Blethers and blahs

Random ramblings from a chaotic life

Perseverance – 2nd time around

Last year, or maybe even the year before, I decided to try and complete a 52 walks in a year project. Like many of the projects that I start at the beginning of each year I fell by the wayside once the reality of life set in and after about 6 weeks I gave up. This year I have decided to revisit this project and although I doubt I will manage one walk of any length every single week there will be some weeks when I can do more. If at the end of the year I have managed 52 it will be fantastic but I am not setting that as my goal. My goal is to do as many as I can without putting myself under any extra pressure. So far I have managed 4 walks and I am hoping to get at least one more fitted in later this week. I am enjoying the challenge of finding different places to go, as well as finding different things to photograph. Luckily the weather here hasn’t been too bad, just bitterly cold and icy. The snow that has blighted much of England hasn’t made an appearance here yet and I am hoping it stays that way at least until our 700+ boxes and new furniture has made it to our new school.

There is a disused psychiatric hospital not far from where I live which used to have a general hospital attached, where all my children were born. The hospital closed many years ago now and the general section was demolished, but the original Village part is still standing and getting less and less secure by the day. These days the paths and walkways are becoming increasingly dangerous but in good light it is still an enjoyable walk.

I love the colours of the stonework of this Villa

I love the flaking paint on this old storage tank

The Church - the setting for many happy weddings and Christenings over the years.

This tree looks like someone cut it in half - very strange

I am guessing that the Clothes Peg was the laundry

Another Villa, with the sun making the windows look golden.

The Shop - once well used by patients and public alike

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Project Life weeks 2-4

I am stil loving my project life and am delighted that the real deal is finally available in the UK.  I have ordered the page protectors and the grid journalling cards as I felt the core kit wasn’t really what I was looking for, though if it had been available before I started I might have bought it.  Thankfully there are plenty freebies and reasonably priced digital cards available which, along with the Project Life digital cards and bits are more than enough.  I have printed some as is amd made a few other bits myself.  I think a bit more time with photoshop and some more wingding type fonts and/or brushes and I will be sorted.  Maybe in a few months time I may even be confident to share what I come up with but I need loads more practice before that day.  I have week 5 complete but I haven’t had the chance to photograph it as yet.

Week 2 - left hand page

Week 2 - right hand page

It’s nothing fancy as I haven’t had much time to be really creative with it but I think I need an adjustment in my apporach as I want it to be more creative.  Maybe that will start next week once I am on holiday and have caught up on my sleep. 

Week 3 - left hand page

week 3 - right hand page

Despite the fact that my life is terribly unexciting I am finding that I have to narrow down the number of photos I include each week but I love the fact that I am keeping up to date with my photos.  I am also being more adventurous with my camera and am using manual almost all the time and getting back into using my camera properly again, which is another bonus.

week 4 - left hand page

week 4 - right hand page

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Storytelling Sunday

It is so good to be back blogging.  My beloved thought it would be a really good idea to update my operating system but somehow that meant I couldn’t access the disk with all my photos and project life on!  Thankfully it is now sorted, I have missed blogging almost as much as I have missed having access to my photos.  It is my own fault in a way as I feel it is much safer to keep these precious, irreplaceable things seperate from the rest of my computer, just in case anything major goes wrong.

Anyway, to get back to my story.  This story is about a girl who was so conscious of how she looked that even emptying the rubbish required full make up and fashionable clothes.  Nothing was ever too expensive, as long as she had the cash to pay for it, and no amount of time taken to get ready was too long, even for putting out the rubbish. However she hated having her photo taken and would always hide from the camera.  Then she  had children and suddenly things changed.  The children took centre stage and putting the rubbish out no longer required any make up and was sometimes even done while wearing pyjamas, though she still hated the camera and getting her photo taken.  Gradually over time she came to ignore the camera as it helped capture the little, day to day things in her children’s lives that made her heart glad.  Like trying on new swimming goggles before the excitement of going swimming, like joining in with her children’s imaginative play, like being mummy and loving it.

This is also a story about a lady who likes getting messy with her grandchildren, and without them, and had forgotten how much fun it is to blow paint with a straw and mix colours and have fun while recording an everyday moment.

This lady would like to thank you for stopping by and invite you to enjoy some of the other stories that you will find links to from here.  Happy storytelling Sunday everyone.


