Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Felt Softie - Russian Doll -OPAM January

I have managed to sneak in an OPAM make for January and had fun making this cute Russian Doll felt softie.
I found this small kit when I took Sophie to Hobbycraft in Truro last weekend.  I bought a small bird version for a student at work who volunteered to help out at Options Evening last week.  As a Textiles Art student I thought a making gift would be a good idea.
There were 25 pieces in this kit and the only bit that I did not like were the blue Hamar beads so I changed them to some blue seed beads that I had.
She went together very well and was the ideal activity to do whilst watching "Call the Midwife" on BBC 1.  The kit overall was good value for £2.99.  She is meant to hang up but I could not think where to put her.  Would using her as a pincushion be alright do you think?
I have another felty item cut out but I think that will have to wait until February.
Take care

Saturday, 26 January 2013

OPAM 2013

I have been able to sign up for OPAM 2013 again this year.
I find this group an excellent motivator to finish projects started that are pushed to the back of a cupboard.  Or to start a project for which I bought fabric for months and months ago.  Or maybe to start something completely new.
However my first challenge is not the sewing and finishing......it will be to get my blog to accept the above badge so that the counter will automatically go up when Peg at Happy in Quilting updates the totals each month.  It just keeps saying invalid URL. I have been having problems with Blogger for sometime but I will give it another go tomorrow.
If you like the sound of OPAM then quickly pop over to Happy in Quilting and leave a comment for Peg.
Take care and enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Update:  A lucky email from Peg and a small glass of wine and hey presto!  Badge now in side bar.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Jamaica Inn - Sunday Outdoors.

I started sneezing really badly on Friday and having been working with a trainee with a stinking cold for the past two weeks it was obvious that I was going to catch it.  Friday evening I felt awful and I will confess to not getting up Saturday until lunch time.  So today we decided to go out for a few hours and begin Sophie's latest homework on Rivers.
She was not sure where to start so we suggested that we find the beginning of the Fowey river and take some pictures over a period of a few miles.
We reached the edge of Bolventor and turned off on to Bodmin moor and the temperature was zero!  We got out and for someone with a cold and a dodgey hip we actually walked along one of the roughest tracks I have ever seen.  We reached a ford and the water was flowing really fast and we could go no longer.
Sophie took some pictures to start of her travel along the Fowey river.

It was not long before I could not feel my face or indeed my fingers, legs or ears!  We walk or in my case staggered back to my car and got back in.  We found that the temperature was now -1 degrees!

We decided to go back on to the small road and follow the river as far as we could and Sophie would take pictures along the way.

We drove on for several miles and seeing as it was lunch time we decided to stop and carry on another day.
Earlier in the week we thought that Sunday lunch out would be nice.  We have not done this for years!
We were so close to Jamaica Inn we thought we would pop in and have lunch there.
I read Jamaica Inn by Daphne De Maurier a long time ago and loved it, could not put it down.  So the chance to visit the Inn could not be passed up.  The sun had come out by this time and it was turning into a lovely day.
There is a hotel attached should you like to stay and find out if it really is haunted or not.
A couple of my students some years ago stay over night and did not actually see anything but they left a necklace on a dressing table and found it on top of a chest of drawers the following morning.  Haunted?  Even they were not completely sure.
There is a gift shop on sight which seemed to have an unusual collection of items some having nothing to do with Cornwall at all.
 Sorry this picture has its own ideas.
But I bought a couple of postcards and I shall send one to my Mum.
We then hoped back in the car and drove home where I promptly fell asleep for three hours!
This cold has been quick and fierce with little strength left for anything, but I hope a good nights sleep will sort me out.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Christmas Cruise - Birthday in Bruges - Part 2

