Sunday, 29 September 2013

Things making me HAPPY this week

1) Trying new recipes (sadly no photos - I must get better at taking more photos).  This week I have been really good at cooking (and trying new recipes).  I have made fishcakes, lamb and sweet potato stew and my first ever cottage Pie - what I am only 39, it's not so it?  My Mum is really looking forward to coming for her next meal!!!!!!  I may do frozen pizza.  The need to bake is fast consuming me so I may need to answer that call soon.  I am trying not to bake as I then have to eat whatever I make.  I usually try and bake mid week so the H can take most of it into work.

2) Advent Boxes.  Last year I ended up making 5 advent boxes for friends. The only bit I stopped enjoying was wrapping up the last couple of boxes worth of gifts!  Thought I'd get in early this year and have nearly finished the first box - yiphee.  Each box is filled with little gifts aimed at each person, hand made, bought, edible.  This first box is for S and I just need to buy one last gift and then she's done.  Hope she likes it as much as she did last year.

Advent box numbero uno

3) Anni loves her toys.  My first dog Patch (we had her for nearly 13 years) was a rescue dog and didn't know how to play.  Anni loves playing.  Her special toy (she has 3 versions of it) is a miniature space hopper thingy - now, no silliness she doesn't sit on it and bounce, but it squeaks - LOUDLY and she loves it.  It is only brought out just before bedtime and she knows when it's time.  She's fast asleep and one of us will sneak out of the room, by the time we get back in she's sat behind the door with tail wagging - EVERY SINGLE TIME - how does she know???

 4) Card making.  The first card below is very me, tape, buttons and quite simple really.  I sometimes get criticism that I am too simple with my cards but I guess this is my natural style.  Am really trying to use up lots of little bits so when we finally move I have less junk loved items to take with us.

 I also struggle with making cards suitable for men.  I think I have gotten it right below - not sure about the Forever Friends teddy but am sure one of the older generation will like it.  I seem to have oodles of things to add for women but not men.  I think that may be something I need to look out for next time I am craft shopping.
5) Anni managing not to swim during her latest explore.  Every time it got deeper she managed to back out of the deep part.  She's quite happy to shove her head under water but hasn't quite realised that she can swim.  Once she learns that she can swim, I think she'll be off!

Anni Paddling!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Crafting day

I haven't been able to show much of my crafting lately as they are mostly presents for Christmas.  I go through phases of crafting, days where I need to do loads and days when I don't touch it at all.  Anni usually helps me in my decision with when I craft.  We have days when she needs to be with me and days when she is happy just to be cuddled up so at least one part of her body is touching mine!

When I first started card making I bought boxes of pre printed cards and stuck bits on them.  I don't think I actually realised that I could buy white cards and decorate them myself - wow, it was a revelation when I learnt I could do that!  Still I have a box full of these pre printed cards which I need to use up so I can concentrate on cards which make me more creative.  The first card I made was for H's 4th Birthday.  He's having a swimming party so when I saw the swimming stickers I knew where to start.

H-4th Birthday card.

On the same theme my nephew O is 6 later this year, so I hope he likes sharks.  I think my Hubby, who will be 40 next year would have happily have had the shark card!!!!!

O's 6th Birthday card.
I love buttons.  I just can't get enough of them.  I don't know why I only "discovered" them late last year.  Any spare buttons can be sent straight to me and if they have dots on them, then I REALLY, really need them! (I love spots).

Spare card.

The other thing I never know what to do with, is those free chipboard die cuts that you get free with magazines.  You know the ones -

How do you make these look fab?
 I've only made one card this evening, using both the chipboard thingys and the pre printed cards - yay!

Finished card.

I do still make mistakes when I craft though.  I love washi tape (too) and especially the starry one below.  I may have not thought it through though when I put it behind a clear sticker - d'oh.

I did buy my hubby a bunch of flowers the other day.  I was complaining that he doesn't buy me them anymore - unless I am pushing his wheelie past the flowers when we go to the supermarket - hardly romantic, so I thought I'd buy him some instead.  Hopefully it'll remind him how much I love
flowers :-)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Shipley Glen Walkies

My Mum and Dad took Anni and I for a drive today.  As a girl it was a real treat to go up to Shipley Glen.  We'd park on the moorland at the top and walk down the glen.  If we were lucky we'd get to go on a little ride at the top of the path down the glen and 20p worth of sweets from a little sweetshop at the bottom of the hill.  If I was with my Grandma we'd usually have an ice cream too. Sadly the rides have all gone and the ground is getting reclaimed by nature.