Edited to add – Blogger isn’t letting me leave comments this morning so I will try again later, my apologies to anyone using Blogger whose story I have read, I am not ignoring you honest 🙂


Storytelling Sunday – Generations of crafters

I love crafts, all kinds of crafts from scrapbooking to knitting, crochet, sewing, baking, cross stitch and a few others that I have been less than successful at.  I think it is genetic.  My mother was a keen needlewoman and sewed, knitted, crocheted and baked.  I am sure she would have been a scrapbooker had she known about it as many of the photo albums she kept had tags with them which told part of the story.  My maternal grandmother did all these things too but that was as much out of neccesity as enjoyment.  In fact the other day I found a lilac dressing table mat that had been crocheted from very fine cotton and was one of the many that I remember gracing my grandmother’s dressing table over the years to stop the top of it being scratched.  I also remember embroidered chair backs and sleeve covers to keep the furniture good.

There were a few down sides to having such a creative parent such as always having hand knitted things when everyone else had – what seemed to me then – prettier shop bought clothes.  Now it is far cheaper to buy than to knit clothes but then it was the opposite. This page shows me about 2 years old, wearing my handknitted togs and my hand sewn tartan trews.  My mother sewed everything by hand and never quite got to grips with a sewing machine.  I cut my teeth on a treadle machine aged about 14.  My grandad had bought it in an auction – a real one where people bid in person, because he thought I would like it.  What an understatement, I made so many clothes on that machine including most of my first working wardrobe, I was heartbroken when it died and I so wish I had kept it.  I had hand sewed things before that though and I still have the certificate I got aged 11 for making a large, red corduroy stuffed cat.

This is all put into perspective by a phone call from my oldest grandaughter earlier in the week looking for wool.  She had been sewing thistles at school and they wanted to make more things but the teacher didn’t have any other colours of wool so could I spare some?  The answer was, of course, yes and off I dashed.  The emergency parcel contained a book on needlecrafts for children, that I had bought for myself as there were some super ideas in it, some embroidery thread, some wool and some felt.  I had bought her a Harumika doll as part of her Christmas and she has hardly put it down since so I knew she would find these things useful.  The next thing I knew she had made herself a dog puppet to play with her younger brother with, which was lovely.

I wonder of my great grandchildren will also have the crafting bug?  I hope I am around to support and guide them if they are, oh and share some stash with them too 🙂


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WOWW 137 – Where does the time go?

I am sure Wednesdays are coming round ever faster these days.  What’s on my workdesk today?  Sadly no zombies as yet, but I have managed to gather all the relevant pieces so hopefully soon.

Time is of the essence just now as I have gone from working 5 mornings and 1-2 afternoons to working 4.5 days during the week and at least one day of my weekend so crafty time is short.  Hence the guddle on my desk as everything gets done in 15 minute bursts or nothing would get done at all!  The photos are for the sketch, which is a UKS challenge.  These is so much going on over on UKS these days I can’t keep up but it is making me take these 15 minutes and do something with them, which is great.  I just haven’t decided which set of pics to go for but I have specific papers in mind so once that decision is made it should come together quite quickly.

The embossing powders are for a tag swap at one of the crops I attend and as they are due for next weekend, I really need to get myself moving with them, but they aren’t calling me quite as strongly as the need to make a scrapbook page, or even a zombie.  I must say no to the next swap, as life is just too busy at the moment.

For heaps more inspiration of various kinds, hop on over to Julia’s blog, where I will be at some point tonight.  Enjoy!


Storytelling Sunday – anyone for muffins?

I know that Sian only does a storytelling Sunday post once a month but I am enjoying thinking of a story each week.  Last week’s story is one that hasn’t made it to a scrapbook page yet, but when it does the story is all ready to go, result!

This week’s story is one that happened very recently, in the past week in fact.  I am sure that you remember this post where I promised to let you see the doll and the finished clothes, but somehow I never did.  This week I had gone to see 2 of my grandchildren after teaching a class in their school, which they find very strange.  As I walked in Katy was playing with Charlotte, her birthday doll.  Apparently Charlotte can do the splits and touch the floor with her nose when she goes to dancing class with Katy on a Monday.  However on Tuesday she was in a lot of pain, Charlotte that is, not Katy and, no, it wasn’t because she had touched the floor with her nose.  She has really sore hands because it was cold and she had no gloves.  Katy asked me if I could make a hat and scarf for Charlotte, oh and some gloves.  I suggested that gloves for Charlotte might be a bit tricky so Katy said maybe I could make the ones with only a thumb, like muffins 🙂  I am sure she meant mittens but they will be forever known as muffins.

