Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Christmas Traditions...

...mean so much.

With just a few days to go before we start the Advent countdown, I start to think of all the things that have become a tradition for our family at this time of year.

Probably the biggest tradition that has continued is the new PJs, slippers & dressing gown to snuggle into on Christmas Eve...

Growing up, Mum would bundle my sister and I upstairs for our bath on Christmas Eve and then wrapped in big fluffy towels we would come down to see what Santa's Elves had left us under the tree as an early treat...we always felt so smart in our new PJs or nighties and we always tried to stay awake so that we could show them off to Santa - we never managed it but I'm sure Santa thought we looked lovely in our new nightwear.

My sister continued this with my niece when she was small and even now I usually have something new to put on Christmas Eve - even if it is just new slippers.

My sister's birthday is in the Summer so she could have birthday parties in the garden or trips to the seaside...with mine being just over a month before Christmas, Mum & Dad helped me to celebrate in a different way. The weekend nearest to my birthday would be when the Chrismas decorations went up in our house. This has been tempered over the years and now I try to make a start on my home decs on 1st December so that I can enjoy them for a whole month.

On the subject of Chrimbo sister and I always got to choose a new decoration for the tree and I am lucky enough to have these delicate glass treasures carefully wrapped as a keepsake of my childhood. These days I love to pick a few new baubles for the tree and when ever possible I try to make some decs as well - this year I have made a couple of padded fabric hearts (which I shared with you a couple of posts ago).

I don't remember exactly how old I was but I do remember that my first Advent calendar came from Mum's cousins in Sweden - it was sent to me instead of a birthday card...I have had an Advent calendar every year since. Sometimes they were just the 'open a window' type and other years they held chocolate treats. For the last good few years I have made myself an Advent...I have had decorated boxes made from matchboxes (the first year I made this style I made quite a few - I'm sure the local stores thought I was a secret arsenist LOL) and several years I have made the "sleeps 'til Santa" type.
Last year I actually attended a workshop and I made a tower full of boxes which was great for filling with sweets. This year I'm back doing a "sleeps" style (if I manage to get it finished in time).

I think one of the traditions I missed the most was the visit to Santa. Growing up it was such a treat to be taken up to Gammages Department Store in London to see would board the 'magic sleigh' and journey to the Northpole where you would then wander through 'ice' grottos before reaching Santa's workshop. You then got to chat to Santa and tell him what you really wanted for Christmas before being given a gift to take away on the day...usually colouring books and pencils or the like. When Gammages closed it was never the same just going to see Santa sat in a store and I think this was one of the reasons we started the letter to Santa tradition for my niece.

Christmas can be so hectic and so very commercialised that it is nice to have traditions and memories that you can hold on to. Some of the traditions have changed slightly over the years but there are still things that provide a constant at this time of year...there is always a gift for everyone (including the pets) from Santa under the tree - I mean, it just wouldn't be Christmas without a gift from Santa; would it?.........................................

Monday, 26 November 2012

A rather late...

...What's Rocking Your World post.

For anyone 'landing' here for the first time, welcome and let me explain.

The lovely Virginia hosts a weekly event over on her blog which encourages you to stand still and take a look back over your week to find the positives (you will find some - trust me) that made your world 'Rock' or even just brought a smile to your face. Virginia then encourages us to share those lovely moments.

I was sooooooooooooooo set to be on time this week **rollseyes and shuffles sheepishly** but all those best laid plans got overtaken by a little something called LIFE...I'm sure you've all been there, done that and probably have the Tee-shirt LOL

What can I say - life happens - but here is my post, better late than never.

Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year because of the wonderful colours that nature provides us with. Over the last few weeks there have been some amazing sights but it wasn't until a week ago that I managed to get some photos. There are times when I really wish I was the passenger in a car rather than the driver, just so I would be able to snap away to my hearts content...

I just love all the strong contrasts between the golds, rusts, reds and browns.

The last two sessions of training were completed by my Team and despite the change of trainer for the last session (not good as she repeated much of what we had already done and asked questions that we had covered in the earlier sessions) everything was taken in good part and everyone participated fully - proud moment for me.

Thursday was my birthday and I received some lovely cards and gifts (amongst which were 2 rather large potted orchids from folk at work - fun & games getting those home on the train I can tell you). I was also surprised by the number of folk who wished me Happy Birthday at work as the greeting came from folk that I know I have never mentioned birthdays to...all became clear later in the day. A colleague who runs our Lottery syndicate has been off for a while as he had a nasty accident resulting and a very bad break of his upper arm - in his absence I have been collecting the payments from the syndicate members and buying the tickets. Simon returned to work this week on limited hours but he organised cards and gifts from the syndicate as a way of saying thank you...lots of lovely chocs and flowers.

