Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ellie is now...


(Ooops - not sure what happened. I prepared this Tuesday and forgot to post it - doh!)

Just in time too as she arrived at the Paralympic village today (Tuesday) along with the rest of Team GB.
The office block over Westfield is now properly decorated.
This photo was taken at a strange angle from my office window - I wanted to show the flags and pennants that can be seen in the Olympic park.

Meet Kevin...
...Kevin works in my office - he is also a runner and raises lots of money for charity. He was a volunteer for the Olympics and was asked to do the Paralympics too. He came into work in uniform as he was due to report for duty that evening.
Although he already had a uniform from the first Games, he had new shirts and lanyard because of the different 'branding' (the organisers did save money on the jackets though - they issued a velcro patch to cover the original branding **giggle**).

Kevin is the colleague who has promised to share some of his super photos. As one of the folk incharge of the medal presentation teams he got to meet some very famous names - and got to hold their medals before they did.

As this post is now a couple of days later than intended, the Opening ceremony has taken place...I saw part but was so tired that I fell asleep and missed big chuncks of it. Another colleague was on duty for the ceremony and today he must be exhausted...he had to report for duty around 1pm yesterday and as the thing really over-ran I imagine he was there for well over 12 hours. Hope he remembered to book today off..........................................

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Sun, Sea and...

...Surf (I wish).

I mentioned that I had made a card with an 'advanced' copy of a digi that I received from the CDAC Progressive Challenges. Well now it can be shown as the new challenge has gone live - CDACPC19...Here The image is provided by Tiffany Doodles.
I used some 'sky' card stock and a Papermania step card blank for the basis of the card.
The sentiment topper is from one of the Kanban summer ranges.
Here is a slightly 'side-on' shot to show the step effect.

I have missed the Progressive challenges and am glad that they are back. Why not hop over to the site to see what other folk have come up with - you'll also get to see the 'Stars' of this first round.......................................

Monday, 27 August 2012

I've been having fun...

...making braided ribbon wreaths.

They are surprisingly easy to do and you can get different effects by using different types and widths of ribbon. Here's what I've made today...

...they will be lovely for decorating cards or for use on scrapbook pages as frames for photos or journaling.

If you fancy having a go, I found some tutorials...a Youtube
Video or another here.

The ribbon braids don't have to be made into wreaths - straight lengths look very effective too. So if you have a mountain of ribbon, why not use it to make these pretty braids...something a little bit different to just a length of ribbon and a bow - don't you think?......................................

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Broken watch strap?...

...don't buy one - make one!!!

I seem to have had a bit of a run on watch straps this year the result of which is I have a drawer with several perfectly good watches but unusable because of the straps. Replacement straps can be quite expensive and when you have a market stall where you can buy a complete watch for less than the cost of a buy a new watch.

I've been wondering what to do with the watches that I have as they are too good to throw out but useless otherwise...I came up with this...
...a scrunchie style strap made from a bit of fabric and some elastic.

They are very easy. Just take a watch with a broken strap...
...this one seemed perfect as it has quite a large 'face'.
Remove the strap...
...I would recommend cutting it away with small scissors rather than fiddling with the spring-loaded pins.
Chose your fabric...
...and a suitable width of elastic.
Because of the design of my watch I made the fabric tube slightly wider than the watch face...
...and slightly more than double my wrist width. On my first attempt I had already cut the elastic to size but this turned out to be very fiddly threading through the tube so on the second attempt I just marked where I would need to cut and then threaded that through. With the elastic and fabric held closely together I threaded it down one side, behind and up the other side - pulling it through so that I had roughly the same amount of 'tube' each side of the watch face. The fabric was then squidged up to reveal the mark on the elastic. This was cut and keeping the fabric out of the way I stitched the the ends of the elastic together (being careful not to get it twisted). The ends of the fabric were then brought together - a small amount of each tube-end tucked in and the long seam point matched-up before slip-stitching the two ends together to create a neat closure but retaining the tube of fabric. This was the most fiddly part of the process but not overly difficult.

Arrange the fabric ruffles to suit...
...and you are good to go.

Got a watch with a broken strap? Why not have a rummage around in your fabric off-cuts - you'll probably find something suitable and then you too could have a play.

I've seen scrunchie style watches in magazines and they cost a fortune - this way you can make your own and when you get fed-up with the can just change it. Go on, have a play....................................