Sorry it has been nearly a week since my last post about my lovely Christmas cruise but things have been really busy and even switching on my Netbook has taken a back seat.
Our first full day was 23rd December which also happened to be my Birthday so I had the choice of what to do and I really wanted to visit Bruges.
We were taken by coach from the harbour and with a guide on board who is a local to Bruges and was very informative.  Lovely sense of humour and did not stride out so that you had a job keeping up.  We walked over the above bridge which is called Lovers bridge and it is said that if you throw a coin in true love will find you.  On the way back my hubby threw in a coin and the guide commented on this then he really laughed when hubby said that we was already married but you  never know!  Such a comedian!
It was so quiet and there was no one about.
We were told that Bruges is well known for its hand made lace which is very expensive.  There are many reproductions from China but after using my textiles and experience (plus crossing my fingers) I did buy a small piece which I shall show you in my holiday art journal another time.  The above picture is taken of the window display.
There are many chocolate shops and speciality Christmas shops which Sophie adored.  We spent ages in this one and bought a few items for our tree when we got home and for many Christmas' to come.
Lots to look at , many very unusual items.  Not cheap plastic either, instead wooden or metal.
In the centre was a large ice rink and gorgeous trees all decorated with lights and crystal looking covering/painted?
Sophie took this picture through the fencing.
We moved on through and reached a section of Bruges called Burg.
There are some lovely building here such as the one shown above.
 This is the Town Hall.  This is only a small section of what is a large building.
We walked through the archway that you can see.
We had a lovely walk round despite the drizzly weather.
This area is near the lace shop that I bought my small sample.
First road sign that I saw.
We turned a corner to see loads of people taking pictures of a wall.  On closer inspection it was a wall of......
.....wine and beer bottles.  it reminded me of the shop windows of sewing machines.
We sampled the Bruges chips which are suppose to be special, but I am afraid that my local chippy was much better, but still a welcome snack on a very cold day.
We then visited another fabulous Christmas shop, this one had a cellar which was fantastic and this picture does not really do it justice.
Seeing as it was my birthday and we were getting a little tired from our walking around I decided that a warm sit down and pudding to our chips could a waffle with a hot chocolate.
Oh....it was so lovely.  Much better than the waffles that we buy in the Uk.
We then walked back to the coach meeting place and on the way we bought some chocolates as gifts.  So many chocolate shops and so many to choose from.
We then had the chance to really dress up for dinner and I had a lovely restaurant meal and to top it all hubby had organised a cake to be made and then the waiters all came and sang happy birthday.  there were balloons above the table and I could see that there were at least two other people in the restaurant also celebrating a birthday.  We then went off for the evening to listen to music and to the singer Jimmy James.
I was very lucky in that I was given a Kindle, which I have used a lot, and a new watch which you can add charm beads to.
 It was a brilliant day and definitely one of the very best birthdays that I have had.  This has been rather a long post but we intended to make the most of it and believe it or not I have left quite a bit out.
What did we do next?  Another time.
Take care and keep warm.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Christmas Cruise Part 1

Now that my blogger issues seem to have sorted themselves out and I can add pictures I would like to try and show you all our trip over Christmas.  If you have never tried a cruise before it may be a holiday option that you could consider.
The beginning:
It all started about 16 months ago when my in-laws suggested that we all go on a Christmas trip.  We were flabbergasted when we were told where and despite offering pay our way were told no it was on them!!
Little did I know that a few days later I would have a very upsetting phone call and four months later my Dad would pass away from Cancer in September 2011, so I was very torn between Mum and going away in 2012.  The intention was for my parents to come to Cornwall for Christmas 2011 but everything happened so quickly we never even had the chance to offer this.
Christmas 2012
I finished work at 1pm on 21st December and we drove to Southampton and stayed overnight in a hotel.  The reason for doing this is that the weather can be bad with either snow or flooding and we wanted to make sure we got to the ship in time.  The hotel is about 5 mins from the cruise port as they have their own area of the harbour, due to their size I should think.
Boarding the ship was very calm and the only awkward thing is having to take so many items off to go through the scanner.  I realise it is for our own protection and normally I do not mind but in the winter you tend to wear more in the first place.
So I struggled back into my fleece top to then be asked by a P&O photographer if we wanted an embarking picture!  We did it but when we saw it later we all looked like we had just got out of bed and dressed without brushing our hair, so we did not buy that pic.
The cabin was much bigger than we were expecting and plenty of room for three.  Sophie had the upper bunk and even a pink duvet cover!  A lovely large window and it was so clean.
Lots of information, you always knew what was going on and which activities were taking place.
Once we had unpacked it was about 4pm so we decided to spend the time until our dinner sitting at 6.30pm exploring the ship.  Of course we took our cameras with us.
How about this for a Christmas Tree!  We were on level 5 and I am looking over a balcony to level 4.  You should have seen the look on Sophie's face, it was a picture.  It was not real but I would have liked to have seen them bringing it into the ship.
This picture gives you the three levels and is in the centre of the ship.  It is all very large and is quite difficult to get into a picture.  The long bit in the middle is one of  several lifts and is large enough to turn a wheel chair and accommodate quite a few people with a glass panel so that you can see the levels as you go up and down.  The Christmas tree would be on your right as you look at this picture.
The sweeping stair case is mirrored on the other side is is where I was stood when I took the picture above this one.
This is the ceiling and you can see the two lift shafts.  It was amazing and goes up to level 6 and I am standing by the Christmas tree to take this.
This shows a ceiling which is just underneath the balcony above.  It is tricky to describe but it is split level but open as well.  It was beautiful really as on the outside of the ship you would never have thought that this was what it would look like inside.
The tables by the tree would have a display.  Up the stairs were two shops selling books , souvenirs, watches, jewellery, makeup etc.  So you could buy a really nice present but some of it was veeeerrryy expensive.  Our cabin was up the first set of stairs where Father Christmas is and round to your right.
So we did not have to walk very far to the restaurant, just as well with a painful hip.
Our meal was excellent and exceeded our groups expectations!!  This is my desert and typical of the standard all week.  There must have been at least 500 people in the restaurant, although it felt much much smaller yet everything was like this and there was a choice.  It just proved that large scale catering can be done brilliantly if tried.  I take my hat off P&O in this area as I have had some awful restaurant food in my time and I  do not think I am  a fussy eater.
Many people were taking picture so their plates, it was quite funny to watch but everyone was so impressed.
Each night had a different dress code and the first night was casual but no jeans or trainers.  It was fun to dress differently during the week and basically make an effort.

