all the time. And he replied that he came every night at dusk, every day to feed them his one loaf of bread. The ducks and swans clearly recognise him - I just didn't think birds were so intelligent. I was agog (I know, hard to believe isnt it?!!). It was quite the scene and so lovely to be a part of it.
As I walked back towards our car to towel dry our sopping wet pooch, I thought about that man who looked forward to this one special time. Time alone to feed friendly and eager little faces and further forging a humbling friendship with his feathered friends. And in a way it was a little sad to think that he got so much pleasure from it when its something I couldn't care for because of my own worries and priorities. And then I further thought that actually, what a lovely way to spend the rest of your day knowing you have cared for these crazy wildlife and given yourself something to live for and indeed look forward to.
Makes me just want to shut up moaning about my little, seemingly insignificant worries when the simple life is such a happy life. Lesson learned there, I think :)

Im off to the gym for a spin session now but its so cold outside and all I want to do is hibernate. If it wasn't for the fact I am burning off 600+ calories in the space of 45 minutes, Id let that one square of bitter chocolate go down (obv on to my thighs) whilst I festered under the sofa blanket and took a cheeky 40 winks. However, I must go (for the 7th time in a week) and rinse that chocolate from my thighs and replace it with virtue and smugness :)

PS: Its not too late to book a spot at Art from the Heart on Sunday (Harrogate) if you are at a loose end :) See notice above.

PPS: Leonie is having a charity auction over on her blog today - its for a worthy cause as always. Please pop by and support her if you have some spondoolies at the ready :)

20 Nov 2008

Post 1000 looms

I know I can gab for Britain but post 1000 is looming. Cant say its too far off and I can't say it close. But its coming and before crimbo too. Might do a grand giveaway that day as Ive been sorting out this shed of a room. One minute its pristine, the next it looks like a bomb site. Ive managed to purge some nice stuff that I can't use as most of my work requires current use of stash. And I am a hoarder in the extreme but I have no room.

Talking of space....erm, choke.......our house is in the thick of it right now. We have split our through lounge into two and knocked from the kitchen into the new space. We have red brick dust everywhere and I feel filthy. Everywhere I look I see crap hanging about the place and the poor dogs water has to get changed every 3 seconds. In the space of next week we have to plaster the walls, wait for it to dry, wallpaper and paint, sand, prime and gloss the paintwork, fix new lighting and hang a new door (and prime and glooss that bugger as well), lay a new carpet and wait for the sofa and sideboard to arrive - seriously, in 6 days. Maybe it was a good thing Mark was made redundant during this time to help get it all rounded off but then the redundancy came at a time where stuff has to get paid for. God, he really is testing me - isnt he?

We (well, I mean He) found the perfect curtains too. Its a nightmare contrasting one feature wall (mmm, so 80's!!) of green roses with three plain walls and a colour scheme that might hurt some peoples eyes in one swoop. It meant we couldnt ideally opt for patterned curtains nor just plain to match with the colours we had chosen and Mark of all people spied these babies in a local interiors shop which turned out to be more perfect than the perfect curtains from the planet of soft furnishing perfection. Perhaps Mark has a secret penchant for interiors .... thats it! He should quit looking to be a training officer, he should get creative in peoples spaces.
Anyhoo, yesterday was funny. Not ha ha kind of funny, weird funny. Woke up bright and breezy to see to the electrician (as the actress said the bishop) and then come 10am, wham! Major migraine from absolutely nowhere. So I went to bed for three hours and woke up a pingy as ever. That's 3 beautiful daylight hours gone in a puff of smoke. But that's 3 hours less of making my eyes sore looking at the trash bin of a house. I HATE IT. But by next Saturday it will be spick and span and newly decorated. I can sit on a sumptuous chicky chock brown sofa surrounded by touches of my favvor colours (olive and lime green) and try and figure whether it was worth it.

I popped over to Leeds today to see Sue at Craftwork Cards. I have to say her fabulous warehouse is packed to the rafters with trinkety card making delights that are all but one or two manufactured on the premises. I always snout out her shop at craft shows to pick up on some clever card making stuff (stuff you don't often find anywhere else, which always gets me in the mood for creatin'). I will be teaching some card making classes there next year (and quite possibly mini scrapbooky things too). I look forward to it as Leeds is my birthplace (ra ra ra - leeds, leeds leeds) and its always good to go back and get a whiff of Yorkshire air. I bottled some today for days when Im sat here (in pongy Lancashire) and need something pure and sweet. Anyhoo, I'll bob the dates on as soon I know the confirmation if you fancy coming to a class or two.