Friday, 24 August 2012

Rocking Your World Friday... here again.

It's that time of the week when a small group of lovely folk take a look back at their week and then go and share the positives/good things over at Virginia's blog.

I have to admit that I had to dig a bit deeper this week.

With being back at work, Saturday & Sunday took on their normal routine of sorting out anything Mum needed doing and the weekly catch-up on the household chores.

Monday finally arrived and Mum had the laser treatment on her far everything seems to have gone well. With luck it won't be too long before she can start attending her local jewellery classes again - she has certainly missed them.

Tuesday was very busy at work but I ventured over to the Westfield centre in my lunch break. Although it was a bit of a shock to spend so much I did come back with some lovely undies that will keep me going for a while.

Wednesday I submitted my advanced entry to the new CDAC Progressive challenge that is due to start shortly - I had some lovely comments from the organiser of the challenge. As soon as I've been given the green light I'll share the pics with you. I also went to lunch with a was lovely to escape from work for a short while and just chat & catch-up.

Thursday and at last a Paralympic image started to appear on the office block above Westfields. A colleague who was a volunteer for the Olympic games showed me some photos he had taken of various athletes that he was lucky enough to meet - they have been asked not to share pictures on any social media sites until after London 2012 (Olympic & Paralympic) has finished...but he has promised to let me have some then so I can share them with you all **happy dance**. I can tell you now, he has some fabulous photos.

Friday has arrived and as promised I said I would let you see a photo of the office block image...
...I tried to get a shot from the staircase by the station but as you can see - it's not a very good angle.

So once again, as soon as I had dumped my bag at my desk I was over to the window for this shot...
...still not quite finished but you can now clearly see that it is Ellie.

I now have a lovely 3-day weekend ahead of me (even if the forecast isn't great) so I wish you all a lovely weekend...why not hop over to Virginia's blog and perhaps visit some of the other 'Rockettes' to see what has been rocking their worlds and if you feel so inclined, why not share your positives from this week.................

Thursday, 23 August 2012

About time too...

...I thought they were never going to get going.

With only a handful of days before the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics...I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that the corporate advertisers were not going to celebrate our Paralympians as they had done our Olympic Team GB.

As the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) pulled into Stratford station this is the sight I saw...
...the first thing I did when I got into the office was take this pic. Ellie Simmonds (our double gold swimmer in Beijing) is gradually appearing on the office block above Westfield and her image will overlook the Olympic Park. Hopefully Friday will see the image completed and I'll get the full photo and post it for you all to see.

I was out & about again this lunchtime. It was undies the other day - today I needed a new watch and we have a market stall on the 'old' side of Stratford that always has a good selection at very reasonable prices (cheaper than paying for replacement batteries or new straps).

Just a little further along from the market stalls there is a large paved area that has a number of individual titanium trees dotted about.
Where as the 'trees' on the station side of Stratford have their foliage face on, these have it sat on the top...
...I think it makes them look more like mushrooms **giggle**
This is the view back towards the market stalls and as you can see...there is plenty of bunting and banners to brighten the place up.

The G4S security folk in their green uniforms (ASDA escapees) are far more visible around Stratford and this is probably because they have less venues to cover for the Paralympic games. Metropolitan police are everywhere instead of the usual Community officers and I've never seen so many street sweepers and cleaners about.

Fingers crossed things will really start to pick up now.......................

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


...from a different view.

I do not like the Westfield Centre - despite the range of retailers located there it is an uncomfortable place to visit. The walkways inside are not as wide as they could have been so with the addition of the retail plots down the middle it always feels very crowded and claustrophobic. As a result, in the year (almost) that it has been open I have been there little more than a handful of times.

However, there is a big M&S store there so yesterday I ventured over in my lunch break. Took advantage of the M&S sale to stock up on some new undies - still managed to make a big dent in my purse **serious groan** - but boy was I in & out of there in double quick time LOL

It has been a while since I last went over there (the day my camera decided to 'give up the ghost') and it was before all the Games decorations went up around the place.

Here are some photos looking back toward Stratford from the shopping centre...
Two of the three tower blocks with Gillett advertising can be seen 'face-on' from this view and the one to the left is where the BBC presenter box was located on the roof. You can still see the box in this pic but it is in the process of being dismantled.
The lower part of this photo shows the decorated barriers that visitors to the Olympic Park follow and at the top of the photo you can just make out the top of my building - just above the roof of the Station.
The foot bridge that links the Bus & Rail stations to Westfield looks like a rusty version of the Tyne bridge (on a smaller scale) when seen from the outside but at the moment the inside is a colourful mass of Coca-Cola advertising.
However, amongst the adverting is a fabulous display of pictures from the torch relay and other events that took place in the run-up to the Olympic games.