The colour of course has to be pink to go with the jacket she wears, which also have trousers and a skirt to match.  There is a coat all cut out and ready to sew but that is in a long line of things I need to get to.  For now here is Charlotte.

Pink outfit complete with lined jacket that has lined pockets - for a doll!

Lady in Blue - ready for a night on the town

Easter outfit

Pink PJ's - I need to make more of these

Katy applying magic cream to Charlotte’s hands because she keeps saying “ow, ow” because they are so sore with the cold.  Now all I have to do is knit some muffins.

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Project Life

Well, I have made a start on my project life album and it has been a lot of fun so far.  I don’t always remember to take a photo a day but I have decided that I am going to work on a sort of weekly overview format for this as it takes the pressure off and lets me include photos that I want to keep and look at rather than filler pics for a day that nothing much happened.  I had initially thought of working Sunday to Sunday but that would mean putting the pages together about a week behind when they happened so I am going with more of a Thursday to Thursday option so I can put it together over the weekend.  I haven’t done a formal title page and I am still pondering about whether I will but I think I will leave that for just now and see how I feel as the weeks progress.

A very kind lady on UKS shared this link, which will help for weeks like this one where I am sending away an online photo order so won’t have my pictures to hand immediately.  It lets me get the journalling done ready to slip the photos in when I get them.  So far I have either printed the digital cards I bought or made my own using the extra digi bits but I am planning on taking some stamps and papers with me on crop days to make up a few more embellished cards.  This will make me happy, use some of my stash and save me carrying bags of stuff that I never open.  Sounds like a plan, but we will see how it goes.

Front page

Page 2

Page 3


WOWW 136

I have missed sharing my workdesk the past few weeks.  I have still wandered around a few others though and found some lovely work.  I am hoping that this year will be a more productive one for me and I will be making a great effort to have something on the go at least twice a week.

This week it is felt.  Many weeks ago a Hobbycraft opened near where I live and for the first 2 weeks I resisted, then I caved BUT I didn’t buy anything on my first visit.  I did see this book though and it niggled at me, a lot!

I then decided to go back for it as I couldn’t source it anywhere else and I just knew that my oldest grandaughter would love these.  So off I went and had a wee panic to myself when I couldn’t find it where I thought it was.  I think someone else had their eye on it as I eventually found it in a different section right at the back of all the books.  Anyway, I bought it and it is mine and I am hoping to start using it in a week or so when I get used to being back at work again.

To get back to my workdesk, this book made me look at felt a bit more closely and I found a lovely photo of my youngext grandaughter which I had converted to sepia and had printed and I suddenly had the urge to make some felt flowers for a vintagy page using that photo.  Here is what I have accomplished so far.

Now embroidery was never my thing as I was always far too impatient to keep all my stitches neat and roughly the same size but on this scale I can just about manage.  I still have 3 to sew and that will hopefully be tonight with a view to having the page finished before the end of the weekend, though with more school planning to do it might be a tight squeeze.

Any useful tips about embroidery stitches, sewing with felt, or even where to buy good quality felt at a reasonable price are all welcome.  I have my eye on this book next

though another obsession is so not what I need right now!  For more fun and wonderful inspiration pop on over to Julia’s blog and see what everyone else has been up to.


Storytelling Sunday 3

Last Sunday the story just sort of came due to the fact that it was New Year and full of memories of that time of year.  I sort of fell into Sian’s Storytelling Sunday link by accident, but what a happy accident it was.  I was so touched by all the lovely comments, which was an unexpected bonus, and the realisation that this was why I scrapbooked, to tell stories.  So I am going to try my best to maintain a story every Sunday.  Some will have photos, some will have scrapbook pages but all will have words from the heart.  I won’t promise that they will always be happy stories, because my life is not always happy, and I doubt anyone else’s is either, but they all add up to making me, me.

