Monday, 31 October 2011

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside

This past week has been a lot of fun. As it was half term, my younger daughter's husband (a teacher) was able to spend time with her and that gave me the opportunity to take a break with my elder daughter and family on the Isle of Wight. There was much laughter; quite a bit of sunshine; lots of eating and drinking; car rides, train rides, boat rides; several beach expeditions; stories and singing; a visit to Osborne House;  Mexican domino games; and plenty of time to photograph the grandchildren. Here are just a few of those moments :

Click on the image to enlarge it

If you ever find yourself on the Island, I can thoroughly recommend Baywatch on the Beach, a seafood restaurant by the water's edge at St Helens. It's a delightful spot. You can watch boating activities; look for sea shells; check out rock pools; take a walk along the seafront and all the while, enjoy delicious fresh seafood. Yummy!

On Saturday morning before we caught the ferry home, a Birthday breakfast was served to me. What a surprise!  As it was too early for birthday cake, the family made me a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel cake and the grandchildren helped blow out the candles. My granddaughter asked her mummy 'How old is Granny?' and when she heard I was 66 this year, replied 'There isn't enough room on the card for all those candles'. She did, however, draw me this and I will treasure it.

There were more surprises that evening when the family took me out for a delicious meal. It was the perfect end to a fabulous week.

And now, I must turn my attention to re-joining the Party. I have lots of material for those scrapbook pages.

Have a great Monday!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Half-term break

Taking a break this week but there is something important I want to say. When I posted last week about my daughter's health problems, I had no idea that a hand of kindness would be offered to me by a blog reader. Never doubt how powerful the internet can be if you find yourself needing support.

This lady is quite a well known scrapbooker/storyteller, though she would probably deny it. She wrote to me the kindest of words and explained how steroids had saved her life when she too was young and just married. Her subsequent email made my heart expand with the sincerity of her words. How thoughtful a gesture to a stranger; what a friend to wish for!

My lovely daughter and I - happy times!

Wishing you all a happy week of creativity. x

Friday, 21 October 2011

A little bit of sunshine

Although there is a definite autumnal chill in the air and a morning this week when mr frost painted the lawn with what looked like silver crystals, indoors there is still a bowl of sunshine.

The last of the tomatoes were picked by early October and have been sitting ripening in a bowl on a sunny windowsill ever since. 

These tomatoes thrived through neglect. They were left unattended for weeks while time was spent tending for those that needed it more. They are a daily reminder that sometimes nature has a way of surviving against all the odds. My heart is uplifted by these tomatoes; their vibrant colours and their shapes. I would like to capture them with my paintbrush but am thankful that a camera has allowed me to photograph them. They are a symbol of hope.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Where does the time go to?

Busy day again and no time to join in the Party. Luckily, the class has permanent access so I can join in the fun at a later date. 

Spent an enjoyable day with my grandson. There was a lot of playing with cars and trains and running them through the car wash

And lots of giggling

And, I got to collect my granddaughter again from school

 Her first school uniform. Doesn't she look smart!

Next week is half-term and I will be spending every day with both of them. It is such an enormous joy being a Granny. They always make me smile.

Enjoy the rest of your day, whatever it brings.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Late Posting!

Today has been one of those days. You know the ones? You start off with such good intentions and get side tracked along the way. I really wanted to scrap a page using lots of patterned paper as per day two's Party prompt. I have just the papers and two photographs ready and waiting. I haven't even seen today's prompt yet... Let's hope for some free time tomorrow while my grandson is having his nap!

On the up side, I collected my granddaughter from school today. Always a happy event. On the way home, she asked if I liked jelly. Oh! yes, said I and was then treated to a very descriptive ten minutes on how to make it. Such a delight. She is only 5!

In view of the lack of scrapbook pages today, I thought I would share a recent doodle from my art journal. I haven't added any colour to it yet. I usually colour the background first but that day, I really had the urge to draw something immediately. I used a set of Pitt pens with different sized nibs. I haven't quite finished the doodling but here is a section of it. 

Thank You for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Let the Party Begin!

Over at there's a Party going on. This is no ordinary party. It lasts for four weeks and commenced yesterday. There is still time to join in, so head on over there! You may wonder what this Party is about? It's to celebrate paper! If you are a scrapbooker or a card maker (or both!), you probably have lots of paper. 

The first challenge is to photograph some of our pretty papers and then to describe the type of paper person we are. There are four headings to choose from: paper collector; scrap sorter; pattern contender; collection packer. How can I make a choice? I seem to fit into each category! Yes, I head to the paper aisles first at the craft store (collector). Yes, I have loads of scraps  (scrap sorter). Yes, I have favourite papers that I only look at and couldn't possibly cut up (contender) and Yes, I love a new Collection. Oh! dear! Luckily, I am not alone in my paper passion. There have already been lots of confessions at the Party with some great photographs to back up this obsession love of paper. 

Remember these babies!

Here's the grandchildren photographed when they were two years old. 

Think I have all the paper topics covered. That's my last piece of the flowery sprigged paper. And, I went overboard with all the Collection labels...

