Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I thought taking the lappie away with me might mean this got done on time, but instead the updates have been sitting in the editing posts box waiting for me to download the camera, oh well!!!

The last day of our few days away, and after another stuffed to the brim breakie we sat in the car listening to the travel reports. The M1 section in to London had been shut for 4 days due to a fire under one of the arches, and with 2 big footie matches and the London Marathon it didnt look like the journey back was going to be easy.

Kelly and Ol had invited us for dinner but it wasnt until 6 so to avoid both the traffic and arriving way too early we decided to go to Woborn. We were dithering over the Abbey or the Park right up until we got to the gate of the Park, but we knew in our hearts the animals were always going to win.

We had been to the Safari Park way back in the 70's and I have to say it hasnt really changed that much. There were far fewer animals to be sure, and way more cars but it was still fun. The first section drives you through the Savana type plain where there are rhino, zebra, deer and ostritch wandering around.

I wasnt sure how they managed to keep all the animals in their own sections but they all seemed to follow the stripy orange and black jeeps carrying the rangers about so I guess they were kinda trained to it.

I did get a tad cross with the idjitt two cars up who, despite all the signs, was feeding the ostritch through the window, causing it to attack the windows of all the following cars expecting more food.

And I got really annoyed with the bloke in the car in the bear enclosure who parked and stopped everyone from moving forward, and had a lovely view of the bear himself but by the time he finally moved on, the bear had moved off leaving me with little more than his backside to take photos of.

The monkeys were good and only one baby monkey took off with a car ariel and that was the bloke's own fault as we were all clearly told to take off our ariels before entering the park, so I had no sympathy for him.

You can drive round the park as many times as you want but it had taken so long that all we really wanted was a drink and a comfort break. The part of the park where you can get out and walk round, seeing some of the smaller petting animals is now looking very tired and old, despite only being opened for 3 days this season. I felt so sorry for the poor penguins who's enclosure had obviously seen better days.

The animals are well cared for, but I suspect economics have hit the park hard.

When we got back to the car, the family of Muslims in the three cars parked in front of us were having a huge domestic. It was so funny to see all the men folk cowering behind the cars as the women tore stripes out of each other. Eventually one of the other ladies told them all to get in their cars and shut up, and then she looked across at me and mouthed an apology!!

In the end traffic was light and we had a good run down to the kids where we spent a couple of hours chatting and then a lovely meal before heading off for home.

Here is my entry for week 1 of play along with UKS scrapfactor. I didnt get picked as a winner but I did get some lovely comments, not least one on Smackblog (and it wasnt a smack!!!!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Peg bag

I finally finished my peg bag. It was inspired by one I saw in a shop for £14!

Its the first time I have tried machine applique and it was lots of fun. I hand drew the little clothes and chalked all the rest straight onto the fabric to machine sew. I dont have an embrodery machine but the button hole stitch turned out to be just about right!

The pattern was free of the net and the material was from a bundle of fat quarters half price in the hobbycraft sale. Aside from the applique bits I only used 1 fat quater for the bag and half of another to make the bias binding. The lining was an old bit of sofa cushion material.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Knebworth without the music

We were both looking forward to the English Food Festival at Knebworth house, and although we turned up before the crowds, and were unindated with foodie samples, we were too stuffed full of breakie to try all the mouthwatering freebies, so we headed to the gardens to look round first.

The gardens were beautiful even though they weren't in full bloom yet.

I loved all the characters carved from old tree trunks.

The dinosaur garden was interesting too. However, my wrecked kneee, and now a sore foot (a large lump had decided to develop just below the ankle) put us off walking round the house so, slightly peckish by now we hobbled back to the food tents.

Suddenly, as if from no-where, hoards of people toting young children in buggies and dogs on leads seemed to appear. The tents were jammed packed, and the food samples dissapeared very quickly. I was run over twice by people pushing buggies (on my hurtie foot both times) and then when we sat on the grass for a coffee (the seats were all full from the coach loads of people that had now arrived) a woman in a wheelchair run straight over the same foot!!!!

