Sunday, 29 July 2012


...which should have been done on Friday - but as you can see; it's Sunday.

(This week has just flown)

There are a small group of lovely folk who gather over at
Virginia's blog each week to share the good and positive things that have made up their week. Even if it seems like you have had a grotty time, if you sit down for a moment and just stop to think - you will be surprised at what gems you will recall.

I've had a very hectic week this week (hense the late post) but it has also been filled with elements of fun & excitement.

Saturday (last week) was fairly quiet after a week of Christmas challenges over at Catch the Bug - those had been the first Christmas cards that I have made this year (how naughty am I?) but I had enjoyed the fun of taking part and even better...I came 2nd in the overall Hop & Challenge which means I have a super set of Tropical Santa digis to play with and $30 to spend in their on-line store (I'm struggling something terrible as I just can't make up my mind - there are so many fun digis to choose from).

Sunday (last week) saw another trip to HobbyCraft so that Mum could stock up on more jewellery bits-n-pieces. Now HC is not my favourite store but I managed to spend a fair bit too as there were some lovely jewellery bits in the clearance. We then took ourselves off to the 'Shepherd & Dog' for a fabulous carvery meal. Mum had also bought me a proper Kumihimo disk and cut off loads of lengths of thread for me to play with so I had a very pleasant evening in front of the TV.

Monday and back to work - how can that be a positive? - well the preparations for the Olympics were continuing and Stratford was starting to look pretty amazing (greatly helped by the sunshine LOL). Lots of photo opportunities so I was very glad that I had my new camera.

Tuesday saw more photos - including one of me with a policeman - "it wasn't me officer; honest"

Wednesday was complete and utter chaos. For some reason head office have decided to launch a promotion exercise just as the main summer holidays are about to kick in - let alone the fact that there is that small sporting event going on which means the bulk of London based staff will be scattered to the 4 winds until September. So it was a bit 'headless chicken' time trying to get recommendations completed for all suitable folk before they disappeared and I went on leave - I did it!!!

Thursday was still pretty hectic as I needed to ensure that I had completed everything that needed to be completed before I started my leave. One of the girls organised lunch at the local Pizza Hut so we all had a chillout time together as a team.
It was then back to the office to make sure that everyone had all they required with them for the various locations they will be working from over the coming fortnight.

Friday required an early start (perhaps not the way you would think of starting a holiday) but it was all worth it. Friday was the start of the Pinnacle Crafts July member's weekend - 30% off for club members. I was there bright and early ready for the doors to open and I got the items I wanted...4 Marianne Design dies, a Clarity stamp and some odds-n-ends. Hopefully I'll get a chance to have a play during this two weeks off. I was all set for the opening ceremony of the Olympics and enjoyed seeing the amazing technology that was utilised to create the whole thing - we Brits can be pretty clever when we want to be and never let it be said that we don't know how to throw a party. Despite the doom & gloom of the weather forecasters - it was a glorious day and the rain held off - way to go Mother Nature.

Saturday (yesterday) and another outing with Mum. A stop off at Barleylands for the Farmer's Market and the sun was really does make a difference...the market was thronging and everyone looked happy & cheerful. A wander round Wickford and Mum was very happy with her purchases. Another visit to the Shepherd & Dog - I wonder if they have a frequent visitor scheme LOL - and then we rounded off the day with a stop at Helen's as I had a Kumihimo disk for her as a surprise. Whilst Mum sorted herself some lovely crystals I showed Helen how to use the disk and by the time we left she had about a third of a bracelet length completed. A generally lovely day - if a bit tiring.

Sunday (today) I'm trying to catch up with all my blog reading but the PC seems to be on a bit of a 'go-slow' (it doesn't seem to appreciate that it is me that is on holiday...LOL). I'm also having a PJ day and will probably chill for a while in front of the TV.

Hope you have all had a good week and an even better weekend. Why not hop over to Virigina's blog and see what other positives folk have found when they have taken a look at their week...........................................

So it has...


Did you watch the opening ceremony?

What did you think?
I watched it and loved some bits not others. I've heard lots of mixed reactions one of which was that it was "Too British"...umm, I thought that was the whole point - we were trying to show the World what we have achieved and that we are proud to be British.

I sat glued to the whole event and then did the unspeakable...fell asleep just before Team GB entered the stadium **groan**. However, I did see the torch arrive and enter...wasn't it wonderful to have those youngsters sponsored by our previous champions - what a memory for them; to actually light the Olympic cauldron.