Wonder what today's project will be? Looking forward to it!

Have a great day!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Family bonds

This time last year, the family spent a wonderful evening together.  It was just a perfect event to scrapbook, and I made this digital page 

I used paislee press serendipity paper and a serendipity vintage scroll stamp.

How different October this year. The past week has been an extremely difficult one. Having my youngest daughter aged 33 so ill that I have become her carer, does not seem to be the correct order of things. Watching her deterioration this year from a bright, happy girl to her present condition, breaks my heart. But there is hope. The PET scan she had this week shows that the steroids she is taking have made a small inroad into her disease.  It's name is Sarcoidosis. My daughter has it in her lungs and bones - a rare combination, apparently - as it usually attacks the lungs+heart/the lungs+head. She contracted pneumonia in November 2010 and we do not know if the Sarcoidosis preceded the pneumonia, or if the pneumonia was the actual causation. The family are incredibly supportive of her and do everything they can to assist.  

My daughter has borne this illness with fortitude and acceptance, and I love her for it. It has been a very bumpy roller-coaster ride and she will continue to be debilitated for quite some time. Her mobility is very limited and the steroids have some particularly awful side effects. It may never go away but re-appear at different times of her life. 


Have a great Monday everyone!

PS I am never sure how much of a personal nature to reveal on my blog. This illness is a huge part of our lives right now and I hope that you will not mind me sharing a part of it with you dear reader. My daughter, after all, is the one who helped me get started with the blog when I failed miserably to understand how to set it up and for that I am extremely grateful.  

Friday, 14 October 2011

At the Bowling Alley

It's Friday!

Another scrapbook page. Journaling hidden to protect the rascals!

The granddaughter and grandson's first trip to a Bowling Alley. My granddaughter was very focused. She was top of the leader board ahead of her father!

Wishing you a great weekend. x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Blue eyes and Books

Good morning! Today, it's the turn of 

the Grandson

Happy Thursday! x

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Fun in the Sun!

Hi everyone,

As promised, a couple of scrapbook pages. Today, it's 

the granddaughter

Have a great Wednesday! x

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


There won't be any written posts for the remainder of the week due to hospital appointments. My younger daughter is ill and I need to be with her. However, in my absence, I have scheduled a daily photograph of some past scrapbooking pages. Hope you enjoy them!

Until the next time... x 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

The vagaries of the English weather meant that one day I was throwing off the duvet and the next found me wishing to snuggle down beneath it! Autumn has slowly been creeping upon us, showing off her colours so proudly in the sunshine. Now she is here in all her glory, and I feel I must catch her quickly as the wind is showering my lawn with leaves and scattering apples about the beds. 

This clump of mushrooms appeared in an old tree stump, adding to the richness all around us. (Colours sharpened in Photoshop)

Daily the vine leaves create this pile, the grapes having been finished off by the birds.

Often in Autumn, my thoughts turn to poetry. Percy Bysshe Shelley puts it thus :

There is a harmony in autumn,
and a luster in its sky,
which through the summer is not heard or seen,
as if it could not be, as if it had not been!

And John Keats :

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Last year in my Poetry group, this poem was discussed and it was suggested that Keats had already composed it when he wrote a letter from Winchester dated 22nd September 1819 to his friend, Reynolds. In the letter he says:

'How beautiful the season is now. How fine the air ... a temperate sharpness about it. Really, without joking, chaste weather ... Dian skies. I never liked stubble-fields so much as now ... aye, better than chilly green of the Spring. Somehow a stubble plain looks warm, in the same way that some pictures look warm. This struck me so much in my Sunday's walk that I composed upon it.'

Nearly 200 years later, these words are still fresh and descriptive, capturing the essence of this change in seasons.

Enjoy your Monday! x

Friday, 7 October 2011

This and That

Following on from yesterday's family history visit, I would like to share a couple of scrapbook pages from an 'a-z' series I commenced some time ago called 'Me: the abridged version'. The format comes from Cathy Zielske who occasionally has a class at Big Picture Classes. The class created an opportunity to journal stories about me. Here are pages 'b' and 'c'. 

click on the images to enlarge them

The digital background papers I chose are from Jessica Sprague's StrawberryLemon collection and Katie Pertiet's Letterbox collection.

These journal pages have provided a place for me to write those stories that otherwise might have been forgotten. They also opened up to me stories that I may never have told but for the nudge by Cathy of a topic each week that awoke a certain memory. For instance, writing about Carole King's song 'Tapestry', reminded me about a family piece of tapestry that I hold most dear. It was embroidered in 1841 by an ancestor aged 12. The sampler is whole, but in quite a fragile state. Given it's age, and the kind of life it has spent, it still amazes me that I can see it in it's entirety! I chose a part of the sampler that contains the alphabet to place on the 'c' page; here is the whole sampler.

At some stage, I propose taking it to the Royal School of Needlework to ask their advice on how to preserve it from any further deterioration. My soul still soars when I look at it, thinking of those 12 year old hands completing something of such intricacy in 1841. 

