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Friday, 9 December 2016

It is a sorry state of affaires...

...that so many folk in the UK are needing to resort to food banks to make ends meet.

Not the sort of thing that you expect to see in this day & age - but unfortunately, a fact of life.

For the last few years a colleague of mine has organised a food bank collection at the office and this year was no different.

I set up a decorated collection point for him and keep an eye on the progress - keeping it tidy and highlighting items that we could do with more of.

This was the collection point for this year...
 ...the WRMK Alphabet punch board came in handy...
 ...and we had a good selection of festively decorated boxes ready to take the donations...
...and it didn't take long for those boxes to fill up...
 ...these photos were taken at the start of this week...
...but by yesterday when the goods were packed up to take to the food bank, you couldn't get anywhere near the original boxes (sorry, no photos as my camera battery went flat).

Folk in the office who were not able to purchase anything themselves were very generous in making donations for the "Big Shop" - over £300 was given in addition to the donated goods. This meant a group of colleagues headed off to the local supermarkets and did a mahooooosive great shop which was subsequently deposited by the collection point until arrangements could be made to get everything to the food bank. An army of staff then assisted in loading everything into a couple of office cars (it was a tight fit) and it was delivered to the food bank yesterday afternoon in time for the organisers to make up the Christmas parcels that they do each year.

As a Nation we really shouldn't be in a situation where folk are having to rely on food bands just to survive but hopefully, for those who find this a reality it is hoped that our efforts will help a little to brighten things up at what can be a very difficult time of year.........................................

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Chalkola pens...

...part one.

When I opened the parcel that arrived containing the Chalkola pens I was extremely happy with the range of colours that there were - greens, reds, white, black, yellow, mauve - to name but a few.

We have a lot of whiteboards at work and I normally add a bit of Festive d├ęcor to the ones on our floor of the office (not that my 'free-hand' artistic skills are anything to write home about LOL).

I decided to add some Holly to the corners and duly 'primed' two reds and two greens.

Now if you have used barrel type pens before, you will be familiar with the process of getting them ready to use. With the lid on (yes, I have made the mistake in the past of not having the lid on - gold metallic ink can be a rotter to clean off when splattered everywhere **rollseyes**) shake the pen up & down a few times, keeping it up-right. Remove the lid and placing the bullet tip on a hard surface - I used a post-it note on my desk - press up and down a few times to start the ink flowing down into the nib.

Warning: please don't be too impatient at this point. It will take a few 'pumps' of the pen to get things going but don't go mad. I was a bit too enthusiastic with one of the green pens and I made it blob and it also ended up with ink running down my hand when I went to use it on a vertical surface. This was totally my fault as it didn't happen with any of the other pens - and no damage done as the pens are waterbased and wash off easily.

The primed pens write smoothly on non-porous surfaces so it was very easy to create a little sprig of holly in the corners of the whiteboards...
...for the berries I did some red balls in the lighter red and then added the darker red for definition  With the leaves I outlined the shape with the darker green, coloured in with the earthy green and then added the veins. The picture shows my first attempt - not bad considering I was at full stretch to reach the corner.

The chalk ink dries fairly quickly but until it is dry it is easy to smudge - not a problem - have a wet-wipe or a damp cloth handy and you can easily tidy up any smudges or blurred edges.

As you can see, the colours are clear & bright.

My next 'try-out' is going to be on a jam jar - I want to have a play with the white pen. Having a bit of a scribble on my glass mat shows the white to be bold and clean - a true white. So that will be my next project with these pens.

I'll see you back here for Chalkola - Part 2.........................................................................

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Happy Mail...

...from Chalkola.

I have been asked to review a selection of chalk ink pens from a company called Chalkola. The company contacted me and asked if I would be interested in trying some of their pens - free of charge.

Well, anyone who visits here on a regular basis will know that I can't resist a pen (I think my last count had my pen collection at around 1400 **chuckle**). So of course I said "Yes".

Once I responded, they were very quick at dispatching two packs of pens...
...one set in Earth tone and one in Party colours - unfortunately, I was at work on Tuesday so had to arrange to collect them from the sorting office Wednesday (a BIG thank you to my neighbour who picked them up for me so that I could collect them on my way home from work).

As I only got my hands on them late last evening, I haven't had a chance to play with them yet but I am taking them to work with me to see what they are like on things like whiteboards & windows.

It is perfect timing as I put up my office Chrimbo decs yesterday and hopefully these pens will be just the thing to add a bit of festive cheer to those boring old notice boards.

Do pop back and see how I got on.......................................................................

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Tuesday was...

...my birthday.

A day that I share the following events with...

The death of JFK
The birth of Jamie-Lee Curtis
The death of C.S.Lewis
The resignation of Margaret Thatcher

...and I'm sure there are many more.

My staff presented me with the most wonderful present...
 ...a coffee maker and a basket of goodies to go with it. They also came up with a wonderful poem (which I will share another time). Such a wonderful gift. The only problem has been getting it home as I commute - two days later and everything is now sitting in my kitchen.
Tuesday evening I came home to find flowers and chocolates waiting for me...
 ...my arranging doesn't do them justice...
...but they are lovely and contain my 'birthday flowers' - 'mums and sea thistles.

I was also given a huge bottle of Baileys which I shall enjoy over the holiday period.

I will be meeting my friend Hilary on Friday and we will be going for lunch and a bit of retail therapy as it is "Members Weekend" at Pinnacle Crafts.

Not a bad week........................................................

Monday, 21 November 2016

Getting ready...

...for Christmas.

I had a sort out at the weekend and all my Christmas china is now gathered ready for the festive season...
...the mug trees are now home to my collection of Christmas mugs...
...and my seasonal candles are all gathered together to help create that Christmassy 'feel'.

With Christmas just five weeks away, what are you up to getting ready for the holidays?......................................

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Knit & Natter...

...continues to grow.

We even have some colouring going on.

Poundland had some card packs that you can colour yourself...
...this one was coloured with pencils and had some glitter glue added...
 ...we have had a few folk drop by just for a bit of 'colouring & chat'.
The knitting side is going very well...
...we have a number of completed blanket squares and quite a few 'on the go'.
Crochet has proved to be very popular and one lady has been quite productive. She has made a small cot blanket using crochet flower granny squares, a pullover for her grandson and is now onto another set of flower granny squares. Meanwhile...
 ...I'm still plodding on with my car blanket.
The knitting looms have proved to be very popular and we now have four of the group members merrily 'playing' with them...
 ...here is a completed child's set (hat & scarf) which is now for sale on our RNLI table.
Francis is probably our most proficient knitter. About 3 weeks ago she bought some lovely blue yarn...
 ...the hat is what she made with the 'leftovers' because the rest was used for this...
...a beautiful Aran-style cardigan which she has found to be lovely and cosy now the temperatures have dropped so much recently.

The group is proving to be popular and folk are most disappointed if something crops up so they can't attend. It is very informal and folk can pop in at any time during the 2hrs that we have the room booked for. I'm glad that people have found it to be something they wanted to take part in..........................................................

Monday, 14 November 2016

We are just about...

...half-way through November.

Just in case you missed it, Kerryanne English over at the Shabby Art Boutique launched her 7th "Simply Christmas"...
Simply Christmas banner 600x400
...do pop over there to see all the lovely things she has to share.

For those of you who like lists and planners, she has a beautiful set of FREE downloads for you to create a super planner to keep you on-track and organised during this hectic season.

Do pay her a visit, I'm sure you will find lots of inspiration....................................................