Today we had a different route.  We went down a different path to a river at the bottom for Anni to have an explore.  She loves water - but isn't sure about the whole swimming malarky!  The woods at the bottom of the glen are gorgeous at this time of year.  Then up the other STEEP side.  My Mum and I were struggling up the steeper bits and when we looked for my Dad he was out of sight.  At the top, he was telling us it was easier with a walking stick - yes, thanks Dad.

Waiting to start the walk

C'mon let's go.......

Dingley Dell?

Anni playing in the stream

Mushrooms everywhere

What do you mean I need to swim?

Wait for me
We're looking forward to our next day of exploring.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Things making me HAPPY this week

I really enjoy doing my Sunday "Things making me HAPPY this week" posts.  I like that I have to take 10 minutes to think about my week to choose my favourite things.

1). Sunshine.  Our boiler has decided to throw a dickie fit so we have no heating or hot water (there goes my bath this afternoon :-(.  Hope my Dad can sort it.)  Thankfully the sky is blue and the sunshine is out.  It's been a cold week until today so I hope we can sort it all out before it gets cold again.

Blue Skies

 2) Meeting up with a friend (J), I haven't seen in ages and spending the afternoon in a lovely local cafe.  In fact I can't believe we spent most of the afternoon in the cafe.  I have never sat still for so long - ever.  The cafe is part of a lovely garden centre and I fell in love with some of their offerings in the housey section.  I did not buy (£40 for 3 boxes) but I did seriously WANT the following boxes (there are 3 in total).
Lush boxes
I did expect a different J so was a little surprised with this J turned up.  I think I hid it well :-)

3) Making gifts.  For some of my friends, I make an advent box (instead of a big Christmas present).  I find 24 little gifts and wrap them all up.  A little bit of love for the first 24 days of December.  The boxes have a mix of bought gifts, chocolate and handmade lovelies.  So far I have made garlands, brooches and some pictures.  I can't post pics as they may accidentally find this blog.  I do enjoy thinking of things to make them.

4). Cooking.  I have re-started my Weight Watchers.  I lost nearly 2 stone (by March) but have largely ignored it since then.  When we go to NY I want to feel I can go in a lot of different shops and try on any clothes I like.  So part of doing it properly again is to take more responsibility for cooking.

5).  Walking Anni with my parents.  I don't drive so it's nice to go with my parents and discover new walks.  Yesterday we stayed local and I'd have never known that there was so much loveliness so close to home.  Thanks Mum and Dad for showing me new places.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

To do before the end of the year?

I have great plans of things I want/need to do by the end of the year (I love lists) but I am REALLY pathetic at actually getting them finished.  So to try and encourage me, here is my current list.

1. Buy a frame for some gorgeous cards that my lovely hubby bought me.  I have a plan to frame my favourite 6.  It started out with my favourite 3, but then he sent me more so I had to think again and now I need to frame 6 (this may change!).  I was thinking of framing 3 together and then putting them above my craft desk when we move.  Which are your favourites?

Selection of cards
2. Sort through all my clothes and bin/charity shop as much as possible so I have a core wardrobe of things I love.  Hubby - I may need to buy new clothes to make this happen!

3. Send 5 books per month to the charity shop.

4. Sort through kitchen cupboards and only keep useful stuff!

5. Sort through craft gubbings and donate spare to other crafters - do you want any?

6. Make Birthday rosettes for up and coming birthdays (I need, 1 for a 6 year old and at least 2 for 40 year olds- shush don't tell them).

7. Learn how to crochet - I have learnt some of the basic stitches but I don't know where to put the hook to make the stitches (are they called stitches?)

8. Save £200 to spend in New York (deadline Spring 2014)- this will prove difficult as I a not currently working.

9. Cook/bake one new recipe per week.  I love baking but am not a confident cook.  I can do basic stuff but then I always forget to season things.  (fingers crossed the lamb and sweet potato stew works tomorrow - I don't usually use lamb and have never cooked sweet potato).