Unfortunately, despite the appearance of the Agitos on the Aquatic Centre there is still very little evidence of the forthcoming Paralympics.........................

Monday, 20 August 2012


...from the Latin; Agito - meaning "I move".

London is changing her party clothes ready for the Paralympics.

In the run-up to the Olympic games the City and all the Olympic sites were sporting the International Olympic logo - the five rings.
Even Tower Bridge proudly showed off this adornment to all. However, the Olympics are now over and we are starting to see the appearance of the new Paralympic symbol - The Agitos.
From 19 August, Tower Bridge has exchanged the "Rings" for the "Agitos"...each of the three agito are a different colour - Red/Green/Blue - it would appear that these three colours are the most commonly used colours on the national flags of the countries taking part.

As if eager not to be left out...
...the view from my office has changed too. The rings have disappeared from the Aquatic Centre and the new symbol has taken centre stage.

Things seem to have been a little slower to 'build' for the Paralympics but there are small, subtle changes starting to show. With just over a week to go until the opening ceremony there is a more restrained type of excitement starting to make itself felt.

We had a fabulous Olympics but now it's the turn of our amazing Paralympians - "Here's to Extraordinary".............................

Sunday, 19 August 2012

WRYWF is here again...

...and I'm late...again!

Good job Virginia is not strict about these things - after all, the whole idea is to take some 'time-out' to have a look back at the week and find the positives...even if at first glance there do not seem to be any.
If this is your first visit here and you don't know what I'm going on about...a group of lovely folk pop over to Virginia's blog each week to share the good things that have happened. You would be surprised at how up-lifting this can be especially if your week hasn't been too great.

Well where do I start?

It was back to work on Monday - not an obvious positive after having two fabulous weeks off to potter about as I wanted and spend some quality time with Mum but surprisingly there were not as many problems to return to as I had anticipated...or perhaps I had taken on-board some very positive advice about not worrying about what happened whilst I wasn't there as it was outside of my control...whichever way you look at it there were no major problems and the gripes were quickly addressed and sorted.

After the excitement and the 'hype' surrounding the Olympics things are feeling a little 'flat', especially in Stratford. Although there are still a lot of folk visiting the area there isn't the buzz that there was in the run-up to the Olympics. This was making me sad and quite annoyed as everything for the Olympics had been 'out there' and very much 'in your face' but there seemed to be little, if anything, to build up to the Paralympics. I think the crunch came when the massive image over the Westfield centre of some of the Olympic champions was removed and although we anticipated it being replaced by an image of our Paralympic champions - this hasn't happened. However, I can hear you all saying "why is this on a 'Rocking' post?" - I'll tell you why...Channel 4 who have the broadcasting rights for the Paralympics have confirmed that they will be providing over 400 hours of coverage across their main channels and associated networks. This Para-games will be the most widely covered...ever (I should think so too). Having friends & family who are wheelchair sports folk I've seen up close what it takes to participate in sports that many folk assume only the able-bodies can do. So this increased coverage is rocking my world at the moment.
This is just one of our 'stars' for the Paralympics and I'll certainly be cheering him on.

I'm also pleased to hear that this Paralympics is a technical 'sell-out' - the first time this has fabulous is that.

Although I've not managed much crafting this week, what with being back at work and such. I have been getting myself a bit more organised so that I can...
...I now have a lovely set of matching storage boxes and I'm in the process of sorting out all my jewellery stash.

I did manage to do some knitting...mug hugs which I can't show you at the moment because the lovely Paula (Happysnappy) has asked for the pics for one of her forthcoming decluttering posts **happy grin** and I have an advanced copy of a digi image for the new round of the CDAC Progressive challenges which is due to start...again, I can't show you as I've been asked not to.

Hope you have all had a good week and hope the coming one will be fab too......................................

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Style... you know what yours is?

I've seen a number of craft articles lately that have considered this and to be honest the more I think about it the more I'm convinced that I don't have one...well not a specific one.

My crafting could be considered eclectic (that's probably putting it kindly LOL).

I'm very easily influenced by things I see & like.

