Friday, July 15

Times they Change

I know I only now have a few subscribers and really it is years since I was blogging with any sort of consistency but I still miss it - I used to blog daily when Cait was small and now she is off to Secondary - I have loved the whole time with all its ups and downs so far. 

How we earn money has changed significantly from the days of two good salaries and we survive - just scraping through some months and often on a hairy edge but its OK, the business has its ups and downs but generally it provides a good one person salary although we are stretching it to two currently!!  This may change soon.  There is an opportunity for me but I need to push hard for it to be realised when we want it to happen.  But I am good at that, well I am now!!

I still craft - I still did fairs until about 12 months ago and dabbled on and off for a few months but then put it all to one side as J started working away more and more and I struggled physically with shifting stuff and tables etc it was all just too much for me.  Things have improved healthwise but I am still struggling somewhat and really still need to loose weight and eat more healthily than I do - sugar and carbs are my bete noire!

I miss crafting ALOT and still dabble but in a wider range of things - knitting, crochet, stamping, fabric and sewing seem to be the main ones but I get a finger into all sorts.  Curtains have been a feature in recent months and still some more to do for living area.  I have enjoyed a bit of no pressure crafting so that is always a positive.

Our woofer is new since last blogging - something else to eat time, walking the dog and I enjoy a reason to walk in different areas and get out in all weathers - although I am still not keen on torrential rain.  It has helped with fitness levels though.

Here is the gratuitous picture of the nearly 11 yr old

Sunday, August 11

Crafting Time

The last few months (since we were in Mauritius in May actually) has been a bit of a creative drought - I just haven't felt like doing anything.  My classes have stopped and my sales outlet is closed for the summer bar one day a week.  I have tried all sorts and I am not really sure why I am feeling so overwhelmed by it all.  I have lots of ideas and desire to craft but just can't quite get down to it at the moment.

We (Cait and I ) went to the Great British Craft Festival at Stonleigh which is only down the road from us so it would have been rude not to, well the NEC is close as well but they charge you £10 to just park the car!!! At least at this one that was free albeit in a field and a way from the show.  Thank goodness it didn't rain is all I am saying - although it was threatening a shower it never materialised.  We had a good day and the free make and take sessions were great, although I like to see these out in the hall if I am honest and on the actual stalls - you get far more variety.  The stalls as usual were crammed with stuff and if I am honest there was an awful lot of the same stuff on stalls which wasn't very inspiring.  I didn't see anything that really grabbed me and it was all pretty mainstream.  I bought a few stamps from Inky Doodles and also a Woodware Christmas Owl but other than that a few bobs for making some rings and a small cloud die, glue and that was it.  Gone are the days of a couple of hundred in the show - that was some time back though when there were fewer internet and physical shops and you really looked forward to the show for access. 

It was nice to get out and look at what was popular or not and see that yes there are still plenty of crafters out there though.  You do sometimes wonder!!

Saturday, August 3

We're all going to the Zoo tomorrow

Well we went on Thursday actually - hottest day of the year!!  It was humming - so MANY people in one place.  Never seen anything like it.  Lots of animals in hiding.  At one point my sister asked "Who shot all the lions" as they were lying down fully and didn't look like they would be moving anytime soon!

It was an exhausting day as we were there at 10 and left just after 3, Cait and her Cousin had a wonderful time and loved just running from one enclosure to another seeing what they could see.  They loved watching the elephants getting a jet wash, and the aquarium was another favourite despite the temperature in there.  Very cute baby monkey and family, baby elephants but no sign of the baby rhino.

I drove back down immediately after and paid the price the next day so just had a lazy day pretty much just doing sitting down things before going out for a Thai meal which John and I enjoyed as Cait won't really eat that so we tend not to go with her.

John wants to go back on our diet so will have to sort the books out and get reading again to reinspire me - I won't be doing the killer dettox I don't think this time, although shouldn't be so bad as I have not gone back onto chocolate since we stopped the diet - not in the same way as before anyway. 

Its a lovely morning out there I watched the sunrise and I can now see the chickens making a feast of the beasties in the grass as I speak.  We have a pletherer of eggs as well s maybe frittata for tea or similar... or maybe some cakes before the diet begins... ha we shall see.

Mostly though I will be doing some work on the accounts...


Thursday, July 25

Whats in a cake?

Well for this soon to be Birthday Girl who had her party early, chocolate cake and ALOT of fondant icing all makes for a Rainbow Magic Fairy Castle - what a nightmare...I will really have to pull her expectations down again next year and put my footdown regarding castle cakes - something else next year please.

Her Birthday like mine is in August but we try and hold her actual birthday party at the end of the Term so her friends are around to come and enjoy.  I think we might be into the realms of cinema or something else soon though...  pleased in many ways but not in others she is growing up fast.

