Sunday, 30 September 2012

Month in Numbers


It has been some time since I joined in with Julie Kirk's Months in Numbers and this month, I aim to rectify that. I always enjoy dropping by notes on paper as there is usually something really fascinating going on.

The month of September started out with an influx of unexpected visitors. Friends from Yorkshire, Leicester and Rhode Island arrived - at different times! - and we were very happy to see them all.

I have gathered up some of the numbers and placed them in a layout

digital file folders from Splendid Fiinds

One of the highlights of September was participating in Rinda's 2012 Photography Scavenger Hunt over on Gallo Organico. It gave me an enormous amount of satisfaction finding all the items on the list and was such a fun thing to do. You can see a round up of my Hunt photographs here

The grandchildren also feature hugely in my monthly number count. I so enjoy collecting my granddaughter from school on the days that I have her, and I look after my grandson for a whole day once a week. Then there are the odd times when they drop in to see me. How lucky was I to get to see her on the day she lost her 1st tooth and be able to document it too? And, in September she turned 6, another number for the list.

There were lots of other events during September. My younger daughter has now gone back to her own home after another prolonged stay with me. We are trusting that she can manage, with the assistance of her husband and the medical services, to try and regain some normality in her life. It is such a long journey she has been on; 2 years since her diagnosis.

Before I started looking after my younger daughter, I belonged to a local Poetry Group. Since she has now returned to Kent, I have rejoined the Group and was invited to afternoon tea at Amberley Castle to get to meet everyone again. What a delicious tea. Wish I could have stayed the night...

September also heralded a whole year of blogging for me. My 1st year. When I look back over that year, I am glad to have recorded so many thoughts and events that otherwise I might not have done. I look forward to a second year and hopefully, many more adventures.

If you want to check out Julie's September Month in Numbers, here is a link. I am sure there will be some interesting facts and figures to be read.

Thanks for joining me this Sunday. 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

And the giveaway goes to ...


While here for a play, my grandson helped me to randomly choose a name out of his hat. Needless to say, after pulling out the first name, he then pulled out the rest. He would have liked you all to be the winner. 

So, without further ado, cue fireworks


Please email your address to me, Elizabeth and a parcel of Christmas goodies will soon be winging it's way to you in time for the festive scrapbooking season. 

Thank you to those who participated in the giveaway and for all your lovely comments.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A digital sketch challenge


'Go digital', suggested Sian over at From High in the Sky. The challenge relates to one of her layouts that has been turned into a sketch in the October edition of Scrap365. See here for details.

Scrap365 - October sketch challenge

I have had my eye on this digital download from paislee press for some time. A challenge was just the excuse I had been waiting for. I have long admired the clean style of Liz Tamanaha and the products she produces, and hope I have done justice to those and Sian's other suggestion, 'go really clean and simple'...

I changed the colour of a couple of the embellishments in Photoshop and outlined some of the photo frames with a couple of the digital papers from the download. It feels finished. What do you think?

Enjoy your week!

PS There's still plenty of time for you to leave a comment here to be entered into my anniversary giveaway.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

One year on ... and a giveaway


I can hardly believe it has been a whole year since I commenced blogging under the title Heart.Hearth.Home. When I started out taking tentative steps into the world of blogging, I had not appreciated how much I would enjoy being part of a unique community. 

During the past year, I feel that I have grown as a person. Blogging has helped me to express myself in a way that I would not normally have thought possible. Family and friends have had a huge role to play, providing me with plenty of occasions to write about. The blog has allowed me to share courses I have taken, lots and lots of photographs, and opportunities to join with other bloggers by participating in storytelling, mail art, scavenger hunts and many other things.

Having a Blog has been about writing my stories, getting things out of my head and into print. It was one of the driving forces in the beginning. Researching family history has made me aware of how important it is to record memories. There have been so many times that I now wish I had paid more attention when family stories were being handed down. This blog has given me a place to embrace that wholeheartedly and pass on those stories to my daughters and grandchildren. 

This year, I have met online some wonderful people, people who I perhaps would never have met other than through blogging. It would be great to think that one day I might meet a few in person but for now, I appreciate the bond that blogging has created.

As I move into my second year, I want to widen my horizons even more. There seems to be endless possibilities to where blogging can lead. I am moving forward on a much wider path than the one upon which I took my first step.

