Thursday, 29 December 2011

One Little Word 2012

So, I've been thinking about Ali Edward's 'One Little Word' so decided to check back through the archives to see what my word was for 2011 - only to find I didn't have one! The last (and first) word I set was for 2010 and was ORGANISE

Once again, I've been toying with a few words .... Peace, Calm, Live, Family ... or maybe even DECIDE!

Earlier this month I had a bit of a health scare - I found a lump in one of my 'girls' so dutifully went along to the Drs to get it checked out. After a course of antibiotics, it was still there so I went back, and was referred to the Breast Cancer Clinic at the hospital. After an agonising 10 days waiting for the appointment, I finally had a mamogram which THANKFULLY came back as normal. Speaking to the consultant, it turns out I have naturally lumpy boobies, which are just fat lumps. Oh the relief!

It may sound strange, but I really feel I've been given a second chance with my life, and have decided it's about time I LIVE my life rather than just EXIST in it.

So ..... my One Little Word for 2012 really needs to be LIVE!

Now I just need to decide whether to sign up for Ali's One Little Word class at BPS ;-)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

I've Discovered Picnik

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded Picasa 3 to my netbook, so I could try and organise my ever growing collection of photographs. As I only have PSE on disc, and no disc drive on the netbook, I've not been able to install that yet, so thought I'd give the Picasa editing feature a go. But, I couldn't find any way to layer photos.

I found an article by Shimelle (via the Blogging For Scrappers class I took in 2009) about various online editing suites, and one of those was Picnik. So I decided, as that was linked to Picasa, to give it a try - paid for the premium membership for a year, and had a play with the photo overlays for Project 365.

I'm quite pleased with what I produced (ok, so it's not that difficult really, but when you're as technically challenged as I am, it can take a bit of playing to master) - I just need to find a way to separate the date stamps as all the numbers for the relevant month are on one sheet. But as it's now 1.20am, I may leave that till the morning!

So, here is my first layered photo via Picnik!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Eve!

Well, Christmas Eve didn't go quite to plan!

Being a Saturday, Ian was supposed to be at home so I'd planned a family day:-

1) Make a Gingerbread House with the boys
2) Watch a Christmas Movie or two
3) Walk in the park for some great photo opportunities
4) Family dinner round the table
5) Midnight Carol Service at church

It all started going wrong when Ian announced a few days before that he would have to go into work during the morning - not a happy bunny, but he couldn't leave one guy on his own to take in all the deliveries for the hotel. There go numbers 2 & 3.

The decorating had not gone as well as we'd hoped, so the dining room table is still in the garage - there goes number 4.

It got to around 3pm and I was getting .... shall we say a little impatient as Ian was still not home. So, I gave him a ring at work .... thankfully, there was no answer so at least he was on his way. So, I try the mobile, and after only a couple of rings he answers. The conversation went something like this:-

Me: Hiya, just wondering where you are?
Ian: In Crayford.
Me: Great - you won't be long so we'll wait to decorate the gingerbread house. Have you stopped for anything, or just to answer the phone?
Ian: Well, you could say I've stopped, yes.
Me: {{pause}} Oookkk - what does that mean?
Ian: I've come off the bike!
Me: What do you mean, you've come off the bike? Are you ok?
Ian: Sort of - I'll be home in a few minutes.

As you can imagine, as soon as the bike pulled onto the drive I had the door open to see if he was OK. The look on his face as he got off the bike said it all - Ian doesn't really do 'hurt' but you could see the pain in his eyes.

So, after a quick phone call to Dad, the boys were whisked away and we were in the car on the way to A&E.

What happened??? He was driving up the hill behind a Fiesta van, about 1/2 mile from home when the car in front of said van decided to brake suddenly and turn right without warning. Said van slams on his brakes and Ian, thinking to himself 'that van's getting a bit close' brakes as well. The front wheel locks up, slides out and Ian is heading for the floor - at this point he decides that the best thing would be for him to GET OFF the bike, which he does and the bike slides on it's side for another 4 or 5 feet into the back of the van. THANKFULLY nothing was behind him, otherwise it could have been a lot worse!

The guy in the car has now disappeared round the back of the shops, never to be seen again! The guy in the van gets out, helps Ian pick up the bike (which being the good biker that he is, Ian has already crawled up the road to turn off the engine), and then looks at Ian as if he has lost his marbles while he calmly answers the phone to me and tells me that he's come off the bike lol. After deciding between them that it's not worth involving insurance companies, Ian then proceeded to ride the bike (albeit with a broken headlamp which surprisingly still worked - well, it is an ex-Police BMW) home.

The upshot of our 2 hour visit to A&E was that he has chipped a bone by the knuckle of his left pinkie, for which he has to wear strapping until he sees the Orthopods at the fracture clinic on the 4th Jan, has grazed his left knee, bruised his shoulder where it hit the floor ... and then the nurse added to his pain by sticking a flipping great tetanus injection into his left butt cheek! But he was an absolute trooper and didn't cry once lol.

So .... after all that excitement we were both knackered, and there go numbers 1 & 5!

But on a more serious note, I'm just thankful that he was being watched over, and that he made it home safely .... albeit a little battered and bruised!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

JYC - Traditions

Last year I started a new tradition. It all began with a new, black Christmas Tree - and of course with a new tree HAS to come new decorations.

I decided to go for a red and gold theme, although a bit of green and white also crept in. And the tradition?? Well, I bought a few REALLY nice, special decorations ... and I plan to add to them each year, building up our own family collection.

This year's decorations comprise of three lovely little snow globes - one for James, one for Joe and one for a Special Mum & Dad; a red "faberge" type egg which opens up so you can put a little gift inside (I'm ever hopeful lol); and a large, red message for Santa (about me, of course!).