To top off my birthday I had a lovely phone call from my niece in Germany but the minx didn't mention what she had been up to - a rather cryptic message via email had me heading over to Pinnacle Crafts at Barleylands wondering what on earth I was in for. She had ordered some gift vouchers for me to collect... you can see, I've made good use of one of the vouchers - the rest are being kept for this coming weekend as it is Members weekend and I will be taking advantage of the 30% off (I already have my shopping list ready).

Despite the grotty weather over the weekend, I did manage to get a few bits for Christmas. Some of the items are the 'makings' for a couple of projects I have on the go - it was one of those lucky weekends when things I needed to get or needed to do just seemed to fall into place (apart from getting this post done...see, I knew what you were thinking LOL).

I also had a lovely lazy time on Sat & Sun evenings watching Robbie Williams on the TV.

Anyhoo, we are now into a new week and I will be aiming to be a bit more timely with my Rocking post - can you believe that this coming Friday will be the last day of November so the Advents can come out on Saturday.

Have a Rocking week everyone......................................

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Shabbilicious Friday...

...23 November 2012.

I was going to share some more Christmas makes but guess what...they are still in the 'making' **rollseyes** yep, one month to go and I'm still making...

Never mind, I thought I'd share this 'find' with you instead.
It is a small metal photo/picture frame - suitable for something about 6"x4".
I love the shade of green and the antique white used to highlight the embossed areas (although I think I will be adding a bit more to make it feel a bit shabbier).

I just fell in love with it so it had to come home with me and I have the perfect photo in mind to go in it. It was only a couple of £'s from a little store at Barleylands that makes Children's bespoke furniture and keepsake boxes (they occasionally have other gift items and signage).

I'm linking this over at Kerryanne's Shabbilicious Friday link party. If you haven't already paid her a visit you really should. Her "Simply Christmas" event is in full swing so along with being able to gaze longingly at all the shabby loveliness that folk are sharing you can take a look at the fab Christmas ideas and free downloads that are available to help you get ready for the Holiday season.....................

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Tea for Two...

...a simple little note card.

The last Progressive Challenge over at the CDAC site provided this charming teapot digi image by Priscilla Styles.

I really did keep things very simple with a Kraft card blank.
Some Making Memories PP and Stickers.
...finished off with the digi image that has just a hint of colour provided by my Spectrum Noir pens.

There are lots of super creations over on the CDAC site so why not pay a visit..................................................

Saturday, 17 November 2012

So What's been Rocking... World this week?

It has been a pretty hectic week but as Virginia says - it is surprising the number of positives and smile generating moments you can findwhen you just take a few moments to look back at the week.

Sunday I had a super day all on my own. Just out and about having a wander. Not having to be anywhere or do anything specific. I popped into the Summerhill Garden Centre to take a look at this year's Christmas display and happily whiled away a couple of hours just gazing at beautifully decorated trees and picking up ideas that I want to try for myself...I was like a kid in a candy store. Oh to have the money to buy all the wonderful things that I saw. I have to say that I was very good and didn't spend a penny in there but I do have a list of bits that might find their way home with me come payday.

My Team at work had their first two training sessions of a four session event - I have to say, after session one I was not looking forward to session two as it was double the length (session one seemed to go over the heads of most of my folk and they really didn't engage with the trainer). However, session two was a Team-build type event and if there is one thing my folk do well is that they work as a team...and boy did they pull out all the stops. The trainer was extremely impressed and I was very, very proud of their efforts & achievements. Here's hoping sessions 3 & 4 go as well.

The lovely Scrappyjen dropped by my blog to say she had shared this with me...
The Liebster Award is shared amongst blogs with less than 200 followers - I am supposed to share this with 5 other bloggers but I am having such a hard time picking just 5.Thank you so much Jen for thinking of me - I'm going to have to give this some more thought so I can add in links to the folk I want to share this with.

I noticed this poster on another platform at the station (not a platform I use very often) and although I could tell that it was Christmassy, it was too far away to read what it said...light-bulb moment...I took a photo. Surprisingly it came out pretty well and now I know it is advertising all the Festive events being held at the Barbican.
I was pretty pleased with how well the photo came out.