The hand-coloured images and lots of blooms/embellies (quite Bev Rochester-ish), clean and simple (something along the lines of "Less is more"), Shabby chic (influenced by Kerryanne English) or grunge...sort of in a "Tim Holtz" kinda way although I don't think I've ever quite achieved his 'look'.

There are so many crafters out there who produce work that I love and when you add to this all the wonderful products that keep hitting the stores, I find it very difficult to concentrate on just one style.

I love to play...I want to try it all. Sometimes I find a style/technique that I enjoy and use a lot - other times I find that something just isn't for me. The fact that I dabble in so many different crafts probably doesn't help as subconciously I attribute certain 'styles' to certain crafts.

Is it important that you develope a style of your own?

I don't know...but I don't think it is something that I will worry too much about because at the end of the day I think it is just as important to enjoy what you are doing. It would be interesting to hear what other folk think about this...

Whilst we are on the subject of 'style' - we Brits certainly put our own slant on things as far as London 2012 is concerned and I hope that we can keep the momentum going for our fabulous Paralympic athletes.
This building belongs to the Newham local authority and the decoration on the front of the building is what folk see as they approach Stratford from the direction of Bow and Central London (the outline sports figures have been used on lots of things throughout the area).
As you continue into the town you start to see more indications that this is an Olympic town. Some of the large images that decorated building have been removed and we are presuming that this is to make way for images of our paralympians.
The pretty planting is still providing a wonderful display and is a further welcome to those folk arriving in the area for the next round of Games starting on 29th August.
Visitors to the Games that have just finished have commented on how friendly & helpful everyone was and you can see from the signage in Stratford station that every effort was made to try and ensure that folk knew where they needed to go.

However, if you are looking for something that really shows we Brits have style...
...we have even put up signs to show folk which way they need to go for Rio LOL..........................

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

British Summertime has...


Returning to work yesterday wasn't too bad - the trains were less than full and there weren't the crowds in and around Stratford that there had been before the Olympics started.

There was a quietness to everything - almost like kids creeping around the house trying not to make a noise because a parent has a hangover...

Even the office was fairly quiet as many staff will not return until after the Paralympics because they have their chairs and other 'specialist' equipment set up in other locations.

I did return to some 'issues' that had arisen but on the whole there wasn't anything too bad. How is it that no matter how long you have off work - one day back and it feels like you've never been away (and I don't mean that in a good way **grumpy face**).

The rain held off until the afternoon and I was lucky enough to get home between some fairly heavy showers and boy did it come down last night. Oh and guess what...the forecast is for more to come.

Our good old British weather seems to be throwing a hissy-fit because the 'party' is over. Let's hope Mother Nature is back to her more amenable self by the time the Paralympics kick-off on the 29th.............................

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Your Olympic...

...roving reporter is back LOL

Yesterday's visit to Barleylands resulted in me joining a queue of traffic waiting to enter the site...why...I'd forgotten that Barleylands had been chosen by 'Locog' as a "Park & Ride" location for the Bike event to be held at Hadleigh.

Luckily, with the exception of the waiting area for the buses, the paved parking area was retained for visitors to the craft village (all Olympic visitors were directed to the marked out areas on the adjacent field).
Either these were brand new buses or they had been given a damn good wash as they were glistening in the sunlight.
There must have been 20+ of the things sitting waiting to convey folk to the Olympic site (sorry about this pic but being a shorty meant this was the best shot I could get).
Each of the buses was proudly displaying its destination.
Even the bus company name 'First' fits well with the event.

Arranging the 'park & ride' facilities a fair distance from the venue certainly kept traffic problems to a minimum - I had no problem at all getting to Mum's despite the predictions of gridlock conditions potentially cutting off Canvey Island.

Arriving at Mum's I noticed a tethered airship balloon over at Hadleigh...
...this photo was taken with my back to Mum's bungalow. You can get an idea of how close the Olympic events have been to us (if it hadn't been so hot yesterday, we might have walked down to the sea wall to see if we could actually catch the events from our side of Benfleet creek).

Tonight is the closing ceremony of the main Games and I think Team GB have done everyone proud.

When it was announced that we were aiming for 48 medals this time around there were a lot of folk who 'poo-pood' the idea...what did they know. We have (at the time of this post) 62 medals - 28 of them gold!!!

Whether folk wanted the Olympics here in the UK or not it has certainly created an overwhelming sense of pride in what can be achieved.