I got home to some good news from Mark which I won't share until things have been signed and dotted - cos as you know, I'll tempt fete and ruin the whole bloody thing. And then even betterer news.........Belle has told us that: a: she is psyching herself up for part deux of her cervical cancer injection (and is quite proud of that fact considering she is cack scared of needles) and b: some amazing teaching assistant has spent time teaching her to swim during gym lesson and she is working towards her 25m certificate.......can you believe it? We just never take her swimming because she always gets cold real quick (to the extent that her lips turn blue in 5 minutes), she is petrified and can't control her bouncy. But as the school uses the pool in school allocated time, they put the heat up on the little pool, there are no other children around to interfere with splashing etc and she gets pure one to one. How lucky is she? Well, Im really pleased considering the start of the week I was writing she couldn't do anything. Not because I was looking for sympathy but because its true. And yes I should push her at times but because I have worries that i'll push her beyond her capabilities, I hold back. **how many times do I type because???!!!!** So there was joy and celebration tonight in our house that resulted in her receiving a golden arches treat....hmmm, so nutritious!!!????

Jungle thoughts for today:
David Van Day got on my wick tonight.
We are loving Joe and George.
Given the fact that Timmy is a royal pain in the rectum at times, I like the non-theatrical side of him.
Nicola could spice the whole dynamics up and doesn't seem to be as thick as she makes out. Silksy - ugh...get rid!
Esther - sweet
Brian, oh I do love how calm and diplomatic he is. Such a gent!
Dani - new nose we reckon, quite lovely
Zoe - we are not sure yet, quite sweet though
Martine? Hmmmmm, still sussing her out.

What are your jungle thoughts?

PS: Severe lack of photoraphage in my life right now. Going to get my sorry ass out of this stinking pit tomorrow and do something a little experimental.

Thats all, carry on.

Picklisciously sneaksville

This is a sneak preview of a set of papers and motif that I have dreamed up for Crafts Beautiful Christmas Party at the end of the month. 6 papers, greetings and Cherry Berryliscious can be yours to download for free during the Christmas party itself. I hope card makers will love them as much as I did making them.
So who is Cherry Berryliscious? (CB - geddit?)
She is a cousin of Patti Pickliscious, a character I based on Ellie. The entire Pickliscious family and matching papers will be available to buy on collectible CD's and also include two fur babies called Sparkle and Spud. All of the characters are hand drawn by myself and digitally coloured in but there is also a blank version for you to colour yourself (just like you would with a stamp!). Im just waiting for confirmation of release dates and will let card makers know when they are available to buy.
Im a little bit giddy, can't you tell?

**Also, I havea new layout up at Creativity Life based on Chocolate inspirations.....mmmmmm**

18 Nov 2008

Pickle Nut Peach Pop

She is such a love.
With my seriously over sized, bag hiding, dark circle hugging shades on to hold back that uncontrollable barnet of wispy curls.
Her ruby red lips clinging on to that english rose complexion which lights up the old steely blue eyes and make mondays blog post seems such a distant memory.
This is my pickle nut peach pop who will hate me for calling her that one day but for now she kind of likes it. That lays amongst sweets, peachy, lovey, chick-a-lick, darls, peach pie, bunny and a whole host of private terms of endearment. Of course, in public its just sweet Belle.
**Though Id like to point out to those who do not know that her name is actually Ellie but she is used to be being called Belle these days. Although when there is sneak of trouble she is called by her Sunday name of Ellenor!**
Tried her with her splints tonight for 5 minutes. She cried the whole time and I felt such a bitch making her walk about the top rooms of the house. I ached for her as she struggled to walk straight in them and when she reached out to hold on to furniture, I simply stated that it was not a good idea to do so. The bribe was a back massage (her absolute to-die-for relaxant) of which she so richly deserved. And whilst we took the splints off she said she was sorry for being such a wuss. God, I love that kid. She'll get to the end of this before I do and its not that I don't give her credit - I think its just that I know what is to come and I feel for her. But like all mothers should do, you just have to let your kids find their own paths. But its hard, you know?

Anyhoo, Im going to sign off and find a bag of frozen peas I can sit on because for 5 days straight I have been to spin classes and my seatage feels like I have been sat on a razor blade for 15 miles biking. My ribs are almost cracked from puffing and panting and woe betide if I need to use the stairs because my legs have forgotten how to move. Ouch!