The old Mall in Stratford has pretty Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling but there isn't much else at the moment to indicate that Christmas isn't that far away - still, never mind, just a couple more weeks and I can put the decs up in work.

I know Starbucks are getting a lot of bad press at the moment because of not paying tax here in the UK, but that still doesn't stop me loving their Gingerbread lattes.
The one I had on Friday was double cupped so I have decided to have a go at making a coffee cup mini-album. Whilst looking for details on-line (I had seen some examples in the past) I also came across instructions for making mini-albums from the coffee cup sleeves...I have quite a collection of these at work...with luck I'll be able to make good use of them.

If you would like to share the positives that have made your week, why not hop ove to Virgini's blog and play along................................

Shabbilicious Friday...

...a bit late.

Over at Kerryanne English's blog she holds a Friday link party where folk can go to share all their fab 'shabby' creations. At this time of year, folk are also able to share their Christmas makes as part of Simply Christmas.

Here is what I'm sharing this week...
...a couple of simple tea-light holders and a rusty bucket.
The bucket has a simple ribbon band and paper flower & button decoration added to match in with the Red/White theme I want for this Christmas.
The tea-light holders were two very plain clear holders that have been covered with some stamped hessian and finished off with a piece of jute string tied around the top in a bow.
The openness of the weave on the hessian allows the glow from the tea-lights to show through - don't ask me to try and photograph them lit...I had enough trouble getting these pics (I really must do something about my photography skills - or rather lack of...LOL).

As I said, I'm late joining the party this week but that shouldn't stop you from hopping over there and taking a look at all the fabulous stuff that folk have shared. There is certainly plenty of shabby loveliness for you to drool over..............................................

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas Treasures... you have any?

My treasures are things that I have made for the Holiday season. Each year they are dusted off and packed away safely and then the following year they are brought out again to take their place with the rest of the decor.

These photos are pretty awful (dark mornings don't make for easy photography) but I wanted to share this couple of ceramic 'baskets' that I made whilst attending ceramic art classes...

...they were coloured using Dona's Hues and LOTS of dry brushing.

Although they are lidded, they are never used for anything other than decoration and are usually placed somewhere viewable but not reachable. I had a ceramic handled basket with a matching holly & cone panel and it was picked up and dropped so now I don't take the risk as these are things I can not replace.

What do you have amongst your Christmas things that you treasure? Is it things that the children/grandchildren have made or things that have been handed down?

I would love to know what sort of things other folk think of as treasures................................

Monday, 12 November 2012

Doesn't he look Smart...

...all pressed, polished and ready for duty.

As some of you will know, my Niece is married to a serving member of the British Army and they are currently located in Germany near the German/Dutch border.

These are the photos that Kristy sent me of Dan ready to go off to the Rememberence Day memorial march that was held at the Reichwald Forest Commonwealth War Cemetery - he was one of just a few selected to represent NATO.
Very smart...don't you think?
Unfortunately Kristy wasn't able to go and take photos at the actual march as she was accompanying her Beavers in their march held on the base.

Here at home we had Army cadets marching past the house to the memorial at the end of my road where the Rememberence service is held - there was no Police escort this year and some impatient drivers were whizzing past the youngsters with little thought to safety or the occasion...shame on them. The youngsters all looked very smart as they marched along the road and they should feel very proud of their involvement..............................................

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Never Forget...

...those who gave their lives so that we can live ours.

For all the "Burma Boys"...the Kohima Epitaph...

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

...and for all our brave lads & lasses - at the 11th hour of this 11th day of the 11th month - we will remember them!!!.........................................

Friday, 9 November 2012


...this 9th of November 2012 ?

Yes Friday has come around again and this is where we take a moment to step back and look at the things that have made us smile or brightened our worlds in the last week...then we toddle over to Virginia's blog to share these 'rocking' moments.

So what has been going on since last Friday...

Well, the weather has been pretty awful so that hasn't been rocking my world especially as the heavy downpours didn't do anything to halt the very LOUD bangs and whistles of fireworks going off late into the evening on most times the explosions were very like the news footage of shells going off in a war zone. I love a beautiful fireworks display but all that seemed to be happening around here was a lot of BANG and very little fizz...

The UKScrappers 10th Anniversary Cyber-Crop came to an end - that was sad but the classes/challenges that were produced for this event were fabulous. I have printed them off and will be making some of the projects at a later date. It was fun being part of a team and the galleries of super creations have been amazing.

