Sunday, August 30, 2009

<3 saturdays, sunshine and sketching

getting out of the house

I have spent all summer promising myself that I will get out and do some art outdoors. Today was the day I finally managed it. It cleared my head and made my soul feel good. I don't like it when it's too hot, but as we approach autumn the weather is perfect and I love it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Use sparingly


Yes, as you can see from my last photo, I have many jars of Primas. I do use them, honest - but at the rate of about two per layout (as on this page), I think these bottles are going to last me a long time!

The last couple of weeks have been quite hard as I am battling with some extreme tiredness. I have always loved naps, but lately it has become ridiculous. Last week I tried to give blood (I have a special blood group and they need it) but I was too anaemic. So, I am trying to eat more green things to boost my iron levels, and I've been for some more blood tests. The results will be due in a couple of weeks and I'm trying not to think about it until then.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to the long weekend and then a busy month ahead. I am very excited to be doing
this class again. It'll be the third year I've done it and the other two albums are some of my favourite work. September 08 was a very painful month, but I am looking forward to reclaiming it this year!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Old + new = crafting goodness

scrapbooking my gran

I have been using my lack of scrapping lately to justify buying lots of new things. After all, I need new things to feel inspired, don't I? But this page uses one of the first pieces of 12x12 I ever bought (the dark green) alongside one of the newest pieces. And a lot of other stuff thrown on as well. The self-adhesive paper lace is still a favourite, and the only scrapbook product I have ever bought more than once.

Life has really slowed down this weekend as I have done my best to relax and prepare myself for a busy week ahead. My holiday wasn't nearly long enough.

Thursday, August 20, 2009



After eight months, six assignments and one presentation, my management course at work is over. We've all passed and everyone is moving on. It's been great fun, but I'm pleased to have reached the end and be ready to start something new.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good times, good times

The last few days have been so much fun. On Thursday, Mindy abandoned her duties at the shop and came with me on a 120-mile round trip to tour craft shops of the south. We got an early ferry, and managed to visit Farnborough, Alton and Winchester. In between the craft shops (which were all great) we managed one pub lunch and tea + cupcakes. There were some definite bargains, and some things that were best left untouched (who stores their paper in a damp basement?)

Friday I had all good intentions of writing the presentation for my final assignment, tidying, washing and generally making the house super-presentable for my weekend guest. It didn't quite work out as I planned but at least Lucy had somewhere to sleep.

And then this weekend has been a blur of food, laughter, music and more photos than I can count...we had a fabulous time at the Garlic Festival, a great meal with good music, visited the prettiest village, shopped till we dropped, and enjoyed a lovely cream tea and some fantastic views.

I think I've done myself justice this holiday. I have done the things that needed doing, and relaxed in between. Looking back a few posts, I wanted to:
  • Finish my assignment for my management course - well, it's nearly there. I've drafted it but it still needs working on.
  • Sign up for my next OU course - I've phoned and reserved my place....waiting for the forms now.
  • Scrapbook - yes, there's been some action on that nice clean and tidy craft table. Photos to share later in the week (when I am stuck in the office and can't go out to take pretty pictures).
  • Create some pieces for the house - hasn't worked out how I thought it would, but it's still happening. I have lots of photo frames and some great photos - so my challenge is to combine the two to create a great wall display without actually spending any money.
  • Spend time with Mindy - the last couple of weeks have been all about the people I've spent them with, and Mindy has been adorable, as always. She's also great help with my next knitting project!

Next week will bring its own challenges, as I go back to work (dreading it) and do my final presentation on Wednesday (I scored myself 9 out of 10 for confidence. Can I live up to it?). On the plus side, choir gets back together tomorrow. On balance? Good times ;-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cleaning up and clearing out

This wasn't on my to-do list, but I figured it was as good a time as any to have a clear out. I love the space I have for working in, and this photo is just a little corner of it. Right now my desk is clear, clean and tidy and it's such an inspiring place to work. Having everything right where I need it, in full sight but tidy - perfect.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday success

This morning I got up early and wrote a list of all the things I want to get done in my week off. Not just the things in my previous post (although they are still true) but other things around the house and in my craft room.
First on the list was to finish the cardigan I started knitting a few months ago. Knitting is a relatively new hobby for me; although I first learnt to knit as a very young child, this is the first time I have ever really done it seriously. Mindy has been my inspiration and her choice of yarns and patterns means I have plenty to choose from. I started knitting really because I needed a different hobby to keep me occupied, and this is the first item of clothing I've ever made:

"Pleased" doesn't really do justice to how I feel. I'm absolutely thrilled!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Good intentions

So, Daniel has gone home and I have the house to myself again. It feels very quiet without him. Morpheus has come back inside though, I think he had his nose seriously put out of joint this week.

I still have a week before I go back to work and have all good intentions of making the most of it. I have been feeling quite creative lately and there's a lot I want to do:
  • Do my final assignment for my management course. It's a powerpoint presentation, so hopefully I can be creative with this too. The course itself has been interesting, but I'm glad it's coming to an end. Mainly, so I can...
  • Sign up for my next OU course. I had a break from OU study this academic year, for a lot of reasons. I really enjoyed the course I took in 07/08 but felt like it was too much pressure alongside work, and it put a lot of pressure on my relationship. So much has changed since then that I've been able to reassess things. This year for the first time ever I have set myself some goals - some short term, some longer term, and one of those is to continue and complete my degree. It is my most important aim right now.
  • Alongside academia, I have re-discovered my creativity and as well as scrapbooking again I have started to look at painting and other crafts. I feel so inspired by the magazines and websites that I see, and really want to use that feeling to create my own work...
  • ...Because I also want that inspiration to help me create some pieces for the house. Specifically big, beautiful canvasses. The home I am living in right now feels very 'me' in many ways, but I also want it to reflect my creativity. At the moment, most of what I create is in books, journals and albums (or, indeed, online). My aim is to make sure that as soon as you walk through the front door, you can recognise my style.
  • I'm hoping that I'll get some ideas for artwork on a few outings next week, including some time with Mindy. It's easy to get absorbed in my own work and challenges, but sometimes a step away from the studio can bring huge rewards. And it's always fun spending time with my sister :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Days 5 + 6

