Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Christmas Kiss!

Once again I seem to have neglected my blogging. If truth be told, I have not felt so great for the last month or so, and blogging has not been top of my priorities I'm afraid.

I decided I needed to thank everyone, so took the microphone from Charlotte and spoke to church. I'm not sure how many people were there, but I think it was at least 900 as it looked like a full house to me! I talked about how life had not been easy for me, but that ultimately the ups and downs make life what it is. Anyone who believes that everything in life will run smoothly is in for a shock. I remember listening to Paul Scanlon, our senior pastor, speak in October 2008, about how the journey of life is a rocky road, with some easy times and other much more difficult times where the road would seem almost impassable. I sat at the back of church and sobbed my way through that service, because the realisation had hit me that my life was progressing just how it was intended to progress. It wasn't a case of woe is me, the journey is tough so I'll give up, the tricky times just made me want to fight harder to carry on.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Enjoying the view from a beautiful meadow

Imagine walking through a lovely meadow. The sun shining. Looking up at a beautiful sky. Bright blue, lots of fluffy white clouds drifting by. Butterflies fluttering amongst the buttercups and daisies. Your fingers brushing the tips of the long grass as you walk.....and then suddenly, you stumble.

You manage to catch yourself after faltering for a bit. You dust yourself down, and keep on walking, admiring the beautiful surroundings. You stumble again, this time falling into a deep, unmarked pit. You keep falling and falling, grabbing out and flailing wildly to try and get a grip on something, anything. After what seems like forever, you stop your slide downwards and hit rock bottom. You are exhausted from your sudden and unexpected decent into darkness.

Before you know where you are, and what has happened, you are at the bottom of a deep hole with no idea how you got there or how to get out. You can see a chink of light in the top, but its quite far away, and you cant trust that the chink of light is the only way out, but you claw towards it anyway, even though you are exhausted and bruised and battered from your fall.

Its a lonely time in this hole. Only you and the darkness. You couldnt see anyone else even if they were there, because of the darkness and coldness of your environment. But once you realise where you are, you know you have to clamber out and,` if you are lucky, someone will pass by and offer a hand of help to pull you out.

Despite being exhausted, and bruised and battered, you clamber you way to the top, and you finally make your way out of the hole. Yet you are still shocked and stunned by what happened. How could you miss such a big hole in front of you? Why couldnt you see it coming? How come no-one before you has fallen into this hole (you think) and not thought to block it up? Many people before you has managed to walk through the meadow without falling into this pit, why couldnt you have seen it coming, or prevented it, or just had a better journey?

You are stood, standing in this beautiful meadow, but all you can think about is the dark hole that you have just fallen into and clambered out of, how sore and aching your body is, and how tired you are. The beauty around you means nothing for a while. But you are grateful to be out, and you realise you should appreciate the beautiful surroundings.

You keep walking, but you find yourself no longer admiring the sky, the clouds, the butterflies, the flowers. You are busy looking at your feet. Concentrating hard, because, you dont want to fall into another pit, and waylaid by your aching bones and tired body.

You lose sight of all the beautiful things around you because you are continuing your journey looking only down at the ground, on alert for danger. You dont appreciate the sky, the clouds, the flowers, the butterflies, because you are too scared of falling down another hole, you still have the bruises from the last fall.

You are terrified that, if you take your eyes off terra firma for a moment, you could slip down that hole again and you wont find your way out so easily this time.

It is a long, lonely journey, spent staring at the ground, before you trust your surroundings, and your instincts enough again to appreciate your journey, and realise its beauty. To wander through the meadow staring at the beautiful blue sky and fluffy white clouds.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A big long gap again...

Apologies everyone for not posting! Life has been hectic, mad, fun, a bit sad sometimes, and full of new challenges. We are currently in the USA, the girls are at summer camp and I am on a bit of a road trip with some friends. Tomorrow I am heading to Amish Country, and I am staying in a beautiful traditional lodge, so that should be fantastically relaxing.