It seems as if everyone knows someone who took part or is related to someone who knows someone who took part - another way of making everyone feel that they were part of this amazing event.

Oh, and before anyone wonders how I managed to grab such a super shot of the glowing forged Olympic rings (especially as I wasn't there LOL) - I nabbed the piccy off Google.

So the Games have begun and there will be folk glued to their TVs for every event (as the majority will not have been lucky enough to get tickets) and others bemoaning the disruption to the TV schedules. For those not "into" the whole sporting thing - take advantage of the fact there will be less to distract you on the TV and get some crafting done.

Mum got me a "real" Kumihimo disk (thank you Susanna - finding out what this word means in Finnish made me giggle) and I've been quite busy...
...trying different colour combos and strand counts.
Just a few of the completed chords...
...waiting for me to decide what they are to be made into.

I treated myself to some natural coloured spun silk thread and I'm currently working with that. It is much finer than the cotton threads but so soft and shimmery. I think that I'll mix some copper findings with it to create a bracelet and necklace - but then again I might just change my mind by the time I finish the chord. Decisions, decisions.....................................

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Handing over to...

...BBC, ITV, Sky and the Daily newspapers.

These are probably the last Olympic related photos that I'll be posting for the next couple of weeks as I'm now on 2 weeks leave.

Tomorrow is likely to be a nightmare for commuting because of the grand opening of the Games tomorrow evening. I'll be grabbing a few bargains at the Pinnacle Crafts club members weekend instead.
However, here are a few photos to be going on with...starting with a view of the O2 (The Millenium Dome; as was). Now this was taken from the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) platform at West Ham station - you would never believe that it is actually on the other side of the Thames. Can you see a ridge going up and over the dome? That is the structure in place to assist folk who wish to climb up to the new viewing platform at the very top.
A lot of the DLR trains have been decorated with advertising relating to sponsors of the Games but this one relates to a company that designed equipment to help Olympic swimmers study their performance in the water. This was the first time I was close enough to take a quick snap before getting on.
The pink signs have continued to multiply this week and in the background of this shot is one of the huge screens on the approach to Westfield - normally used to advertise for the retailers in Westfield but at the moment everything is Games and Athlete related.
Oh and as you can see...just a few more pink signs LOL

Today the Olympic park and Stratford have been under the continuous circling of Helicoptors - at times they were so low you thought they were trying to land on the roof. The number of Official vehicles have been multiplying too and the "Games lane" through Stratford has been restricted to Games only traffic since yesterday (I think there are going to be some nasty shocks for some folk who have ignored the electronic signs and continued to drive in these lanes - I believe the fine is about £150).

I'll be back at work on 13 Aug so I will be able to bring you up to date with any changes that appear as we then countdown to the Paralympics. In the mean time you'll just have to put up with some crafting stuff...................................


...what's going on 'ere then?

Proof that we have police in Stratford.
This week has seen them out in force - dotted around the station, in the shopping malls - just about everywhere in Stratford (normally we only see Community Police). This pair were very obliging and let folk take snaps (a family had just taken some pics and one of the officers let 'dad' wear his helmet for the shot). So a perfect opportunity to prove to you all that we do have police.

The down side to this was that they insisted on taking a pic with me in you all know that I avoid the front of the camera at all costs but... Mum told me never to argue with a policeman LOL
Now a bus station is obviously a place where you are going to see buses - right? Well, the increased timetable means that there is a continuous mass of red there all day long...we've never seen so many buses in there at any one time. You might have noticed the tall building on the skyline...that is an appartment block called the "Stratford Eye". If seen from above the shape would be very much like the shape of an eye but also it has unobstructed views out towards the Lee Valley and of course the Olympic park.

The calm before the storm...
...not many people about but you can see barriers being lined up to the right of the pic ready to control the crowds arriving for the Opening Event dress rehearsal.

Oh and he's the proof that even big construction companies can't spell...
...just another thing that has gone wrong with this development. I can't say that I'm looking forward to this being built as it will completely block the view towards the station and will make it very dark in our least we will still be able to see the Orbit and the 'rhubarb'..................................................

Monday, 23 July 2012

Stratford's in the Pink...

...well all the Olympic signs are.