So fed up with it all, we went back to the hotel. Martin took himself over to the driving range and I read my book until tea time when we took another outing, this time to the local Toby to have our roastie dinner before falling into bed.

I entered the uks Scrap factor contest before we left home, not because I wanted to win or anything, I hoped and prayed I wouldnt actually get into the full rounds, but Scrapdolly sounded so desperate to get enough people to enter, I decided to booster up the numbers. Here are some of my audition entries.

This was the hardest, a LO without a photo. In the end I found an old LO that I liked and redoing it from scratch because I never remember to save as a photoshop file, I replaced the photo with a quote.

I dont do LO's about me usually, and this is the only 'bump' picture I ever had taken. It was all pre-Demi More so 'bumps' were more for hidding than being proud of.

Just to prove I can do journaling when I try

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oxford or Cambridge

Another not so great start to the day when Martin, attempting to shower in the shower-above-the-bath (I have to say our hotel is lovely but the bathrooms really let it down) slipped over and hurt his arm and leg. Still my inventory was not to be tampered with, and after a very hearty full english, we set off for ... Morrisons!!

Yes despite there being a perfectly good 24 hour Tesco garage a stone's throw from the hotel, Martin had insisted I find out via the net where the nearest Morrison petrol station was so we could tank!!

After that it was on to Cambridge. We decided to use the Park and Ride, but were astonished at the price. Unlike Canterbury where they charge per car and up to 4 passengers, here they charged per person and whats more they charged more if you paid on the bus rather than use the ticket machine, and to add insult to injury the machine didnt give out change.

Unlike our visit to Oxford, where we had a long list of places we wanted to go see, Cambridge didnt seem to have any focal points so we grabbed a free map from off a stand in the shopping centre and just wandered around,....... and then wandered some more .... and then wondered just what there was to see.

Oxford teams with little shops, huge interesting architecture, narrow alleys, and best of all, a bustling atmosphere. Cambridge just felt tired, was all bitty with no main shopping centre or high street, was a mix of mainly newish (60's and 70's) type buildings with the odd older type historic building thrown in.

Of course there are the punts down the river Cam and we spent a few entertaining moments watching a guy who was totally pants at punting attempting to take his wife up the river. This wasn't easy as she was at the front of the boat with one oar rowing in totally the opposite direction to him!

According to the guide map there are more than enough museums, so we tried the first one we found open. It wasnt very intereactive, in fact all we could see on shelf after shelf were stones and bones!

So we had a coffee in the park and listened to a busker playing some pretty cool blues numbers,
and then decided to head back to the hotel. Of course only we could get sidetracked by a spot of shopping. As we searched for the Park and Ride bus stop we passed a shop selling suit cases. Ours gave up the ghost last year and we had used my scrapping tote for this holiday but that was only meant as a 1 off, so thats how we ended up dragging two large empty cases round most of Cambridge before finally finding the bus back to our car!

Back at the hotel we decided we would try out the free leisure facilities but it seemed that you had to have booked a spot early in the morning if you wanted to go swimming between 4 oclock and 7, so we lazed in our room for the rest of the afternoon before heading off across the road for a swim. Then we has a drink in the bar before off to bed as an early start was needed for our day at Knebworth in the morning.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day at the races

We are off on our hols again, all be it a short break. A couple of nights in a Spa hotel in Bedford, chosen because it wasnt too far to go on only a 4 day break and because having enjoyed the delights of Oxford a few years back we felt it only fair to do a tour of Cambridge to keep things even.

It wasnt an auspicious start this morning when, the weather turning to another cold snap, I checked to see if my coat was in the car. It was then I realised that whilst on a training course on Eco and natural activities for the Foundation Stage, in a little wooden hut in the wilds of the woods around Ashford, I must have left my coat there.

We were driving up to Newmarket, only about 30 miles from our hotel, to enjoy the first big meet of the flat racing season. With no coat, I had to wear my more scruffier looking sweat jacket, (we forgot how everyone usually boots and suits for the races) and even so I was frozen by the thrid race. We stuck it out to the 6th race ending 20p up on the afternoon, before calling it a day and heading off to Bedford, catching the rush hour on the way.