 On our way back to the cabin to get the intinery sheets for the evening we saw the chefs setting up the display by the Christmas tree.
They were constructing the most impressive Ginger bread village I have ever seen!
 There were so many of them and decorated with everything you could think of.  It was for display only and despite one collapse it remained in place perfectly all week.  They used green spray and spread on white icing over fabric to build up the snow.  Someone said that they wondered if they had had a children's craft lesson as passengers had been boarding since 11am but we never actually found out if this was the case.  Whoever made them they made an excellent display.
We then went and watched a show in the starlight theatre put on by the ships entertainment and it was excellent.
The first few hours promised that the rest of the week would be very exciting.
Back with more hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Kindle Reads - First Book Finished!!

Where has this week gone?
Last Sunday morning I was lucky enough to spend a hour or so reading in bed with a cup of tea.....bliss.  Sophie was in her room reading and Hubby was in the office working on his design commission.
So, for the first time is goodness how long I have managed to complete a book during  a school holiday.  It was a very pleasant and easy read, covering the lives of three women, their careers, family and the trials of life generally.  May not have you on the edge of your seat as such but a lovely "cosy" book for the dark (and wet) Christmas evenings.
I then discovered that this is in fact the second book of two and some of the character history may have made more sense if I had read the first one.  When I looked at the write up on Amazon it made no reference to there being two books.  Oh well never mind I suppose.
The next one on my kindle is..........
A new author for me and more of a thriller than country village style.  I am now on chapter two and it is going well.  Has anyone else read this?
I am going to update my Books Read tab at the top of the blog so that all of the books are together and I am setting up a "Kindle Reads" tab so that yo can use the search button.
I love my kindle and it has worked so well.  
At school we are going to have an Extreme Reading event to promote reading in a positive way.
My contribution will be revealed tomorrow and I thought that you might like to join in.  More on that tomorrow as it is late again and already one of my resolutions has been dashed.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Cosy Funky Feet!!

A few months ago my daughter talked me into buying the above because she had outgrown her slippers.  Now that we have wooden flooring, in the winter you do need something on your feet even if it is just very thick socks.
I will be honest I  was not entirely sure but Sophie has worn them constantly ever since.  So when I discovered that I had not spent the Accessorize gift card that I had from last years birthday I wondered.........  This gift card had been sat in my purse hidden behind some other cards and I had completely forgotten about it it!  How I managed that I am not sure but I did, I found it whilst sorting my purse out to go on the cruise as I did not want to take everything.