Another weekend is upon us. The grandchildren were here yesterday. Before I go, I must also share with you a couple of photographs of my grandson that will bring a smile to your face.

Isn't he gorgeous. I just love him to bits!

Enjoy the weekend! x

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Family History

There seems a strange conundrum to getting older. I now seem to spend more time looking back than looking forward! That's not to say that I don't still have plenty of things I would like to do in the future, more that I have the time now to reflect upon my life and those of my ancestors.

In 2008, I started to research our family history. It has been an interesting journey so far, with many trips to Records Offices, Newspaper Archives, Museums, Churches, Graveyards, on-line genealogy sites, corresponding with unknown relatives and people who have generously shared information with me. 

Being someone who likes to journal, I searched around for a suitable system to record some of the information I found, and also somewhere to exhibit family photographs.  I found a project that Ali Edwards runs on the Big Picture Classes site called Yesterday-Today and it fitted my requirements perfectly.  There were plenty of places for photographs and lots of spaces for journaling. The pages could be done both digitally or in a traditional scrapbook way. I have chosen to make digital pages and when I have finished the book, I can then have the pages printed and give a copy to each of my daughters. Needless to say, I am way behind on the project. Life does that sometimes, doesn't it? Gets in the way!! But I know this is one project I will finish for it's a project near to my heart. Just look at some of the photographs, what stories they can tell.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

The photographs show four generations of the family; son, parents and brother, grandparents and great-grandparents. In 1908, two sisters were married, months apart, but oh! how different they look. Both photographs were taken in the garden of their home. The parent's more modern marriage took place in 1937, prior to World War II. I love how the photographs show their different dress styles. The journaling is in the grey box behind Ali's 'art word' but is hidden as it contains names and dates.


The above photograph shows the three generations of today; grandparents, parents, Aunt and Uncle and the grandchildren. These two pages will be opposite each other in the album. Time spans between the generations but we are not so very different. All getting on with our lives to the best of our abilities and at the core of it all, the family link that binds us all together. These are happy moments.

The digital papers are from Paislee's Serendipity range and the word art and strips from Ali's class downloads. 

I hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane? There is more to come! Have a wonderful Thursday. x

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Brown Paper Bags

Don't you just love (cue music) 'brown paper packages tied up with string...' ? Well, I do!  Sometimes, it's not even the contents of the parcel, but the pretty paper, the ribbon, maybe the box, that makes me want to sing!  

Quite recently, I saw a quick tutorial on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's site on how to make a sheet of wrapping paper from a brown paper bag. I thought as I had lots of bp bags in the house (more on that later) I would have a go.  This is the result.

The design is Julie's and there is a You Tube video, I think, but I can't find the link. Sorry!  It was such a fun way to use those bp bags and I have since made several sheets of wrapping paper with my own designs.

Another way I used brown paper bags was to make some flower decorations, with the help of my younger daughter and her husband, for my granddaughter's recent birthday party. They looked wonderful hanging from the grape vine. Here they are being 'mass produced' a week before the event.

We found  the pattern for these hanging paper flowers on Martha Stewart's site.

Who knew that brown paper bags could be used for more than just sandwiches!

Thanks for looking at my blog and Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Proud Granny!

Last week, my granddaughter mentioned that she had been chosen by her teacher to be on the school council.  She is 5 years old and has just started school. Bemused, I asked my daughter, what does this mean?  It turns out that indeed she is the student who has been elected by her teacher onto the school council and who will represent the views of all pupils in her class on how to improve the school. Not only that, she was given 'star of the week' on Friday!

None of the above comes as a huge surprise. She has been asking 'Why?' since she learned how to say mummy and daddy, and please and thank you...

as this digital page I scrapbooked back in 2010 reveals!  She is also her mother's daughter, as I was reminded by my daughter's godmother on Saturday.  

When my daughter was about my granddaughter's age, she too was appointed class monitor (no school council back then!).  She took the role very seriously, arriving home daily to entertain us with tales to rival those of 'the naughtiest school boy'. I am looking forward to hearing about my granddaughter's experience of 'being on the council' for she is just as imaginative as her mother!  Seriously, I am very pleased that she has settled so quickly into school life and her teacher has placed such confidence in her abilities.  Well done, granddaughter.

Wishing you all a happy Tuesday x

PS The digital page is a jessica sprague template from her Photoshop Friday series.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Mail Art Monday

For the past few days, I have been working on a piece of mail art. Mail art is a world-wide culture that began in the early 1960's and as the title suggests, it involves sending a piece of visual art through the mail. If you type 'mail art' into Google, there are an amazing array of images and sites dedicated to this medium.

There is someone I wish to thank and as she is an artist, I hope she will enjoy my first attempts at mail art.  I certainly had a lot of fun collaging various papers and then painting a design on top.  I cannot show you the whole envelope as it contains a name and address, but here is a section of it. Next time, I must remember to take a photograph before writing on the address!

Once I have popped a message inside, I will machine stitch around the edges and entrust it to the Royal Mail to send it on it's way. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this project and am going to make the first Monday of each month a mail art posting day here on my blog. Now, who else do I have to thank?

Until the next time x