PS: Edited to add this form my lovely freind, Louisa (thank you so much, this made me sob!):

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'
The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

17 Nov 2008

These things are freaky

You are The Empress
Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

But I quite like what it says. Of course Im not sat here thinking I am a goddess of beauty (not today anyway, Ive pretty much been in my jammers all day whilst work has been going on in the house too!) but the motherly thingy strikes a cord and I do like to

Als, Im eternally grateful and thanful for the lovely, supportive comments regarding yesterdays post. It makes such a difference to know how much you empathise with us. Its also so endearing to read them and feel good by them. Thank you xx

16 Nov 2008

She's almost a (teeny) teen

**long post - grab a flask of coffee, your lunch and a mid afternoon snack!**

In 9 days she becomes a teenager.
I just can't look at her and place her as your average teen.
Cos as you know, she isn't your average teen.
But I really want her to be.
Even if it was for a day.
But what she is, well, she is just so teeny tiny, fragile, behind, grasping, thriving, reaching, uncertain, forgotten, charming, loving, nonchalant, kissable, unaware....... words you would generally use to describe a child whose issues belie them.

And yet I punish myself as I thumb through various blog posts about parents gleaming from the pride of showing off their tall, developed and mature adolescents and I try to hold back the tears as I try and match that confidence with this little parcel whom I couldn't be more proud of but somehow not feeling like we fit that picture perfect, chocolate box jigsaw.

Its a general fact that mothers of children with issues actually have a good knowledge of why their child is different and unfortunately we have been in limbo of not knowing for too bloody long. So I think Im allowed to have a good whinge and moan about it because lucky for some people - they have support pertaining to their childs issues. We get absolute bugger all. Not a sausage. Absolute zero.

Do you know how many times I sit and watch kids of Ellies age walk past my car everyday when I pick her up from school wondering how well they hold themselves and how fast they are? How tall they have become and taken over even my own height? They scuttle by carrying heavy bags with a posture of teenage deportment, walking free all the way home and getting up to the tomfoolery we all learned great lessons from - the dares, the pranks, the mischief that shapes our teenagerdom with war wounds from the failures and highs of such incidents.

And my child who has become so dependant on us that I don't even know where the fine line of interference and general help divide? She is a small girl who could melt stone hearts and yet has never, ever walked home from school in her life - hell, she hasn't walked more than 200 metres out of my sight when she has been in my immediate presence. This girl doesn't know how to get to the local shop nor fathom what change she would get from a £1 coin should she buy sweets; she might not even know the cost or how many sweets she could even get for a pound. She can't brush/wash her hair, she can't write legibly, she can't swim, ride a bike or tie shoe laces. She can't tell the time, she can't hop, skip or jump neither. She can hardly carry her own school bag, I still fasten her buttons as she can't quite manage them and I often finish off her sentences when she is being shy in front of company. She has played out less than a dozen times in our street in all the 5 years we have lived here (you just don't see her peers come knocking. In fact, its never happened. I feel like kidnapping some of her school "friends" just so that they will come and hang out). Im also quite aware of the looks and stares because of all these things. I just don't think people realise that we don't actually get any help with dealing with this. Ellie is what she is. Ain't nobody going to send us telegrams or flower of sympathy because its actually a lifestyle we have to deal with.talking about a wild 10 minutes explosion where you feel that no matter how much convincing you apply to people, they think what they like anyway? So you go about your business loking like a total fool for nobody's and yet everybodies sake.

And you know what, it pisses me off sometimes? Nobody actually sits you down and talks about these things with us. Our feelings, our thoughts and our emotions. I think people think we are ok with it and yes, of course we are, but sometimes, like today.....I just erupt. I want to purposely bound about like banshee and shake people and say "Hello, do you know what its like to have a child that doesn't fit in?". Im trying to describe that gut wrenching anger similar to how you might feel when you watch a tv programme about teenage girls mocking girls who are more inferior to them, or bullying in playgrounds or sadistic smugness from business associates cashing in on a one time achievement. You know that feeling? Its not jealousy, its more like fighting for the one who deserves better. They are wrong and you are right..... you know it, don't you?