10.  Try and help Anni become less nervous of people.

11. Sending off a gorgeous photo that my hubby has stitched together to be printed and framed.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Things making me HAPPY this week

1) We've done it.  We've put the deposit down for 4 nights in New York.  When I went with my Mum in November 2012 I fell in love with NY.  As soon as I got home I wanted to go back with my hubby. And we will - lots of planning on travelling with a wheelchair but I am eager to get on with it so we have loads to look forward to.

Freedom Tower

2) Remembering childhood.  I loved riding these when I was little.  I did enjoy having a ride yesterday, even if we were the oldest ones on the ride!

3) She always makes me happy! Woof

Anni B
4) I love this programme and a new series starts tonight.  I am looking to all the up and downs for the next how ever any weeks.  I don't like cooking myself but I am addicted to this programme.  Funnily enough I don't like the English version!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Scream if you want to go faster.................

N decided that to celebrate her 40th she wanted to relive her youth and go on a roller coaster.  We don't live near any roller coasters so we set off to Cleethorpes, on the East coast of England, on an overcast, cold day.  I HATE most rides so was not looking forward to this in the slightest.  D, N, V and I headed in to see this.  V and I passed (i may have made the mistake of being slightly hungover).

We survived!
Nope not going on that one either

When I was a little girl there was one ride which I absolutely loved - have you got a favourite?  Mine was the Carousel.  Did you take ages picking the perfect horse?  I did, I watched and watched until the right one was in sight and then I pounced.  I was not quick enough off the mark today to pick the one named after my hubby - well I could hardly push a small child off of said horse (though I admit I did consider it for a small moment!)

Carousel horse
One thing I am never sure of is animals in amusement parks.  I am sure this Sealion is well looked after, he wasn't behaving as perfectly as he should have been and they were having great fun is perfecting his technique.

Californian Sealion

N and D finally plucked up the courage to go on one last ride.   They kept glancing at it from the time we got into the park but it remained the last ride they went on.   V & I chickened out but I can live with that.
Yes, N and D are at the top there
I was brought up to think that it was law to have an ice cream at the seaside so as not to shock anyone, I thought I 'd best take a shot as evidence!!!!!  Some people have questioned my ability to eat ice cream when it is cold......

I did ask N to wear her 40 badge today.  Unfortunately it had a small accident where it went through the washing machine and the number "40" fell off.  I could have been suspicious but thought I'd let her off since we were celebrating her big day!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Books, books, books

I love reading.  I'll try almost anything- I don't usually read sci-fi but I will try anything else.  Whilst I was working I tried to keep an eye on costs by buying from charity shops or A*azon.  I was always in 2 minds with A*azon, it kept costs down but it didn't help book shops.  Nothing beats the feeling of going to a bookshop and buying a new book.  I get so excited just thinking of the new book awaiting in my bag.  I love getting W*terstones vouchers for Christmas and have usually spent them by 28th December!!!

Since I took redundancy at work I've been aware that books costs a little too much - at least in the volume I read them!!!  So when we had a new library built where I live I was so happy.  I'd not been to a library since I was at University.  The one where I live used to be housed in an awful pre-fab building which I walked past regularly with a little shudder.  When a new school was built across the road, a little library was added to the building.  It's a great facility if a little cold.  It's all modern and bright colours inside but I can't help but feel it is not very inviting.  I expected the children's section to be filled with bright displays on different books - something to entice children into wanting to read new books but as far as I can see there is nothing there.

Anyway I am trying to just get a handful of books each visit.  That way I can read and de-clutter some of the books I own.  However, I may be having trouble sticking to it.....  If you want to order a book, it is so easy to do so online - I may have ordered some and they are slowly trickling into the library.  Last Friday I wasn't going to get any but there were 2 waiting for me.  Everyone knows there's no point just getting 2 so I grabbed some more.

Library books
I am currently reading the Nora Roberts and it is fabulous.  I don't usually like hard backed books as they are too heavy but I couldn't wait for the paperback version of this one.  I either like or loath John Grisham, haven't read him for a while so thought I'd try this one.  Debbie Macomber, 8th book in the series, must remember to order the 9th one, so I know it's on it's way and I always try and pick a new author to try (hence the top book).  You never know who you are going to discover this way.