So when we went into Truro last weekend I went into accessorize still wondering.  I had been on their website the night before but any slipper items were not in my size so I thought may be something else.  I make many of my own accessories so this gift card was actually hard to spend which is possibly why it had been in my purse for so long.
So, to the back of the shop I went and in the middle of this pile of slippers (they do not hang up very easily) I found these.....
Less fur and pom pom -  more knit and pattern.
They are for indoors only so I need to remember to swap shoes as my freezer is in the garage and they are reeeeeeallllly comfortable.  I like socks on as well but my feet are not over heating and if I could wear them in bed I would!!  Sophie thinks they are great and hubby helped me choose and said they looked ideal.
They are lined and have an anti-slip sole and I love 'em.  So I have been converted and Sophie thinks it great that we both have slipper boots.
Friends popped round for belated gift exchanges due to us being away over the holidays, and they never commented on them so they must not look silly on me.  They are so comfy though without being bulky.  I have found many conventional slippers rather stiff and over spongy, so these are ideal.  We laugh at getting socks or slippers for Christmas or birthday..... but not this time.
Does anyone else have a pair of these?

Help!!! More blogger problems

Well, all has been well for a few weeks but now I am unable to "browse" my pictures to upload them to my posts.  The button function to do this is not there.  Just the selected and cancel button.  I have carried out a system restore which usually sorts out Bloggers little hic-cups but this time it has not worked.

Been having problems since Thursday hence no posts.  It was ok before Thursday.
Any ideas?
I am about to go back to work so having even a small cliche is not very helpful as my attention is distracted anyway.
I am not over techicy so any really simple advice which is idiot proof would be appreciated so that this idiot can sort this out.  I have loads of Cruise holiday pics to show.  If Blogger keep doing this then I may have to swap to something else to have run my Blog.  I have been with blogger since 2007 and I like to stick with what I know, but honestly, there is nearly something every month at the moment and this laptop is only about 2 years old, if that.
Got friends popping round for tea and cake and a catch up so I shall be back later this afternoon.
Best wishes
PS Update - I think..........I think I may have sorted it out.  off to try out a post to see.......

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Kindle Joy!

When my hubby asked me what I would like for my Birthday and Christmas (both are within 48 hours!) I quickly said "A kindle please, love" and he said ok!  I have been thinking about an e-reader for a couple of years now and asked those I know that use one what they think etc and they all had positive things to say.
I went for a cover that looks a bit like an i-Pad, not very inspiring but it is strong.  Might change this as time goes on.  Anyway, I asked around as to which one would be good to get and I was very surprised when Hubby said what about the Kindle HD!  Nearly fainted but then he said that the i-pad that I use belongs to work and I may have to hand it in at any time and this does work just as well as an i-pad.  It links to the Internet, I have uploaded a few books.
I did invest in a pen which makes playing Mahong much easier to do.  I do wish I could add my own wall paper but it seems that Amazon have prevented this but I did pay an extra £10 not to be bombarded with adverts every time I switched it on.

At the moment I am reading this book which is by an author I have not looked at before and I wanted something with a Christmas theme and to download it before I went away.  It only cost a few pounds and I have been really enjoying it.  Easy to read.
I also uploaded this book by an author which I have read for years.  Luckily it was not the same as the book that my Mum sent me for Christmas phew!  I have not started this one yet.
I have also added a few games and I love Mahong, really gets you thinking and dreadfully addictive, very easy to play and I can leave it mid-game and come back to it any time.
Sorry this pic is a bit dark but it is a dreadful day here in Cornwall!  It is really easy to use, not very heavy at all despite some of the reviews on Amazon.  Ideal for reading in bed and fits in the smallest bag that I happen to own.  My kindle is capable of doing much more but this is as far as I have got with it before I went away.
I have added a handy app which lets me know what the power level is which I found via a review left on Amazon Kindle which has proven to be very useful.  I was astonished at how many e-readers of different types were being used by all ages on the cruise ship we went on last week.
It is brilliant and I love it.  Hopefully less books around the house although I will always like the physical holding of a book plus art and textiles books need to be actual books, but the Kindle is useful in other ways and there will always be room for both in my house.
So...does anyone reading here have an e-reader?  What do you think to them and can you recommend any Apps or kindle books as my friend kindly sent me a kindle voucher which is burning a hole in my Amazon account.  I had thought of a Zentagle book to take away on my next trip?
Any ideas then please leave a comment as I am sure others would love to learn more.
I did wonder about a camera or music app?
Anyway, Sophie has a friend over for the day and I have been able to do some work for the day job and I best get back to it as we will need to take the decorations down once her friend goes home.  Pity but Christmas is now over for another year.
Take care all.
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