Now... if you would like to help me celebrate, please leave a comment below and give yourself the chance to win a box full of scrapbooking goodies. If you would like to comment on the holiday season, all the better. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Saturday 29th September 2012. Here's a taster of what could be winging it's way to you very soon wherever you are on the globe. Did I mention there will also be washi tapes, ribbons, surprises...

Good luck, and don't forget to check back next Saturday to see if you are the lucky one!

Friday, 21 September 2012

The 2012 Photography Scavenger Hunt


I have to say that participating in Rinda's Hunt this summer gave me so much pleasure. It meant I was always on the look-out for something from the list. It made me more observant, gave me the opportunity to visit places I might not have thought of. I chatted about it with family and friends, and they would often join me when I was out taking photographs and even, on one occasion, photographed me. I was fortunate enough to find all of the 21 things listed for the Scavenger Hunt.

I have placed the photographs on a couple of digital pages. The background paper is one of my own patterned designs from a collection I am presently putting together. I think I might print the pages off and write on each photograph what it represents and where it was taken. The hunt commenced here and this link should take you to all the other posts.

Two important things struck me about participating in this Scavenger Hunt. Firstly, behind each photograph there is a story. They were not random shots. By having a list to keep to meant the story had more meaning. For instance, the horse photograph is not a terribly good one (and I did see some finer beasts later...) but it was taken in the middle of a thunderstorm and will always be a reminder of the dreadful summer we have experienced this year in the UK. The second, and more important connection, were the many people who joined in and provided me with photographic glimpses into their lives and shared a story or two along the way. Such a bonus!

Thank you Rinda for organising this event. I can hardly wait to see what you have in store for us in 2013.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I would be delighted if you could pop in on Sunday. I am having a celebratory give-away here on the blog for a special Anniversary. See you then?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Just a Simple Moment?

When Alexa at Trimming the Sails mentioned the idea of jotting down a specific minute sometime during the 15th of September, it captured my attention. It is something I have been meaning to do. Capturing the here and now. If you wish to join in, here is a link to Simply a Moment and some useful hints about recording your moment. 

It is Saturday morning and in an hour's time, I will be taking my granddaughter to her ballet lesson. I have wandered outside, enjoying the unusual warmth of an Autumn morning. This is what I wrote at 8:15 a.m.

I am feeling fuzzy, my head stuffed full of HTML coding. I am pondering about why I am challenging myself with all this. At my age, do I really need to know this stuff? HTML coding is a clever beast, I can understand that. But it is darned complicated. What is driving me on to do this?  My mum comes into my head and I think about how bright she was and how her intelligence was wasted. She never had the chances in life that I do now. When she stopped doing the crossword, when she stopped being interested... She was so very proud of me and my achievements. As I sip my tea, I look up and see a friendly Robin come to join me. Not a care in the world.

The minute is up. I cannot believe all the thoughts that came tumbling out. Time to head off to ballet. To embrace my granddaughter and watch her gracefully float around a hall. 

Thank you Alexa for suggesting this exercise in writing. The time restraint certainly brings clarity to one's thoughts.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Decluttering... or Not

I am having a bit of a sort out at home. There are some things I just cannot bear to part with. Do you feel the same? It has nothing to do with their value but more their worth to me. They are worthy for purely sentimental reasons, and I love a little sentimentality. 

This typewriter is a case in point. 

The typewriter belonged to Uncle Freddie, who I mentioned here and here. It accompanied him to Uganda and back and I am privileged to have some correspondence that he typed on this very machine. How could anyone put a value on that?

Inside the lid there is a guarantee in which it says: This Guarantee does not cover defects due to accident during transport, or to unfair treatment. I imagine that Remington will be delighted to know that this typewriter survived  a sea/overland journey to Uganda, a flight back home, and several house moves and is still in immaculate order.  

If you have a love of old typewriters and fonts, I found this wonderful site called Uppercase. You can look through their latest magazine here. There are lots of historical facts to read about typewriters and I was delighted to see that June 23 was International Typewriter Day. To celebrate, a number of cakes were baked and you can see them here. They are truly amazing. I couldn't have borne cutting into them. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Mid-week round-up

This weekly round-up of mine is becoming something of a rodeo. All over the place! It was going to be on a Sunday, then became Saturday and now here I am on a Wednesday. 

There are a few things I would like to share this week.