Tomorrow we are off to explore the city (and hopefully find me a very thick coat).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Allly Pally and the BSBSS

Yesterday Kelly and I took ourselves off for a mother and daughter day at the Big Scrapbooking and Stamping Show at Alexandra Palace. I got to travel up on the high speed train which was fast and comfortable (and I wish they would update the rest of the rolling stock to this standard) as well as reasonably priced. I did have to park in a rather dodgy looking place in Faversham (but more on that later), as the road to the all new, all singing (and looking little different from the old) steps and subwalk to the station has now become 2 hour parking zone. A ploy I am sure to make you pay the extortionate prices in the station car park.

Anyway one starbuck latte on St Panc's station later, I had met with Kelly and we were on our way. Unlike all the other times we have been (and there have been many) it was a beautiful warm sunny day, we had our picnick and our money. We were looking forward to spending a little cash on some goodies and seeing lots of demos, so we could come home raring to go on our summer photos.

We were pleased to see they were stopping trollies from entering the hall, everyone had to leave them in the cloakroom. It was amazing the difference this made to walking round and getting in/out of the stands. Why they hadnt thought of this before I dont know, but for once there was little pushing and shoving, and most people moved aside quickly if you asked politely to be let through.

We overheard Barbara Grey of Clarity Stamps say she was demonstrating in the downstairs hall in half an hour. Now last time out both Kelly and I had bought one of the new speedball brayers, but had both had rubbish results with them, but we were both determined to get it right so were desperate for tips from the talented brayer lady herself. We rushed downstairs, and having sat through half a very boring template presentation by the create and craft lady (I'm sure she was fantastic but it wasnt our cup of tea and we hadnt really a clue what she was doing) we managed to grab two front row seats!

Barbara was brilliant. I highly recommend going to one of her demos if you can. I would love to do one of her workshops. As well as being ubber talented, she is a joy to listen to, and she gave us loads of ideas and tips, not just on how to use the brayer. And on returning home, I find I have more or less got the brayering sussed!!

I have to say that the rest of the show was somewhat of a dissapointment. There was stand after stand of Tim Holtz stuff. Although I bought 3 distress ink pads, and Kelly bought a distress stain, I really am fed up with the grunge look and after something a bit more uplifting and brighter. Not only that it seems that yesterday I was having senior moment after senior moment as I managed to grab a distress colour that I already had. An extremelly hard thing to do since I only own 6 colours!! Still it wasnt just me as Kelly picked out a shimmer stray colour we also owned (despite us only having 6 colours of those between us). My lovely friend Kate of Pickleberry Papercrafts has kindly offered to swap it for me though so not such a great disaster afterall.

Just after three we called it a day and left to come home. Again it was the high speed train (only marred by a group of young lads who, although well behaved, were rather noisy in their chatter, spoiling my concentration on my ebook. I was a tad worried about my car, but as I walked towards the corner of the road I had parked it in, I could see it was still there and looked sound enough on that side. It was only when I was close enough to draw round to the other side of it that I got a bit of a shock, as a large chicken, yes I did write chicken, was stood by the driver's door looking up at me. What's more she had two mates standing behind looking over her shoulder and making menacing chicken noises!!!!

It turned out that the three of them were escapees from the house across the road, and the owners had just that moment discovered them to be awol. All three were quickly rounded up and it was safe for me to drive home and play with my meagre haul. I bought:-

6 for £5 mister spray bottles
2 cosmic shimmer's (kelly bought 2 as well and we swapped our colours, filling the mister spray bottles
3 distress ink pads for £11 (bargin)
1 12x12 plastic storage box, these were 3 for £6 but Kez had the other two. We bought them to carry home the
£3 worth of Fancy Pants paper (double sided) at 20p a sheet
Lavinia stamps - 3 dancing fairies and the two sizes of hanging ivy.
10 reels of shiny thread for £10 which we are going to split

New/further attempts at using the brayer.