Next step - to start an album recording our decorations along with their memories - eventually, the boys will be taking some of them with them as they fly the nest and start their own Christmas traditions.

JYC Day 18 - Santa Train

I can't believe I actually managed to keep my Pre-Christmas Surprise under wraps right up until we pulled into the carpark at the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway!

It was an early start - we left at 8am ..... ON A SUNDAY!!! No snow, sadly, but we did have a lot of frost to remove from the car before we could set off.

But as the sun started coming up, the sky turned a beautiful pink .....

The boys didn't even guess when they found out we were going with the Hawkins and the Kings - I was sure one of the kids would have mentioned it over the past couple of weeks.

We arrived at Hythe station just in time to catch The Santa Train - it was a bit drafty, but great fun .... all the way to Dungeness.

Just as we arrived, another train pulled in on the track beside us ... HERE COMES SANTA!

After a brief trip round the railway museum, it was our turn to go and see the big man - through the grotto ....

and into Santa's workshop. James told Santa he wanted a Skateboard for Christmas, and Joe a Nintendo PS3D, pressies, then photoshoot time - even Mummy got in on this one ;-)

Then it was off to the cafe for refreshments - a food goody bag for the kids, and sausage rolls, mince pies and mulled wine for the adults ... YUMM!

After a little bit of soapy snow (Joe learnt the hard way that you can't catch artificial snowflakes on your tongue as they taste gross!), it was back on the train, waves to Santa and back to Hythe.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Creative Color Challenge 2012

I've just signed up to the Creative Color Challenge 2012 over at Louise Gale's blog - on the 1st of each month, Louise will post a colour palette to use for that month's challenge. I thought it was about time I moved away from neutrals or blues in my crafting, so hoping this will help to get my creative tastebuds salivating ;-)

If you want to join me, pop on over to Louise's blog

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Crafty Wish List 2011/2012

I really want to get back into my crafting & photography next year, recording the memories we'll be making, so I've spent a little while today thinking about bits and bobs which will help - I never have been one for subtle hints!

So, here's the start of my list .... it may well be added to as the year goes on!

Photo Studio Kit for perfect still life shots and photos of my finished projects

2012 Memory Logbook & Challenge Combo (Download) to keep track of those memories as they are made .... GOT IT!!!

Becky Higgins 'Project Life' products - Turquoise Edition Core Kit, Album and a selection of different pages

Canon EOS DSLR with 18-55mm and 75-300mm Lenses - ok, may be pushing my luck a bit here!

That'll do for a start ;-)

Monday, 12 December 2011

A very eventful day!

It's beginning to feel more like Christmas in the Maynard house. This morning was Church Parade at the Christingle Service - this isn't held at our church so it was a little different ... a mix of the modern worship I now love, and the traditional service I grew up with. It seems that the church have been working their way through the nativity story during advent, and today was the arrival of the Shepherds and Angels. Lots of the children had dressed up for the occasion, and all came to the front of the church during the story - very interactive, with those of us left in the pews adding the sound effects for the 'wild and stormy night', the Angel's singing, and the lamb baa-ing lol. Once the Christingles had been passed around and lit, the lights were dimmed as we sang the Christingle Song - can't remember the words as I was seriously distracted by the wonderous looks on Toby and Ross' faces as they held their candles!

When Ian got home, we put up the Christmas Tree - the living room is still a tip, but the boys couldn't wait any longer. I started a new tradition in our family last year - one which Mum has been doing for a few years, and that's adding a few new decorations to the tree each year. This year's additions included a little snow globe each - one saying 'Merry Christmas Joseph', one 'Merry Christmas James' and one saying 'Special Mum & Dad'. I also bought one for Freya for her First Christmas.

So, another crafty project needs to be started ... an album of photos of our growing decoration collection!

Speaking of crafty projects, it looks like my JYC2011 album entries will be on an 'as-and-when' basis, as daily entries are not flowing - lots going on at the moment which is not crimbo related which is taking my focus elsewhere. But I'm sure it will make just as fabulous a memory!

Friday, 9 December 2011

JYC Day 7 - Making Her List, Checking It Twice!

So much to do, so little time!

This year I wanted Christmas to be organised and stress-free - ha ha ha! I'm now convinced that those two words don't exist in my world! I still have SO much left to do, so maybe a To Do List is in order:-

1. Finish making Christmas Cards and get them in the post

2. Finish buying pressies

3. Buy wrapping supplies and start wrapping pressies already bought

4. Clear living room so we can get the tree up

5. Presents and cards for teachers

6. Visit the Christmas Tree Festival at Christ Church

7. Photograph the local lights

8. Food shopping for New Year's Eve

9. Clean kitchen ready for Christmas cooking

10. Make Gingerbread House with the boys


JYC Day 4 - Christmas Shopping

I don't know why, but I can never feel festive doing the Christmas Shopping. Maybe it's because we schlap around the same shopping centres and into the same shops which we go into all year round. Yes, they make great efforts with decorations and such, but it just doesn't feel special for me.

Next year, I plan to book a Christmas Shopping Weekend to one of the Christmas Markets in Europe. They look so amazing and festive with all those stalls displaying their wares - I look at the photos and can almost smell and taste the gorgeous, edible goodies ... wonder if they are taking bookings for next year yet?

Journal Your Christmas 2011

Hmmm - so far, not so good :-( JYC2011 started over at Shimelle's website on 1st December ..... it's now the 9th and I've only just completed the first page. I know that this project is designed to have no pressure, but I'd like to at least get my thoughts down on paper, even if the pages aren't actually crafted. So, I intend to spend today catching up on the prompts, and adding my thoughts on here. So, prepare to be bombarded with blog entries ;-)