First up is Mary Ann Moss. I just love her quirky writing, reading what goes on in her head. She creates the most wonderful travel journals. You can see a few pages here at dispatch from la.

Speaking of heads (was I?), I read this inspired piece over on Design Sponge in their weekly Biz Ladies column about how what goes on in your head can hold you back. I think this could relate to lots of things in our lives, not just setting up a business. You only have to read the comments to realise that a lot of women feel this way.

For those of us who are computer savvy (or maybe not!), Pugly Pixel is offering a very reasonably priced CSS course that teaches you all those tricky html codes that you have always wanted to know about. You learn how to move sidebars etc and set up a blog in Blogger by following her easy tutorials. Even if you don't want to sign up for a course, her site is worth a visit as there are so many free tips, free downloads and resources for all things digital. If I could only retain a portion of what goes on in her head, I would be very happy. Just the mention of html coding gives me shivers but, you know what, I am going to give it a try. My head is not going to hold me back this month.

Now, who doesn't like some design candy? Go visit Carina Gardner and take a look at her 7th Newsletter. It is a veritable feast for the eyes. How could you not be creative sitting in her studio?

And look who has come to play today. This bundle of mischief certainly keeps me on my toes. Time to sign off and enjoy the sunshine.

Have fun!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Turning Six

It has been an eventful week for my granddaughter. Seven days ago, one of her front teeth started to wobble.  Back to school on Wednesday, to a new teacher and classroom, and still the tooth was hanging by a thread. On Friday, the tooth decided to stop wobbling and fell out. She dashed round to see me after school to show me the tooth and inform me that now the tooth fairy would be able to visit. 

Could it get any more exciting? Yes, it could. The very next day was her sixth birthday and her parents had arranged a disco party for her at a nearby Village Hall. 

Just setting up the Hall and showing off some moves

Mummy and daddy made a gingerbread house and toffee cake pops

During the school holidays, my granddaughter and I stitched together lots of bunting, using off-cuts from my patchwork and quilting days. It was such a lovely day, we wrapped some around a tree and it merrily fluttered as the children sat outside for their picnic lunch.

The DJ's, Peter and Paul, organised team limbo dancing, boys versus girls and then had them all dance backwards under the pole. Everyone joined in the fun. It was the best birthday party ever, said my granddaughter later that day. And you know what? I agree.

Thanks for popping in. Wish I could offer you a cake pop. They were delicious.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The End of the Hunt

At last, I found the perfect spot to be photographed for Number 21 of The 2012 Scavenger Hunt, organised by Rinda over at Gallo Organico. This particular photograph created certain difficulties: I was to appear in it; I had to stand next to something that symbolises my nation; and I couldn't cop opt out of it and use a substitute. 

As is usually the case, a photo opportunity presented itself when I was least expecting it. This red telephone box in my village has stood empty for quite some time. After our recent Church Fete, it was decided that all unsold books could be placed in the box and people could help themselves as they passed by. This has now become a free library. For every book taken, another is left in it's place.

This style of telephone box was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott when he won a competition judged by the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1924. The original box of Scott's first design still stands today by the left entrance archway of the Royal Academy. I like the artistic connection.

Red telephone boxes have a prominent position in my life. When I was young, we didn't have a telephone inside our house, not many people did. In an emergency, you received a telegram. To make a telephone call, I had to go to the red box on the corner of the road. A call cost two copper pennies that I would feed into the money slot and then I would dial the number I wanted to reach. If someone answered, I would press button A but if no-one answered, I could press button B and get my money back. I can still hear the clatter that the coins made as they fell into the waiting silver tray.

Throughout my early childhood, the red box was where I stood to speak to my beloved grandmother, my mother when she was away from home, and my first boyfriend. Arrangements were made in that box for my first ever holiday, and sometimes it was where one heard sad news. Even when we got our own telephone, if I was away on a visit somewhere, I would still use the red telephone boxes to call home. 

Going on this Scavenger Hunt has, in many ways, been an enormous trip down memory lane and I am so thankful to Rinda for organising it. I have opened my eyes more and seen things afresh because of it. And it has been enormous fun.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The best of friends

The arrival of my American friends coincided with a change in the British weather. Either that, or they brought with them some of the heat they have been experiencing in Rhode Island. We have been able to sit outside for lunch; the boys could play football in the garden, and we even managed to barbecue at my elder daughter's house. 