On Thursday, 29th July, it would have been my tenth wedding anniversary. It will be a day tinged with sadness, wondering how life would have been if things hadn't changed that day, and also one to remember all the fantastic things we celebrated together that day in 2000.

So please, raise a glass to Nigel and to me, still here, still battling on (lol) and remember that day with a smile, not tears.

I will post all about our trip next week once we are home!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kayaking time!

I wasn't sure how the girls would feel about being out on the water for the first time in a kayak on their own, but they did fantastically well! One of the ladies from the canoe club was very impressed with how Alex did as she was 2 years younger than the cubs. Sophie looks like a seasoned pro in the photo above!!

It was a fantastic afternoon, the girls loved it. Sophie was even brave enough at the end of the session to get out of her kayak when it was in a row of all the kayaks, and crawl across the kayaks and back round to her own boat! Her friend Bonnie did it too, in fact the girls were braver than most of the boys! They got a bit cold towards the end, so were very glad of a hot cup of tea when they came off the water.

The girls will be canoeing in the US this summer so this was a great starting point. Sophie has done so many wonderful activities since she joined cubs, and did some great stuff with Beavers. It was a shame she had such a bad experience with Brownies, as I know there are loads of great Brownie packs out there, just not the one Sophie joined! I remember my brother doing much more exciting activities with his cub pack when I was a Brownie, so I was quite envious of what he got up to. I can definitely recommend cubs for girls if you can join a pack which is as good as 4th Morley (Gildersome)!

More crafting tomorrow when I am planning on launching various Stampin Up promos, so watch this space! If you do want to order anything Stampin Up then drop me an email

Until then, have a great day wherever you are!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More cards

On Saturday we went to my friend Avril's 60th Birthday lunch at Zachary's, a fabulous restaurant in Fulneck, Pudsey. We had a wonderful lunch, the girls got to choose exactly what they wanted to eat too which was great. Sophie is a big fan of roast dinners, so she went for roast sirloin of beef, yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. She definitely enjoyed it as it barely seemed to touch the sides, then her plate was empty! Alex chose her favourite, spaghetti bolognese. If spag bol is on the menu, then the chances are Alex will choose it! When we are on holiday, quite often it appears on children's menus in restaurants, so she will usually choose it, and eat the lot.

My gift to Avril for her birthday was all the invitations and place cards for her birthday lunch and then party afterwards at home, so when I made her card, I tied it in with that. It is a nice simple card, using pink passion and glorious green cardstock from SU, Avril's name is stamped in pink passion ink using the Big Deal Alpha once again. Then I added some stickles glitter to the centre of the flowers as bling is always good!! The ribbon is not SU but is a pretty close match I think. I punched the flowers using my beloved retro daisy punch, I have this in 3 different sizes and use it a lot. It isn't a shape made by SU as yet, but it shows how you can incorporate what craft stuff you've already got with the SU products. One of the reasons I held off signing up for so long was because I love to use other brands of products too, especially in my scrapbooking. But now I am getting much, much better at using SU stuff alongside what I've already got, to great effect.

My second card is a horse card made for a 21st birthday. I don't own anything horse related craft wise, so I had to resort to google images for this card. The cardstock I used is SU textured in creamy caramel, chocolate chip and close to cocoa. Well, I think I have got that right! I need to learn all the different names lol. The rosette is made using two circles punched out, then mounted on three scalloped circles layered together. The 'ribbon' is just cut from more card. The 21 is doodlebug stickers, which I had in my lettering box. I'm a bit of a fan of letter stickers and chipboard letters, so I have ordered the SU chipboard letters to try. Hopefully they will be here soon so I can have a play.

Long weekend this weekend, the girls have a training day on Friday, and then it is May Day on Monday. Lots of lovely things planned, including seeing Peppa Pig Live on Saturday!

Have a great weekend, whatever you're doing!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Made a card this afternoon for a very lovely young man who is becoming a teenager tomorrow. Elliot is simply gorgeous, he makes me smile whenever I see him, and says so many wonderful things which keep both me and his mum in stitches regularly!