Wednesday is Pirate Day at Blackgang Chine, so that's where we went. Daniel took it very seriously and insisted on taking the map (early male-pattern dominance emerging already). We visited every single attraction, went on every single ride, and I was totally and utterly exhausted by the end of the day. It's completely worth it because you get a different perspective visiting places like this with a child. To him it's exciting and magical and everything is fun, and that rubs off.
There were even real pirates. In actual costume. With long hair and beards and everything ;)
We stayed right until the end and watched the firework display (my firework photos have improved so much lately). It was a very long day, and a very late night for Daniel, but he really enjoyed it. And so did I.
On the way back, he said "Kate, what were you born to do?" And I'm thinking, what kind of question is that for a five year old? What was I born to do? Has he somehow stumbled on my deepest inner fears, that maybe there is no purpose to my life except to be happy? And while I'm trying to put all this into some kind of answer that will make sense without being too deep, he says "I was born to be a fireman."
This morning he was up late, and I would have been quite happy staying in all day. But no, Daniel has a schedule and he's sticking to it. Today was crazy golf. His technique left a little to be desired, being more like hockey than actual golf, and he dragged the ball across to the hole. Even so, he did actually manage to get a legitimate hole-in-one which made him a bit of a mini-celebrity with the other people playing (I heard the boy behind us announce to another group of people, "That boy got a hole-in-one" in an awed tone).

And we ended the day in the dinosaur museum. I've been here before, many years ago, and was all prepared for it to last about 30 minutes before he got bored. I was pleasantly surprised at how long it actually lasted. He loved all of the exhibits and seemed to have a great time.
Daniel goes home tomorrow and I am going to miss him. He's a great kid, and really quite easy to look after because he speaks up for himself. I don't have to guess if he's hungry or thirsty, he tells me. He's really good at going to bed. He gets really involved in all the activities we do, and hasn't complained or got miserable about anything. I've loved seeing things through a child's eyes, instead of as a (jaded) adult, and I've enjoyed seeing parts of the Island that I don't normally visit. I can definitely recommend borrowing someone else's child for a fresh look at life.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Day 3 + 4

Yesterday was exhausting, in a we've-done-so-much-I-can't-move kinda way. We went to see Vikki and her son Harrison, walked down to the park and fed the ducks. Daniel insisted on wearing a long-sleeved top and jeans, so when we got to the beach he was a bit over-dressed. We rolled their trousers up and told them to paddle...I think they look like two little old men in this photo. All they need is a knotted hanky on their heads and they'd be sorted. The jumping over waves didn't last long, and eventually they both came back soaked and covered in sand. I don't remember being this messy as a child, but I think boys are different :)

And today has been a completely different pace...a slow morning, indoors in the rain. We met Daniel's cousin for lunch, and then went to the cinema to see G-Force 3D. The cinema staff decided to search my bag and take my camera (because obviously, snapshots of a 3D film would work so well) but fortunately didn't see my stash of illicit sweets. Hah. Which reminds me, I feel a letter to Cineworld coming on. I understand their policy, but asking me to hand over my camera without giving me any kind of receipt?
Daniel has been working on this kit for a fire truck...I thought that as he's a bright kid, something labelled '6+' would be fine. I'm not sure where the age rating comes from, but I definitely felt stupid trying to put it together! But he's thrilled to bits with it, and we'll finish it tomorrow.
We had his "best moment" today when Morph came in for food and Daniel managed to actually see him. He's been dying to meet my cat all week, but unfortunately Morpheus is absolutely terrified of him. Today we managed to coax him in for dinner, but he ran off after a few mouthfuls. I'd love to let Daniel stroke him, but I don't think it's going to happen somehow...I still have the scars from last time Morph met a small human.
Lessons learned: Always take spare clothes, and if you let a kid decide what to wear, it will be wrong. Sand washes off, but I will be finding it in the carpet for months. Tidying up is more trouble than it's worth. Don't pop into work on your day off unless you can bear to be reminded of what you've left behind!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Day 2

It feels like I am saying this so often lately, but: I can't believe I haven't been here before. Well, not here exactly, because I have been to Appley, but Appley Tower. A lovely, quirky little building with great views of the beach. Perfect photo op :)

Day two of my adventures with Daniel has seen us at the beach, on the pedaloes on the canoe lake, walking miles across the seafront and spending hours in the playground. It's been huge fun and I love the different perspective that you get from going to places with a kid. Also he is very funny. New respect, though, for actual parents who do this on a regular basis. How on earth do you cope? And are they ever quiet??

Lessons from today: picnics do not need to be as big as you think, small boys are not the best pilots for pedaloes, and it is perfectly acceptable to say "I don't know, ask your mum when you get home".

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Adventures with Daniel: day one

So when I said I had two weeks off in the summer and didn't know what I was going to do, Anna said I could borrow her youngest for a week. I think I surprised her when I said yes!
So far I have learned: Tescos is easier without a small boy in tow (but it can be done), the power of 'no', introducing small boys to nervous cats is hard (I haven't seen Morpheus all night), and all my balloon models look the same.