When I started this post I realised that i haven't posted any crafting photos yet, so here's the badge i made N for her Birthday.

I enjoyed making it so much, I have many more on the go for up coming birthdays!!!!  Who wouldn't like a number badge for their big day?????

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Making me HAPPY this week

My hubby says that I don't always look on the bright side of life so earlier this year I decided that once a week I would take time and remember what had made me happy that week.  I did it for months, writing it down in a gorgeous little book (i LOVE stationary).  But then I didn't.  I reckon that from now on my Sunday posts will be my 'making me happy this week" ones.

Making me happy this week;

1) Baking.  I wanted to make my friend N a cake for her 40th.  I was awake in the early hours one day when inspiration hit and here it is.  Can you tell what the surprise element is?

Happy 40th N.
 How about now?
Rainbow cake.
I actually ended up baking 6 cakes.  The first 2 layers (purple and pink) were just cake coloured so I decided to keep going.

2) Anni.  How can anyone not be happy when you have a dog?

Photo taken the first week we got her.  She is rather bigger now.

3) Planning a trip to see......

Lady Liberty
The hubby and I and N hope to book a holiday to NY in 2014 - if we can get a good deal.

4) This fella - always makes me smile (drives me potty too!)

My lovely hubby - you had to be there!

 5) Getting to see my in-law's wedding photos (no pics).  It reminded me of a happy day, already 6 months in the past.

Friday, 6 September 2013

It's raining, it's pouring.............

It's been a lovely day today - no really.  I mean how nice is it to get so wet that your feet are swimming in your shoes.............

The day started with a visit to a fabulous local (ish) farm shop.  We've made the decision to try and support local shops and buy better quality ingredients.  The farm shop is at the top of a big hill, the views over our town are amazing.  But in Winter the journey can be interesting to say the least.

Farm shop in the distance, the car park is usually jammed.
Watching the rain
The farm shop also has a fabulous butty stall.  If we've been really good then we treat ourselves to a hot sandwich and sit in the car park to enjoy them.  Sorry I forgot to take a before shot!

Sausage and mushroom sarnie. 

Hubby enjoying sarnie!
 This afternoon we popped into a local high street to price up a holiday.  It was absolutely belting it down.  By the time I'd gotten the wheelchair out of the car I was soaked through.  I'd forgotten the joys of Autumn!  We got soaked and no holiday - Grrrrrrrrr.

Then home and we've spent over 2 hours trying to find a great deal on a trip to New York.  It'd be easy if it were just the hubby and me but our friend N wants to go and 3 travellers puts the price up tremendously.  Ah well, guess we'll just have to keep looking.

Anni has been very playful tonight.  She goes through stages of wanting lots of attention and other stages of wanting to be left alone to sleep.

Ah I'm not getting enough attention - pleeeeeeease.

Ah I'm gorgeous!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Do you take photos?

I took the camera into Leeds yesterday.  I had intended on taking lots of photos to put on here but the camera battery was nearly dead so I carried it round for nothing!  I have hidden the lead for the camera to the computer but didn't think to hide the battery charger so I'll be trying to find that this weekend.  It drives me mad that nothing is every put away.  Personally I may be messy (my Mum would say definitely but I do know where most things are).  The hubby on the other hand is usually tidier than me but has no idea where he's put things.

I am hopeless with taking photos.  I usually only think of taking the camera in my bag if we're on holiday.  I am hoping to get into the habit of having the camera on me more often so if I see something which makes my heart sing I can take a photo, not sure how long it will take me to make it habit but I guess I just have to try - once I have charged the battery of course!!!  I do have a camera on my phone but I'm never happy with the quality of pictures.

Ok, I did manage 2 photos.  It was a gloriously warm day.  The photo below is of the Council Building.  I have fond memories of this building as I remember going to see a display of wedding presents from the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana there.  The present i remember most is of  handmade bride and groom mice (well I think I was 7 years old at the time).  I remember an enormous queue of people waiting to go in and my Mum not wanting to wait but I was desperate to go in.
Leeds Council Building

Close up of one of the gorgeous clocks

 Tonight I am off to my new sister in laws to see the wedding album and I am very excited to have a look.

Hubby and I at the wedding.