The first photo is of Cait after she had done her Brownie Promise finally after going for 6 months - she was also awarded two badges at the same time - so speedy badge production there!!  She loves it.


Tuesday, July 23

A New Dawn A New Day A New Blog Promise

For the last few years blogging has not appeled - life has been stressful, hectic but still rewarding and I wouldn't have had it any different but the paths of myself, my life and my blogs didn't really cross.  But I have found myself of recent times writing blog posts in my head so thought its about time we started them up again and see how things go.  So while I am not promising photo filled, thrill seeking blog posts every day for the next millennium, I will be posting more regularly - even daily, and to start with just the everyday stuff that makes life interesting - so a bit of a diary and also some commentary on the world of today  I have had the blog such a long time it seems a shame not to continue so here I am back in the fray!

Yesterday started out overcast but warm - we checked the weather and saw it was due to keep heating up with a thunderstorm due around 2pm.  So my DD Cait and I decided to make the most of the morning and pop out to one of our local National Trust places for a romp in the gardens and a mooch in the bookshop for me.  Am loving the local secondhand bookshop fundraising that the NT do - not sure they do it at all sites but love the idea of ustilising what would otherwise be boring outbuildings into little nooks and crannies of bookshops often done on an honesty basis so no staffing needed.

We have 3 houses very near us (a few miles) and at least another 2 within 20 miles so we do get VFM for our family membership.   I like that there is a more entreprenuerial spirit at the sites now as there is more independence for the house managers for fundraising and events, I would still like to see an even more local focus in the shops.  It is mountains better than it used to be and they do have some nice product ranges but it is still an also ran in terms of setting the pace - so for e.g. I saw a really nice set of oilcloth bags and similar accessories with scarves, phone cases and the like - oh that would be inspired by Ms Kidston then.  BUT what would have made it for me was using patterns found in the houses of the NT or at least inspired by, but no, florals on beige and beige and white polka dots sigh.......

I took the camera and there are some nice piccies which will upload in a tick but loved the number of benches around the gardens at Baddesley Clinton and the new Veg Garden location complete with very professional scarecrows.  We accidentally found a geocache which was also great as could explain what that was to my daughter - would love to get a GPS to use for these and may think about it for my birthday, I think all of us would appreciate walks with a bit of purpose.  The more formal house walled house gardens are stunning at the moment and they are also looking for volunteers....wonder if you get free cuttings - lol.

Today we have had a huge thunder and rain storm this morning and hopefully at least half filled my water butt as it was decidedly empty having had to be repaired as well  - think it might be on its last legs though as it is split - what to do with a dead plastic waterbutt - any ideas???

List of tasks for today include closing my business bank account as they now wish to charge me for the pleasure - when I am constantly in credit and don't use nay other services- think we will just shut it up and use something else.  Renew Tax Credits which is done - always feels like it will be more painful than it is but as we are self employed it is still on estimates till all the different accounts and tax returns are done.

 This one amused Cait with the Monday to Sunday Pants. 
 A New Arbour in the Vegetable Garden.  Beautifully laid out and everything growing well despite the lack of rain over the last few weeks, lots of watering going on though.

 Queen Victoria was presiding over gardening proceedings so Cait stopped for a chat...

Caught in the more formal House Gardens - the butterflies loved this plant, any ideas what it is...

And finally a portrait in the new portrait facility with dress up clothes  replacing a very tired priest hole climbing unit that was  long over due.  Wish the backgrounds were darker so they show better.  Even with the stools they were also hung a little high for kids photos.  Still a bit of fun...


Tuesday, October 11

Set a date!

I am on a MISSION to GIVE AWAY some Stampin' Up! Goodies - yes really - if you host a party in the first week of November with 6 or more attendees I will GUARANTEE that you will get £30 free spends in the UK catalogue. Book a workshop party today between 15th October and 30th November to find out more about this special one time offer and get your crafting Christmas sorted.

Wednesday, August 31

An EXCITING time of year

If you are an SU Demo or Customer as it is time for the sneak peaks to start for the new Catalogue and the list of retiring items to be published - what will be on there this year and what will you miss if you don't order it now????

I can take orders for retiring items right up to the end of September but beyond that they are gone and as we progress through the month less and less will be available to buy as the items go sold out.  So don't miss your chance to purchase your remaining wish list items - possibly at a reduced price - before the end of the month.

With the new catalogue just around the corner its getting very exciting for us demos we are raring to go with the new goodies - which we get to get our hands on first as well.  If you would like to earn some extra money or just get yourself a whopping 20% discount on your own purchases get in touch and I will talk you through how it works - there is never a better time to join than with a new catalogue and you get a whole 6 months to make your first quarterly minimum.

To get you going I have a pre-order offer for the new catalogue of £4.50 to include postage and a free invite to my Retiring Party in September and New Catalogue launch in October.  want a Catty and coming along - for just £3.50 its yours if no postage is required.