We have a couple of weeks for things to calm down a bit and then it will be the Paralympics - I hope that this support and 'feel-good' atmosphere continues through those games too.

In the past the coverage of the Paralympics has been pretty shameful which must be so disappointing to the athletes who take part after seeing all the 'hype' surrounding the main games. Team GB has done so well at the Paralympics in the past so it is only fair that we give them our support here on 'home ground'.

Let's support ALL our athletes in their endeavours.......................................

Friday, 10 August 2012

What's Rocking...

...your World this Friday?

If you are wondering what I'm on about just hop over to visit Virginia. Each week a small group of folk gather over at Virginia's blog to share the positives from their week - why not drop by and take a might get you thinking and you might even want to join in.
So what has been rocking my world this week...

Who could ignore the Olympics - haven't Team GB done us proud and WOW; what a way for Sir Chris Hoy to bow out - our best ever Olympian. It would have been a crime if the BBC hadn't provided 'wall to wall' coverage - after all, they are the 'face' of British broadcasting and they have provided us with views of all the amazing achievements that have contributed to this Games...after the super opening ceremony I have already booked my seat on the sofa for the closing event on Sunday. The whole event has been up-lifting - even Mum who had bemoaned the coming of the Games to the UK..."what a waste of money...the country could have put all that money to better use..." has been caught up with the excitement and has been tuning in to see how things were going.

Yay for delivery men. The two lovely guys who brought my new washing machine and installed it without moaning where it was to be located - not the most easily accessible of places (was the original coal cupboard for the house when it was built in 1912 and as it was originally accessed direct from the outside it has a bit of a nasty step). They took the old one away and installed the new in next to no time so although the delivery time hadn't been ideal I was able to get away by 13.30 ish so wasn't left hanging around all day.

Three cheers for working washing machines. The poor machine probably doen't know what has hit it (okay, I know it's a machine but you get the gist LOL) it arrived Wednesday and it has been used every excuse; I need to try out the different functions. Well you do; don't you!

Weather. Yep we have had alsorts this week but on the whole, down here in the Southeast the weather has been nowhere near the horrid conditions forecast...I mean; tourists expect a bit of rain when they come to the UK.

Learning a new skill. When it comes to crafting I always love learning something new and I have been enjoying making chords from my Kumihimo disk which I have now started turning into jewellery. My friend Helen asked me what I am going to do with the jewellery which brings me back to the age old problem of 'if I sell it, what do I charge?' - but I'm not letting this be a downer, this is a positive post so folks...answers on a postcard please **giggle**.

Spending time with Mum. Although I spend weekends with Mum, normally this is to sort out household chores that she can't manage or to take her shopping. This last fortnight has been far more relaxed and we have gone for drives, stopped for lunch and just generally pottered about.

Mail. No I'm not talking about the usual bills/statements. Whilst typing this post my postie has just delivered the cutest little 'Clarity Stamp' Christmas tree stamp. Last year I was lucky enough to win a year's subscription to the Clarity Club and each month since I have looked forward to recieving a new stamp on or around the
10th. I have to say that this is probably my favourite so far.

Well, the sun is shining so I think I'm going to go and make the most of it as it is back to work in Stratford on Monday.

Have a great weekend everyone and I'd love to know what's rocking your world at the moment..............................

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Casual chic...

...and pretty awful photos.

No matter how I tried, this was the best I could come up with - I just couldn't get the light right (I might give it another try tomorrow and see if there is any improvement).

Anyhoo, I completed another bracelet & necklace set.

The colours this time are white/sand/blue...a sort of sun bleached seaside effect.
The pendants are real Blue Lace Agate wrapped in a wire cage.
The bracelet is a double chord attached to chain and then the fastener. The 'dangly' bits are clear faceted and smooth frosted beads.
Blue lace agate is such a pretty stone and for those of you who are interested...

Blue Lace Agate: is a wonderful healing stone. Its soft energy is cooling and calming, bringing peace of mind. It is a powerful throat healer. Its property of counteracting blocked self-expression releases shoulder and neck problem. (extract from "The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall).
Not the easiest of shots...trying to keep the cage in the right place and take a photo one-handed had me muttering a few huffs & puffs (or similar sorts of words - **rollseyes & giggles**).

I have to say that I am rather enjoying making this style of jewellery and it is something very different from paper crafts..............................