This is pretty photo heavy so you might want to grab a coffee/tea/glass of wine...
On Friday the weather was pretty awful - high winds - sudden down pours...but the guys securing the drapes on this building just across the road from my office continued with their endeavours.
This was all they managed by the time I set off for home that evening.
Monday morning and the view from the Westfield steps - the tall building in the background is a side view of the one they were draping on Friday.
A quick shot of the entrance to the old shopping mall - surrounded by the 'trees'.
A fuzzy zoom shot of the draped building (the sun really wasn't at the best of angles for these photos).
I told you last week - "if it's still they're hanging something on it" - hanging baskets are appearing all round the place.
The view back towards the station from the new seating area - Robert the engine sits in pride of place proclaiming Stratford's railway history.
Did I mention pink signs?
A closer view of the draped building seen across the bus station - plenty of buses about.
Continuing on my way to work...
...with a bus thrown in for good measure.
Oh look, a pink sign **giggle**
This is the present view of the draped building from my window at work.
They were still tying it down as I left this evening but as you can see - this building is being covered on all sides.

Now my spelling can leave a lot to be desired from time to time but wouldn't you think if you had paid for a load of printed metal sheeting to cover the fencing around a building site you would have checked things like that? Apparently to my office there is due to be a 26 storey building. However, we are beginning to wonder if this is just a fairytale as their sign says "Coming soon to this site - 26 story apartment complex". Hope it has a happy ending.....................................

Sunday, 22 July 2012


...or otherwise known as Japanese braiding/chording.

Mum has been doing this for a while and is really enjoying the technique (especially as it is something that she can do even though her sight isn't too good at the moment). So I asked her to get me a disk (the item that you need to be able to do this craft) but as usual...I couldn't wait **now there's a surprise**

After a bit of web surfing about the subject I found a couple of sites where folk had come up with their own templates which they were sharing with the web.

A bit of printing off, transferring to heavy duty grey-board and some cutting out and there you have home-made Kumihimo disk.
I didn't have any cotton thread but thought I'd use some random dyed yarn just to have a play.
Mum has been doing 8-strand chords but I had a go at a 16-strand one. The extra strands make the chord slightly bigger and a bit firmer.
This is how the chord appears just below the disk as you criss-cross the threads above.

I've done a couple more since this one (even some using more than one colour yarn) and today I picked up my 'proper' disk from Mum's. I now have a selection of cotton threads and as Mum wanted to visit HobbyCraft today - I now have some 'findings' so I will be able to make the chords into bracelets or necklaces.

The technique is quite simple and relaxing - although it is possible to create more complicated designs using pattern charts...I'm quite happy doing the basic braiding and I'm currently doing an 8-strand chord - I will be trying a 12-strand one too once this one is finished.

With the Summer holidays now upon us it can be difficult keeping children occupied (especially if the weather is bad). This is very easy and a great way for using up some of that knitting yarn that you may have lurking in the cupboards. If you remember French Knitting then this can give a very similar effect - they can make themselves and their friends 'friendship' bracelets...and for the grown-ups; if you use cotton or silk yarns you can make some very pretty chords which you can turn into jewellery to go with those Summer outfits. Go on, give it a go. If you don't have a craft shop that stocks the disks near you, just Google and you will find a number of sites that will provide you with the printable templates for making your own. They will also provide you with the basic instructions too.

Have fun...I'd love to see what you come up with................................

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Time to 'Wrap it up'...

...over at Catch the Bug's "Christmas in July"

We have come to the last challenge of the Christmas in July week and the request is that your card/project has a bow on it.
It was 'Freebie Friday' and we did have the option to use the little present fairy that was offered but I decided to go with one of my favourite Bugaboo Christmas digis...this little chap and his candy cane.
He is so easy to colour and I'm always happy with how he turns out - this time I've dressed him in blue rather than the traditional elfin green.
The background paper is from a rather expensive paper stack that I treated myself to last year but I've lost the cover sheet so can't remember make/brand (Sorry). I was able to stick with the lace-look and use real lace to create the bow.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas in July (not long now until the real thing LOL)................................................

Friday, 20 July 2012

It's Friday...

...and no; it's not five to five and it's not CRACKERJACK!!!

(I think you have to be a Brit and of a certain age to remember that TV programme and the catch-phrase)

However, being Friday it is time for...
...the time when a merry little band of folk pop into Virginia's blog to share some of the positives and good things that have been part of their lives during the week.

I have to say I have surprised myself this week because when I sat down to think about my week and the positive things that have happened - the first thing that sprang to mind was Stratford. Now I can imagine you all frowning and thinking "she's lost it" but I have to say there has really been something about the whole atmosphere of the place - yes I know travelling has been less than delightful and the crowds have been a pain...oh and don't forget the grotty weather...BUT...everything is coming together and there is a feeling of pride about the place that hasn't been there before.