The card is made using a combination of Stampin' Up! supplies and other stash. The name is stamped using the Big Deal Alpha set, I love this alphabet, and have been using it on so many projects lately. It is stamped in Ballet Blue onto Whisper white cardstock. The name is then matted onto brilliant blue card, then onto a card blank which is from Craftwork Cards. The three strips of dotty papers are SU designer papers, I love them, so versatile and as they are double sided, even better value for money. The star is punched using a SU punch, one which I use on a lot of projects. The number stickers are Doodlebug I think, have had them a while! All in all, this card took me just over 10 minutes!

I raised the star up using dimensionals to create a bit more interest on the front. I like to do this on both cards and scrapbook pages, as everything stuck down flat can get a bit boring!

This mini book is a new baby book which I was asked to make by my friend Jackie. Her brother and his fiancee were expecting their first baby, and had decided to call him Thomas Luke. They decorated Thomas's room using a Winnie the Pooh theme, and so Jackie asked me to make this book because she wanted something personal to them. It measures 8"x6" and each page is decorated slightly differently, ready for a 6x4 photograph to be stuck in. I just hope the new parents like it! Obviously this isn't made using SU products, other than the striped ribbon which is tied to the bind it all wires.

So, as you can see I've been fairly busy craft wise! As a result, tomorrow is housework day. I have a mountain of laundry to sort, so that should keep me amused. Then on Saturday we are off to a special meal to celebrate my friend Avril's 60th birthday. Sophie is also singing at the Morley Music Festival with her school choir in the morning, so a busy day! Hopefully I'll be back with more crafting soon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Busy busy busy!

So it has been a few weeks since I last updated this blog, where to start really!

April started with Alex's 6th birthday on Good Friday. She says it was her best birthday ever, and I must admit, she did have a wonderful day! She had 12 friends round for a craft party, and each child went home with an A4 sized canvas with their name on, plus Hello Kitty for the girls and Batman for the boys. All the children managed really well, and were very well behaved, which was a complete bonus!

After Alex's birthday, my pal Heather and her girls came to stay. We had a lot of fun, and took the three eldest girls to an art day in Harrogate which went down very well indeed.

Sophie went to her friend Lydia's birthday Pyjama Party too, and as Lydia is loving playing schools just lately, I decided to make her a sign for her room, saying that it was her classroom!
Here's a card I made, lots of old stash used up on this one which I had found during some tidying up. The girl is coloured to look like Lydia too, I like to do that when colouring in a card.
This week we have been up in Scotland with my parents. We stayed in a log cabin, I have stayed there several times since I was 13, but not since having the girls. We had a fabulous time, the weather was great, no rain, and we spent a lot of time on the beach. The girls are at their happiest when they are digging in the sand, collecting shells and constructing sand castles. We got back yesterday, and now it is back to reality. Homework to do, reading to do, washing from last week, etc etc..

Oh, that and I became a Stampin Up! demonstrator last week!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recuperation and crafting to while away the time

While I have been recovering from my operation, I decided to get scrapping again, something I've not done in quite a long time at home, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! It was great to get back to scrapping, and now I have rediscovered my mojo, I will be doing more of it for sure.

The first layout I made using the Scrapagogo February kit, absolutely gorgeous to use as always. The photographs on the LO are moo cards, using that size and format is a nice change after always going for standard photographs. The subject matter is Sophie and her best friend Jennifer, who moved down to Buckinghamshire last summer. Whenever the girls meet up, they continue where they left off, great friends and always happy to see each other. These photos were taken at Legoland, and I love the expressions on their faces!

A little close up of the detail on the clock face I used on one corner of the journalling. The kit came with these adorable cupcake brads, so I had to use one to anchor the clock hands.

The second LO is made using a kit I picked up from Sarah's Cards. I had seen this kit at a crop, and so decided to order one for myself. Once again the photos are moo cards, and it was fun to see just how many photos I could get on one LO!