But there are sides to Ellie that some people need to be aware of. For instance, Belle never, ever volunteers information. You have to prize it out of her BIG style. Everyday we have the same convo after school...... how was your day, what did you have for lunch, did anything happen, anything exciting in lessons happen? And they are usually the same answer in mono-syllabic answers. And then we get home and she takes a rest and then watches TV or plays on her DS or has a couple of minutes on her trampoline. Then she has her tea and then she has a bath and then she settles for the night with a DVD and then she goes to bed. And in between I want to get her involved with prepping the tea or playing on the wii. I offer to let her rummage through my buttons (something she loves to do) or take a wild flip through my crafts supplies. But no, she is content in being just her, doing her own thing and in this bubble that I want to be a part of.
And sometimes I don't want her be like that.
I want her to say "Im just going round to my friends house, Ill be back home for tea". I'd jump through burning hoops to see that day.
Or maybe she might go on MSN and chat with her friends - if only she could type quick enough or spell lreadable, normal words (and not phonetically as she does now). Sometimes I want her to come up to me and say "Mum, Ive been pretending to be dependant on your for so long to test your patience. I've been doing this to add to the other sacks of shit you deal with so that I would test your endurance. I purposely haven't matured so that you could go insane and stand out from the crowd just as much as I have". Ok, I don't really want her to say that but one day I might wake up from all of this and thank the lord it was a horrible dream.
But it isn't.
Its not horrible.
But thinking about it for prolonged moments of time makes it feel horrible.
Am I making sense so far..... have I totally fruit looped out yet? Honest, Im not insane!!

To make my wild explosion worse is that we went to genetics on Friday at Alderhey. I had no idea what they wanted - I thought that something may have magically developed. Like an angel had called upon the team to deliver the secrecy as to Ellies condition and that my favourite doctor would deliver it to me so that I would love the news even more. But they really are no further forward except to try some new DNA and messified chromosome testing against their normal DNA and messified chromosomes to try and determine if Ellie has this microscopic missing piece. That's cool ,that's fine I thought but the Hospital is a children's hospital. And they want Mark and my blood to rule out some stuff. But they wont take our blood because we are adults. So we have to go to our local blood unit to take some samples. But our local unit only sends bloods to Manchester and not Liverpool so they won't do it. So because of some ridiculous bureaucracy we can't give the blood. So Ellies tests get delayed further and for gods sake....Im going to stick my head in the oven.

She has also been appointed a new neorologist this year. He's pretty good but he was a bit of a twat last time we saw him. He scorned us for going to America. He took it personal that we didn't think that his hospital was good enough. And god, it wasn't like that at all but he wouldn't let me explain. And you know that feeling when no matter what you say it seems to come out in french instead of english and that you fall down a well and you are looking up at this face almost beet red because wee deigned to go to another country for medical advice that could prove (and did) to be better than any Uk doctors in the past. And Im sat there cramming as much out of him because the next time we are allowed to see him is in 9 friggin months. By which time the Endocrinologist, Genetics, dieticians, opthalmologist and gastroenteroligist will have lapped again - each with snippets of info but unwilling to talk to each other in one room at one time therefore delaying the cause so much further into her 40's let her alone her 20's.

Its surging up my throat now and my heart is palpitating.
**wanders off for a minute**
Ok, its going away now.

I honestly sit here and wonder how the frigging hell I wake up in the morning and not wonder which form of suicide would be quicker. I get up off my pillow and sit over the edge of the bed and stare at my (quite unruly) reflection and wonder if the lines on my face have been created from constant frowning and upset. I search within myself to even bother turning up to the millionth hospital appointment and wonder if the Doctors are all laughing at me as I fight for some help with them knowing Im the Alderhey joke and that Ellie doesn't even exist; she is a figment of my imagination. Then I start to think about the splints Ellie got given a few weeks back and how she just CANNOT walk in them. And why they thought she ever could and why they didn't offer us physio to break her into them. And how embarrassing it was trying to get her shoes to fit them (and in the most disgusting fashion so that she stands out even further from the crowd when she eventually does get to wear them). And how much she cries when she tries them on let alone walk in them. And now Im starting to get really pissed as i think of the wheelchair they are about to offer her to take her out of her pushchair. I don't want her to have a wheelchair, I want her to be able to walk - so if they pulled their bloody fingers out and get to the bottom of all this, she will be normal. Like the teenager she deserves to be with lots of friends who want to be with her and not feel sorry for her or even worse - pity her.

**20 minutes time has elapsed. Ive calmed down. Ive had an imaginary cigarette. Its all cool here**

So the dark side of me reared its ugly head again.
Its averaging every two months right now which is better timed apart when you consider PMT is every 4 weeks. And even that is bargained with 70% cocoa chocolate. Oh yeah!