This story is about a little girl who loved to dress up.  It didn’t have to be fancy costumes or even fancy clothes, it just had to be things that belonged to someone else, preferably her grandma.  She also liked others to join in and would often coerce her younger brother, her cousins and anyone else she could find into dressing up as well.  Sometimes she would be the artistic director and put on plays with each character being told what to do in a very bossy voice.  Over the years she accumulated a diverse selection of props including the beret that her grandmother had been given when she started work as a postie, the platform shoes that her mother had clung onto since her teenage years in the 1970’s and an old flowered apron that had been an unwanted gift to someone as it had gold thread through it that was very scratchy.  Her favourite thing though was a dress that her mother had made for her Christmas party when she was 6.  It was pink and shiny and she loved it. It no longer fitted her but it did fit her younger brother and her cousins and she often coerced them into wearing it.  Given that they ranged between 3 and 5 years of age they didn’t really object and she was always able to sweet talk them into doing what she wanted eventually.

Fast forward 20 years and the little girl has a girl of her own, and a boy.  They both love to dress up and although they prefer proper costumes, hand made or shop bought, they do still dress up in other people’s clothes from time to time.  Here is a page made with her own little girl in her mum’s music festival sunglasses, her big cousin’s raincoat and her uncle’s slippers.

The Dress made for the Christmas Party

Making this dress was my first experience of working with organza and it was a fraught process.  I still have it though and it isn’t the neatest thing I have ever made but it remains part of our family history and is simply known as – the dress.

The Snow Queen

This is a photo of the original little girl, my daughter, now all grown up, with her little girl who is wearing a snow queen dress that her mummy spent many hours sewing beads onto on the form of snowflakes because that was what she wanted to dress up as.  I wonder if the next generation will enjoy dressing up too.  Happy storytelling Sunday to you, wherever you are.

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One Little Word

First of all I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to leave me a comment on my storytelling Sunday post.  For the lady who asked, yes I am from Scotland, from Glasgow.  My maternal grandparents were both Glasgow born though their parents were both from Ireland, my grandmother’s family was from the north and my grandfather’s family was from the south and they met in a Glasgow dance hall.  Writing that post was a complete spur of the moment thing and I am grateful to Sian for providing the vehicle for my memory sharing.

Now for the only thing I do in the way of intentions/resolutions each year and that is to choose my One Little Word.  I have done thins for several years now after reading about it on Ali’s blog.  Last year I didn’t keep it as focused as I would have liked and by the second half of the year I found myself feeling as though I had lost my way with a few things, not least my scrapbooking and photography.  In fact during my final sort and purge of 2011’s photos I discovered that I didn’t take a single, personal photo during November.  That is the first time a whole month has gone by without me using my camera in many years and was quite a shock.  The feeling of having lost my way is quite ironic as my word for 2010 was ‘Journey’.  I did think about having ‘Focus’ as my word for this year but somehow it just wasn’t enough so having thought and googled for a word that would capture my intent for the year ahead I have decided on ‘Persevere’.  I almost went with perseverance but I felt that persevere was that bit more, that little bit stronger and that subtle difference was what I needed.  I always try to find a quote that goes with my word and though this year it is more of a definition I am going to print it out and frame it and hang it where I can see it often.

Persevere – steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

I am determined that I will be using my stash of everything this year, not caving in and buying more or giving it away so it doesn’t count.  I am going to try to complete a project life album, a paper version as digi is much easier to forget about and get sidelined from as opposed to a binder that is there and needs moved to get to the desk.  I figured that this would get me back into using my camera more often and make a dent in my paper stash.  I have bought some of the digi bits but will be using a lot of what I already have to hand.

I have completely missed the last 3 weeks of WOWW so I want to get back into the habit of that also, with a view to making at least a page a week and I want to have captured a whole host of stories, maybe even some with scrapbook pages to go with them, on Storytelling Sundays so you can see why I would need to persevere.  Added to all this I have a new job teaching 2 afternoons a week at my grandchildren’s school, which will be a challenge, along with my own job and we have 5 weeks to pack up our school, in our own time, and then a whole day to unpack it ready to teach again next month.  I think that fitting in the other things I enjoy doing like knitting, crochet, sewing, reading, eating and sleeping, may be more tricky at times but I aim to give it my best shot.  The old saying of ‘if you want something done ask a busy person’ may just turn out to be true.  I will simply need to prioritise and persevere when things get hectic.  For now I am away to begin a rather large photo order as that was another thing I sort of ‘lost’ last year.  Take care x

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