The pictures tell the story of our day at Bekonscot Model Village, which is very close to where Jen and her family live now. We had been before back in February 2007, and loved it, so were very happy to have a return visit. Hopefully we will be going again when we visit Jen and co. Close up shot of one of the little badges from American Crafts which came in the kit, just gorgeous!

My final LO is just a very simple one using more moo cards of Bekonscot. I didn't want them to go to waste, so decided on the less is more approach! Very quick and easy to do, and a nice addition to my album without taking a long time to complete.

All in all a good day's scrapping! It certainly stopped me from thinking too much about my discomfort, so Thursday last week was a good day! I am still sore now, but much less so, and the trapped wind from the keyhole procedure has just about gone now. I get tired very easily, which is really frustrating, but that will pass soon I am sure. Onto the next drama in the household- Sophie has a sore lump on her gum which looks like it could be a dental abscess, so off to the dentist we go tomorrow!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A strange week this week

Monday and Tuesday were spent in hospital after surgery on Monday afternoon. I'm on the mend now but it has been a rough week. Just got to be careful not to overdo it, today was a bit much as I am now feeling very tired.
So I will sign off for now, see you soon!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

New stamps

I decided to treat myself to some new stamps last week, and chose this lovely Magnolia Ladybug stamp. Sophie was due to go to a party after school today, so last night I inked this little beauty up to make a card for her friend Bonnie. I coloured the image using my Copic Ciao markers, and am pleased with the end result. I've recently done an online course in colouring with the copics, and learned a lot about blending. I'm intruiged to know if the copic sketch markers are better to use, but for now I am more than happy with my ciaos.

The image is matted on red cardstock, then onto a black mat which has been embossed using my Big Shot and a cuttlebug embossing folder of hearts. Bonnie's name is stamped with the Stampin Up schoolbook serif set, and then the card is finished off with a red ribbon tied in a knot. I bought another Magnolia stamp at the same time as I bought this one, so I may well ink that up tonight.

That's about it for now. Usual stuff is ticking along nicely. Next big job to tackle is the garden. I need to pressure wash the paving slabs as they are looking very grimy after the winter, and get rid of some broken garden furniture. We are keen to grow some veg this summer, so I need the space which this furniture is taking up to put some pots and troughs in place ready to plant some seeds. I know nothing about growing veg, but the girls are keen to help, so we will give it a go! All hints and tips will be gratefully received!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A letter from Alex

Alex is 5 years and 11 months old now, she wrote this last week. When Nigel died, she was only 2 years 4 months, so she has spent more of her life without him than she has with him now. A few weeks ago she went through a very unsettled patch, crying at bedtime on several occasions because she was sad that she had had 2 years less with Daddy than Sophie had. To comfort a child who feels like this is so hard, as it is a painful experience for me too, but Alex only has one parent, and I have to deal with it.

I talked to several friends about what to do about this, and I have decided I will write a letter back to Alex, saying:

Dear Alex

I love you too.
Every single day I wish daddy was alive still. I know he was so very proud of you, and he would be even more proud of you now.

Love from Mummy.

What else can I possibly say?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Game Over, or was it?

I spent all of yesterday in Coventry at the Scrapagogo event, GoGo Game Over. It was a fabulous day, and I made some brilliant projects. I will photograph them tomorrow hopefully, when there just might be enough light to do it!

I've not blogged in a while, so time to play catch up!

Over the half term holiday, we had a fun filled week in Llangollen with my friend Heather and her two girls. Alex and Erin are the same age, so entertained each other (I use the term loosely at various points, you know how kids fall out with each other at times!) while Sophie loved spending time with Swyn. At two years old, she is even more strong willed than Alex was at that age, and that takes some doing!

I did have a hairy evening, when Alex had an allergic reaction to something, and so we had to dash all the way to the nearest out of hours service, which was a 50 minute drive away. A bottle of piriton later and we were headed home again. It took a good ten days for the rash to subside, no idea what caused it though.

The rest of the week was spent going for a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, painting pottery, finding more geocaches and going swimming. All good fun, and enjoyed by all!