Starbucks has the red cups back...
...this means the Christmas flavours are now available and I've had my first Gingerbread latte of the season - yummy, scrummy, delish.

Simply Christmas over at the Shabby Art Boutique has started with some fabulous posts - if you haven't visited you really must hop over there and take a look. So many lovely ideas for making Christmas more home and family centred.

Kerryanne holds a link party every Friday - Shabbilicious Friday - where folk share the super shabby chic things that they have made or found. I shared my rusty wreath last week and I have been lucky enough to be 'featured' on this weeks post - see the pretty button that I have been able to add to my sidebar **big grin**

This week I will be entering these...
...scandinavian style Christmas decorations. Not so much shabby chic but certainly with a family homespun feel to them. Red/White/Kraft colour combos are very much the thing at the moment and I used some scraps of fabric (out of my work basket) to make these two hearts. A small amount of wadding to give them a squishy feel and some wooden buttons that I bought a while ago in Sugar & Spice just to finish them off. I want to get some hessian or jute to make some 'kraft' coloured ones too.

I might even go mad and make some bunting like in one of the Simply Christmas posts (just need to find a few extra hours to tag onto my days LOL).

Why don't you hop over to Virginia's and Kerryanne's blogs to take a look at what is being shared...better still - why not join in..........................

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Shabbilicious Friday...

...isn't that a fabulous word - Shabbilicious!

Kerryanne over at the Shabby Art Boutique has a weekly link party on her blog where folk can share their fabulous shabby craftiness. Starting from the 2nd November these links can also include Christmas makes.

Earlier last week Kerryanne shared her rusting 'recipies' with us. They are certainly going to come in handy as I wanted to make additional items to match this...
...which started life as a fairly sparsly decorated ring of wire and I bought some 'ready rusted' bits to add to it (not the cheapest of ways of doing things LOL).
As Kerryanne said in her blog, rust in home decor is either something you love or hate (a bit like Marmite...**giggle**). I have a few rusted bits but this wreath has to be my favourite.
The golden berries give it an Autumn feel so it extends the period that I can have it on display.
Now I have Kerryanne's rusting recipies I need to start looking for some bits-n-bobs to rust.

Why don't you hop on over to the Shabbilicious link party and see all the fabulous things folk have been making...........................................

Friday, 2 November 2012

Rocking your World...

...Friday has come around again.

What's it all about? Well as Virginia would say...

"Friday - a time to reflect and give thanks on the last 7 days, find those silver linings and smile as you kick back and appreciate those parts of your life that make life that bit easier, that bit better and that bit more pleasant than it otherwise would have been because its...

I've been MIA for a couple of weeks from the WRYW line-up - not intentional but the time has just sliped away from me.

So what's been rocking my world this week?

Saturday - watching a fabulous demo by Andy Skinner. To see what he can do with some gesso, paint, ink and a paint stripper (yes I said a paint stripper) is amazing. No namby-pamby heat gun for Mr Skinner...he really goes for it with his heat variable paint stripper gun - he had the burnt paper and oatmeal to prove it **hehe**

Sunday - time spent over at Mum' having to dash anywhere, nothing urgent to do - bliss.

Monday - my fluffy fingerless gloves from '99p Store' came into their own. The office was sooooooooooooo cold (hasn't improved much all week) and my hands were like ice until I put the gloves on - at least that part of me was nice and toasty.

Tuesday - home that is. As I type this I am touching wood with every available part of me as I don't want to tempt fate. My central heating packed up on Christmas Eve last year and I've been making do with a couple of electic heaters (very expensive & and not very effective). 3 times new parts have been obtained and 3 times I've had heating for less than a day...different man this time and after 30 mins tinkering...HEAT (and it's still going).

Wednesday - had a giggle in Wilkinsons buying supplies for Annette West's mini book class over on the UKS CyberCrop...why?...MATCHBOXES...haven't bought any matches since my Advent box making sessions and I clearly remembered the strange looks I got for taking so many boxes of matches to the checkout...only 4 (big) boxes this time LOL

Thursday - start of a new month and the start of Kerryanne English's "Simply Christmas" event.
She has done us proud again this year with the most beautiful downloads for a Christmas planner.
The artwork on these download pages is fabulous.

Friday - last day at work before the weekend...yipee!!!...

So, why not share what's been rocking your world this week. Hop on over to Virginia's blog for links to other folk's "Rocking" posts and why not join in...................