So lets just get past the things she can't do because these are not things that concern those kids that walk past me everyday whilst I sit in the car still hoping and praying that one day we will get to the bottom of all this medical clap trap. I think its about time I tell you about some of the most gorgeous things that has happened recently that lifts me out of my personal doldrums and allow myself to celebrate in her personal victories.

On the rare occasion that I ask how school went she sometimes tells me about something that leaves me thirsty for more of her days reckoning up. She quite casually told me "I got a level 4 in Science today".
Screech - car comes to a halt.
I cant bloody breathe.
I purposely pull over so I can turn round and see that sunshiney face.
Ellie is only ever a level 2 or 3. Her peers are more on level 5 or 6. One is even a 7 (that's brainy!)
But 4?
Holy Shit.
Science is Ellies best subject. And even though she is pretty behind in Maths and English, those two subject shape science as a whole so she is not completely remedial. Next to Science, Belle adores Geography. She once told me after school that she is learning about preticipation. 5 syllables and correctly announced. Wowser. That's goes with her other key word of "unfortunately".

She also is quoting the digestive system to me and in light of some carb cutting at my end she started quoting other food composites to me (like she was reading them from a book in her curly head). And I look at her full of wonder with the most innocent face and ruby red lips that every time they move to talk I just want to squish and kiss her..... almost like sucking the life out of her because i just want to consume her sweetness.

And, oh goodness, now I wonder if thats how the mother of a teen-to-be should talk about her daughter? Is it wrong that we are so protective of her or are we delaying her development by making sure her life is comfortable? Is it me that's stifling her growth, her aspirations and confidence? Oh god, where is the bloody parents manual when you need one?

Normally I'd give a damn about some of you silently mocking this child's {or hell, even my} abilities as you know your child can do better. And Im pleased for you. Of course I am. But because Ellie has to work 10 times harder than your average, it makes my pride shine shinier than most and that's what allows me to squish my previous anger in this post and save it for another day when Im having pretty much a very shitty day again.

Im not sure if this post is fluid or even makes sense but by god! It feels to get all that out of my system. Must celebrate with lavishing myself in the surroundings of my Basic Grey Collection.

Go me.

15 Nov 2008

Lil trees

Wallpapers, cards, scrapbook stuff, fashion and fabrics seem to blend together when it comes to trends. When we see the word trend we often think of fashion but over recent years I have seen that whatever colour/style/pattern is "in" for clothes is also "in" for everything else. So I keep an eye on trend sites just for my own amusement and then when CHA is looming I smile at the interpretation of those predictions.
So when these trees eventually hit scrapbooking I was smitten. I know the design has been around since the 50's (think Clarence Cliffe styleee) but I was elated they came to fruition because I think they represent and can interpret many things... family tree, life, renewal, growth, strength etc. And then when I created a tree for my blog header I was bombarded with requests of where I got it from and could anyone get it anywhere. You loves trees too? Yay! So you asked if you can have them and my answer is........yes you can. You can have a virtual pack of them.
With love from me to you - HERE

PS: I just want to say thank you to John Cheyne over at Jolly Nation who kind gave a link to my blog from his fab website. I notice they have a link to stuff that crafters who love a bargain (espesh card makers) will just lurve. Its here. I met John in July at a QVC event and we had great fun at a thai restaurant in London with a bunch of other entrepreneurs, business people, presenters and demonstrators. I love their range of decoupage of which I faffed with for Septembers Crafts Beautiful. Love, Love, Love.
Thank you John.

PPS: Thank the lord the UK saw the light and removed Daniel from X factor. Sheesh kebab, he was total cheese on toast. Now if we could only just stop Diana's over animated arms and hands, then we could see a real bun fight from now on!

PPPS: Belle is majorly excited that "Im a celeb...." starts tomorrow. I LOVE ANT AND DEC! She loves creepy crawly challenges and late night stop up's on a school night.

14 Nov 2008

For Fun

I had to sort out all my layout images on my PC this evening because some of them dated back to what feels like the Minors Strike. Yes, I was about 9 years old and scrapping was not in vogue, come to think not even card making was in vogue....hell, was even knitting around then?
Any road.
I found this layout which I never shared on my blog and its one of my faves because of the colour and composition. I agree, its artsy but I did a promo picture for a web development company about brushing teeth last year so I used it on a layout for a Studio Calico kit piece and something to remind me of the promo.That's it.
Just wanted to share it.
Nowt else to say really except belle has yet another hozzy appointment tomorrow which could be a biggy.
But I say that every time, don't I?