My granddaughter, who didn't start her new term until yesterday, was treated to lunch at a local hostelry and ordered the largest bowl of strawberry ice-cream I have seen in quite some time. 

Just before bed-time, the USA took on team GB in a race down the garden. I think it was a draw... though the grandchildren would probably have something to say about that.

Eat your heart out, David Beckham!

It has been four years since my friends were last here, around the time of my granddaughter's second birthday, and it's the first time they have seen my grandson. We met in Hong Kong in 1984, when our daughters - my two and their two - were similar ages, and now we are grandparents. My elder daughter is expecting baby number three in November and my friends' younger daughter, baby number two at the end of this month. We so wish we lived near to one another and could share our experiences. 

They have departed now for Buckinghamshire, and then London before heading back to the States. I miss them already. Although our time together was brief, we packed in those four missing years like they were yesterday. I guess that is what true friendship is all about, being able to take up again where you have left off, knowing each other well enough to really appreciate the time together. Time well spent.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

School Days, Happy Days

The theme for this month's Storytelling Sunday over at From High in the Sky is Too Cool for School. Get a drink, follow the link here, and sit back for a while as you read some memories and remember your own. Better still, join in.

There is a day firmly fixed in my head. The day I heard I had passed the 11+ examination. The eleven plus was created in the UK in 1944, the year before I was born. My brother had sat the 11+ in 1948 and gained entry into Manchester Grammar School for Boys. I so wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Here I am at primary school. It was my last year, I was head of Montgomery House, named after Field Marshall Montgomery. That's my captain's badge at the top. I kept that badge for years and years. It was my talisman, watching over me as I crossed the bridge from the security of childhood to adulthood and the pathway opening up before me. 

Our House song was The British Grenadiers, and all these years later, I can still remember it:

Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules
Of Hector and Lysander, and such great names as these.
But of all the world's great heroes, there's none that can compare.
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers.

Looking back now, it seems like another lifetime. Cots in the nursery class; free, silver topped bottles of milk that in winter had to be thawed out on the school stove; the wearing of liberty bodices; elasticated blue knickers (remember those?); singing, skipping, maypole dancing and lots of freedom. Playing outside all day whatever the weather, only going indoors when it was time to eat. And the learning, always learning.

I look at my photograph now and see back through my eyes all the hopes and dreams for the future. The excitement of things to come. Too cool for school? Never! In a different way, I am still learning, though now it is technology that fills up my head.

See you at breaktime in the playground? 

PS: Over on Shimelle's website, you can sign up for Learn Something New Every Day. Now there's a wonderful challenge for September.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Saturday round-up

Having commenced a new series named Sunday round-up last week, here I am posting on Saturday. This Sunday, being the first one of the month, belongs to Storytelling Sunday over at From High in the Sky. I really enjoy a good story or two. Why don't you check it out tomorrow and join in? They are a great bunch of storytellers. 

On my flick round the blogging world this week, I found the following of interest. I hope you do too.

Monday's post by Rachael Taylor is about her ongoing ordeal with Marks and Spencer. I cannot believe they haven't yet resolved this matter with her when they clearly removed all the goods containing her design from their stores which, in my eyes, is tantamount to confirming their acceptance that the design was hers. She continues to suffer stress and financial loss at the hands of a Company who should know better. I have signed the Petition. Will you?

On TuesdayJessica Swift asked the question, What are you waiting for? This post was part of Tiffany Moore's list of Big Questions. Jessica writes about her shifting perception of how to be happy. I think we can all relate to this post.

I was surprised to read the post by Melody Ross on Wednesday about her feelings of insecurity. Being Brave comes in all manner of guises. Get well soon, Melody.

The Thursday interview on Smart Creative Women was with Roxanne Cerda, editor of Stash Books. If you have any thoughts on publishing your own creative book, Roxanne welcomes budding authors.

Friday's treat is a visit to Paper Pastries. I found this site by accident while looking for pencils for my arty son-in-law. I love all things stationery. Take a look at this cute site. How can you resist the Know it all pencil set? 'I before E except after C' leads me nicely back to September's Storytelling Sunday theme: Too Cool for School.

And, just for fun, here's the grandchildren on a recent day out at a funfair. 

 Michael Schumacher eat your heart out!

Have a great weekend.