Back to reality this last week tho, busy in lots of ways. I will definitely share some of my crafty projects soon. I have also booked flights for us to go to the USA in July for a special summer camp for the girls, they are so excited already, and I am enjoying planning which geocaches I am going to do during my week without them! I want to stay fairly local to the camp so that I am reachable if they need me, but as there are over a thousand caches in the area I think I will be able to find plenty to do!

Enough for tonight, another busy day tomorrow, in fact a busy week again! Have a great week wherever you are and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Birthday card time

This first card is made using a lovely new Greetings Farm stamp which arrived yesterday. Sophie is off to a party tonight and the little girl is called Dollie. Unusual name, yes? But if everyone had the same name life would be boring!
Anyway, Sophie is off to the brickworks to a soft play party. I think this year will be the last year Sophie's friends go for soft play parties as they are all getting to be too tall to go in the soft play areas! No doubt Alex will be put out that she is not invited, but I have no desire to sit in this particular play area while she plays too, so I will drop Sophie off and pick her up later!

The second card is for a special friend of mine who is 40 on Friday. Perhaps I should not be putting this up on my blog yet, but I want to show her that I have remembered, unlike some people who shall remain nameless! She's had a tough year this year, so I hope this coming year is better for her. We are off to Llangollen at half term to a holiday house with our 4 girls, I am really looking forward to that! The 40 on the card is very subtle, can you spot it? This stamp is also a new arrival in my house, an Anya stamp from the Greetings Farm range of stamps. She is just so cute, I had to ink her up straight away. Both images are coloured using my copic markers, can't remember which shades, I never keep track of things like that! The letters on the top card are some stickers I found in my stash. No idea where they came from! The Super friend letters are AC Thickers, I love those, wish I had more!

I will share pics of my newly decorated craft room soon, it is almost organised, just a little more to do! Ciao for now!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stampin Up Workshop at My House

Just in case anyone wants to come along, I'm having a Stampin Up workshop at my house on Friday 5th February at 8pm. If you're in Leeds and would like to come, leave me a comment and I'll get in touch. If you're not local, but want to order Stampin Up products, you're welcome to do that too! Again, leave me a comment and I'll be in touch.

Friday, January 29, 2010

So how has your week been?

It seems as if time is rushing past me at the moment. I have been really busy since New Year, sorting out this, that and the other. This week has been an assortment of dental appointments, swine flu jabs, chiropractic appointments and time spent doing all the usual mundane things that being a parent involves. Sophie had to have a filling and Alex was having a filling and a tooth out. Unfortunately, Alex's extraction didn't go quite to plan, so she ended up screaming in the dentist's chair. All very traumatic for both her and me, it is times like that when being a parent is so, so hard. Watching your child being put through a painful procedure is something I don't want to repeat.

I managed to find some bunk beds to fit in Alex's room, the smallest bedroom in the house. It was a challenge to say the least, as shorty bunk beds in general seem to come with narrow mattresses, and that was something I didn't want to buy. I finally found a company which made bunks in different lengths but with a full width, 3 foot mattress. The bunks are 5'9" in length, and so fit beautifully. Alex's last bed was a divan single, which fitted well, but bunks are always longer, so wouldn't fit at all. I started putting the beds together last night, and finished them off today. All I have to do this evening is attach the safety bar and ladder, then Alex can have her first night in her new bed! I am hoping she sleeps all night in the bunk, as she has a habit of waking and coming in to my bed. She has been better since I got her a thicker duvet and a sheepskin effect under sheet, so maybe the attraction of sleeping in a bunk bed will keep her there every night.