Things are continuing to change.
I've shown you the Orbit and the Stadium before but look closely - the stadium now has one of its 'skirts' around an upper tier (see the black and white triangles?).
Oh and look closely at this...
...I only showed you this last week - can you spot the difference?

Go on, take another look...
...did you notice? The Aquatic centre is now sporting its Olympic rings.

I can remember my Grandpa telling me when I was small that when he was in the army there were two things squadies had to remember - if it's still 'Paint it!' - if it moves 'Salute it!'. Well I think a similar motto is being adopted for the Olympics.

If it is stationary...
...hang something on it!

All the taller buildings around the Olympic Park area are being draped with huge images of our athletes (in the name of advertising of course - this one is for Gillette). It is a bit "Blade Runner"...ish or even like something out of a Transformers Movie - you almost feel as it the buildings are going to come to life or 'transform'. I take my hat off to the guys who have been absailing up and down the buildings securing these as the weather has been less than kind and they have continued to work through the wind and rain.

I don't think the Olympic folk have taken on board the 'salute' part of the old adage. It seems to be more a case of 'If it moves - run it down with an official car'...the drivers are concentrating so much on what the special SatNavs are telling them and trying to stay in the correct lanes that they are frequently going through red lights and almost hitting folk on crossings. I suppose we have a week for them to get used to the things...

Now I know this isn't a fantastic photo because it is so overcast but it gives you an idea of the type of view that folk will be able to get from the Mitel Orbit viewing platform...
...but I'm lucky that I don't have to pay to go up there because I can see it all from my office window. On a clear day (isn't that a song title?) you can see the London Eye, the BT Tower, the Gurkin, the O2 and probably if I went up to the top floor I'd see the Shard - and that's all in addition to the various venues in the Olympic Park.

Our lovely Army lads & lasses can be seen in and around the place. The masses of Purple & Red dressed 'games makers' are now very visible everywhere you go...oh and if you are lucky you might even spot a Green outfitted security guard (they look like they have escaped from ASDA **giggle**).

Seven years ago I remember the stage by the station and the celebrations that took place when it was announced that the Olympics was coming to London - everywhere was awash with streamers and confetti...unfortunately, all this was overshadowed by the horrid events of the following day (July 7th) on London's public transport.

I have to admit, during the years since...I haven't been that bothered by the thought of the Olympics but was certainly miffed from time to time by the disruption that was being caused to our work journeys and the feeling of living in the middle of a building site.

However, this last week everything has had an 'edge' to excitement building ready for the main event.

So my week might not have consisted of many different 'rocking' things but it has certainly been filled with a huge amount of 'feel good' and National pride. What's been rocking your week.................................

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Sparkle and Shine... Thursday's challenge for "Christmas in July" over at Catch the Bug.

Santa has been out to get his tree and of course he will need baubles to go on it.
The Bugaboo image was coloured with Copicns and then mounted onto red mirri card.
Plenty of shine ther LOL
The organza ribbon used is glittered and wired so it adds more sparkle.
Some silver card candy on the corners of the bazzill frame used to highlight some of the baubles. Unfortunately, I can't get my camera to pick up the subtle glittering on the PPs (Papermania Henbury Lane - Christmas range).

Hope you like it........................................

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Humour Me...

...and make a funny Christmas card.

Well that is the Wednesday "Christmas in July" challenge over at Catch the Bug.

I just love this 'Stella' and her sentiment...
...and she has been coloured with my Copics. The background PP was another design from the sale stack.
I decided to keep to pretty much traditional colours on this.
A bit of silver card candy, some silver mirri to matt the sentiment and some of the glitter ribbon.

Pretty quick & easy and relatively flat so good for posting...................

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Even Santa...

...needs a holiday.

The Tuesday challenge continuing "Christmas in July" over at Catch the Bug asked that we use the image provided and Tropical colours.

Well here's my Santa...
...decked out in his holiday hat and sporting slightly sun-burnt nose & toes.
Just dig those shades LOL
I think Santa might want to make a move before the foam of the sea washes his bucket & spade away.

My tropical Santa has been coloured with Copic pens. The 'foam' has been created by a smattering of pearl & clear sequins and as Santa is obviously on a tropical beach somewhere - there had to be a few tropical blooms.

Bugaboo Stamps have a whole collection of these fun 'tropical' Santas - why not go and check them out......................................