13 Nov 2008

Blackpool Pilgrimage

I was emptying my memory card from my camera, as you do... well technically not as YOU do, but as I do (which is always like, weeks after an event on the odd occasion) and forgot to blog about our annual trip to Blackpool in September (yeeeks, feels like years ago).
Its something a lot of northerners do, to go and see the mile long illuminations, get lashed by the North Sea air, eat crap, spend money on the slots, eat crap and enjoy the tackiness of it all. I love that we go every year and never expect to see anything that may have drastically changed.
Blackpool is the UK's gambling capital but not as hard core as Vegas. It is the mecca of copper slots not forgetting that its the top place to go for a hen or stag do. I even think that Blackpool has the largest outdoor toilet facilities in the whole of the world - meaning just that. Alleys, walls, bins... any where you can stand (or squat for that matter) is a green light to answer the call of nature. Hmmm, nice.
Still, the scent of greasy chips, donut fat and ammonia combined with the salty air is the elixir for the entire experience (well for at least 6 hours) which brings you down to earth as you learn to appreciate inner city living and the desperation to go and inhale car exhaust fumes just for something a little more sweeter.
Prior to the nightmare of finding a parking spot in the centre we took the dog for a walk on the beach at Lytham st Annes but not before Mark had chanced a few geocaches en route. Darn the man who dares to discourage progress with the man whose GPS points him down a dirt track and into a ditch. You just don't mess with the Wiseman and his scent for a bit of hidden treasure (read that as tacky crap in a box with a pencil, a piece of paper and some knicker elastic....don't ask). Our "favourite" cache of the day was located on the wreck of an old pier that you can only access at low tide (obv). Well we spent a friggin age trying to find the clue which cricked our necks and tested our patience. It was well stinky and rusty under thereWe even had time for a photo shoot with belle whilst the mad geocachers hunted down the clue!
Thank the lord when The Wiseman himself found it eventually before I lost the will to live. Even the dog sent me a morse code message spelling out that he had had enough and wanted to chuck himself into the returning tide.
There was plenty of this on the beach though - cos somebody hates sand in here shoes
The gang head back to the prom for some sand and crick free respite
We made it back to the promenade without killing each other after fuming over the challenge of the find where we parked our buttocks for a cup of tea and some homemade cake. God, I love tea and cake especially by the sea where outdoor dining is simply at its best. It right works up an appetite, that sea air, you know. Ellie on the other hand, got bore3d a bit too quick as our tea and cake turned out to be a a sneaky geocache for the boys.Then onwards to Blackpool and we charged in our Suzuki Liana to every parking area without a inch of room for a gnat let alone our 5 door hatch. We almost abandoned the nights entertainment when he stumbled across an open piece of land that doubled as a carpark/get rich scheme by some cunning landowner and parked next to a dead crow. Oh the joy of the day got better and better.
Luckily it was only a short walk to the attractions and we split company as the dog was not allowed on most premises although he did enjoy a sausage outside this greasy spoon much to the delight of passing tourists. Us girls went to the slots where Ellie spent a fiver and was thoroughly satisfied with her spendage. This photo is way out of focus but I just love her laughing on this teacup ride
Then it was out to the boys to take pics of the sunset and Eddie's flapping ears in the wind - god, we love that dog (well today we don't - he literally ate my brothers charger for his phone that he left this weekend and he doesn't even know yet... so if you are reading this leigh, your charger is in the dog. Oh I had to yell at the dog which almost killed me because I love him so much but he had to learn a lesson. Grrrr, I didnt loik it.... said in my Danni Minogue accent).

As ever on our Blackpool trips, we treated belle to a night light gimmick which cost a crazy £3. The tackiest of gimmicks like this enthrall every punter on the golden mile and is money well invested as she bosses us about in her mighty carriage asking to go hither and dither at the wave of her wand.
Sadly the wind got too much for my parentage so we head off home before we had hit 500 metres let alone the full mile but it was a good day out and another set of memories that would not go without incident when you consider dead birds, cricked necks and bossy knickers Bella.

Can't wait to go again next year, fo sho!

And do, if you have a tick or two, take a look at some projects I did for for Bubbly Funk this month over here and here.

Cheers, me dears.