I made the decision to renew my membership to the WAY foundation a couple of months ago. I paid my membership fee in October or November, then forgot to tell the membership secretary that I had done it, so I finally got round to emailing her. I have no doubt that there are some people I know through WAY who will presume I rejoined because I am single again, but I actually joined before everything changed over New Year. If it gives them something to obsess over, so be it, it gives me a bit of a giggle to think that they have nothing more interesting to fill their lives with! Something I have discovered is that, sadly, having widowhood in common with someone does not mean you will find kindred spirits. There are some really bitter people out there, and I am determined not to become one of those people. I was dealt an unkind hand when Nigel died, and life is full of struggles, but the one thing I want to do is live my life to the full, and give my girls the most positive experience I possibly can. I have been thinking a great deal about the events of August 10th 2006 lately, remembering how everything changed in an instant. Tears are still shed from time to time, but a lot less frequently than they were in the early days. Perhaps the thing I find most sad is that Nigel can not see how his girls have grown into wonderful young ladies. Yes, if you share my religious beliefs in heaven, he can see from there, but he is not here with us now to experience the fantastic journey with these two girls. I love them both so very, very much, and even though it is hard word, it is worth every minute!

My craft room is still in chaos, must get in there this weekend and put it all away. My desk is pure white now, and the walls are pale blue. Looks ace, so I will finish it all off very soon and share pics.

Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My special quilt

If you've been reading my blog since the early days back in 2006, you may remember the beautiful quilt which was made for me by my online friends from around the world. I had put it on the spare bed, but when I was in the spare room the other day, putting Christmas decorations away, I decided it was time to put it back on my bed. It has been so cold over the last few weeks, and sleeping alone can get very chilly sometimes!

I have been so warm since I put the quilt back on my bed, plus I have loved looking back at all the squares, remembering the people who made the squares. Some of them have moved on from the forums I was on then, in fact so have I from some of them, but it was very reassuring to see the squares made by people I am still friends with. I am blessed to have a great deal of very good friends, both online in various communities, and also in real life. They have been there for me, through thick and thin, keeping me going, reminding me that I'm doing a great job even when it seems like my life is one constant battle. Life as a lone parent does often feel like I am wading through mud up to my waist, but I know we will get there eventually. It might not be via the usual route, or even the route I planned when the girls were born, but we will get there in the end!

I'm off to get cosy under my quilt, so night all!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Exciting news for me!

I've been accepted onto the team for the Crafty Storage Blog! I am so chuffed! Time for me to get looking for more storage ideas out there on the internet! Leave me a comment if you've seen anything interesting.

Along the same vein, my craftroom has been repainted now, and I am starting to put things back in which is a job and a half! Watch this space for new pics very soon!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy 2010!

Here's my first card of 2010, made for my mum's birthday today using two Gorjuss girl stamps. I stamped the right hand image, then masked it and stamped the other girl, so that they look like they are standing together. The idea is that the girls look like my two gorgeous girls, saying Happy Birthday to their Grandma!

The images are stamped and then coloured with my copic markers in a range of shades. I can never remember which shades I have used, as I tend to pick up a selection, and use them all until I am happy with the effect. The coloured cardstock is DCWV, and has a white core which I have revealed by sanding gently round the edges. I punched the bottom of the cardstock with a Martha Stewart border punch., then cut out a strip of purple cardstock to go on top. Lining up the punched base of the strip was really easy, and I like how it looks! The oval sentiment is from Craftwork Cards.

So here we are, 2010, a new year, new start. Lots of exciting things to do this year. I face it as a single woman again, things didn't work out as hoped, and I reached the point where I didn't feel valued within the relationship. It proved that love is not enough, so it was time to move on. For now I am enjoying being with my girls and waiting to see what the future holds.

The snow has continued to fall here, in fact I had to abandon my car yesterday outside my friend Avril's house as I couldn't get up the hill her house is on. Fortunately my friend Bill came and picked me up, then came back with me this morning to get the car. It was very slippery, and took a little while, but I was very glad when I finally got the car back home!

Back to school for the girls tomorrow, then there will be time for me to get this bombsite of a house back in order! I have the decorator coming to repaint the playroom, Sophie's room and my craft room. Can't quite decide what colour to have my craftroom though, so tomorrow I will go and get some colour charts from B&Q before Ben arrives on Tuesday. I need to get more organised, start to do things with my time at home which I enjoy, instead of wasting time on the internet!

Happy New Year to all my readers, I hope you have a great year, I know it is definitely my aim to do so!