Friday, 29 May 2015

Lessons learnt

We're so close to the finishing line of blogging Every day in May now and today Cate has asked us what this month has taught us. Well the most obvious one is that:
  • Once I set my mind to something and commit to doing it by saying it out loud in my blog - I can do it!  I won't say I've found it easy to do, as I have it in mind that I started this blog as a method of sharing scrapbooking work etc and I haven't actually had much crafty 'stuff' to share. 
  • I've also found that I don't need to make a patchwork quilt just to write a blog post!  There are other things to write about and share.
  • I've learnt that it is handy to have prompts and suggestions as to what to write about.  This has kept me on the straight and narrow, even if some days I haven't felt the love for the subject choice.  So I guess I also learnt that ...
  • Sometimes it's good to step out of your comfort zone; it's amazing how you can make a blog post even when you thought you had nothing to say
  • I've also learnt that writing blog posts in advance and then scheduling them to post automatically is a brilliant way to post every day.  You can set aside time when you aren't busy to at least start something off that you can add to later.  It hasn't been hard to set aside time to do that and it has really paid off.
  • But the biggest lesson is that I do still enjoy blogging.  My posts had become few and far between but I think this has kick-started me into being a more frequent blogger and maybe joining back in with some of the memes that I used to enjoy but somehow drifted away from.
I am really pleased I've joined in this month and blogged Every day in May.  I am quite 'chuffed' that I've managed to do it.  Thanks for sharing my month with me.  Just two more days to go!

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Today Cate has asked us to share a blog post on things we collect.  Being a 'born-again de-clutterer' (it'll never last) I don't really have a collection to share with you. 
The only thing closest to something I collect would be my little penguins, but I only have a few and I don't have them on display together anywhere so I'm not sure it counts.  There is of course the infamous penguin who got up to all manner of adventures when I went to the Eclectic Keepsake crops.  He never quite got over his kidnapping though and is happy standing guard in the dining room nowadays.

I am drawn to anything with a picture of a penguin on it and they are my favourite zoo animal.  It's not because I share many characteristics with them, I don't like swimming out of my depth, I wouldn't last long in a cold climate although I do like a nice fish supper.
When I was little I would collect key rings.  I had a huge collection and it was a well known family fact that as soon as we went anywhere that had a gift shop, I would be coming home with a new key ring.  I had a particular liking for anything that had my star sign on so there were quite a few with Pisces fishes.  Is there a connection with that any my later penguin phase I wonder?

Talking of collecting, the work going on in my kitchen means that the rest of the house is collecting dust.  Not sure that I want to encourage that kind of collection though!
Do you have something that you collect?

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Take your daughter to work

Well, would you believe it?  It's day 26 of blogging Every day in May, and I'm still hanging in there!  For today's prompt Cate has asked us to share a memory from childhood and I've really delved back into the past.  Back to when I was about 7 or 8, in the mid 1960s.
My dad owned his own business and as a treat, in the holidays I would sometimes go into work with him.  The company was called South Eastern Stationery and he made and sold many diverse things to companies, mostly office related.  These were the days before computers and printers and photocopiers being common place in an office.  If you wanted headed notepaper, you had to order it from a printers.  None of this designing and printing in house!  There was a whole room of machinery which was mostly printing presses.  I had to keep well out of there!
I would be given my own little 'office' in a spare room and had a desk and chair, telephone and of course I could just go into the store room and pick up all manner of papers and pens.  It was an Aladdin's cave of stationery treasures and how my imagination ran wild in my own little office.
He didn't just sell office supplies though, he had really obscure contracts too.  He did a lot of work for Ferguson who made televisions and record players etc.  One of the contracts was for speaker cabinets and in order to muffle any tinny noise, the speakers had to be filled with a kind of chopped up foam pieces.  So to keep me busy one time, I was given the job of stuffing stockinette bags with foam pieces, then tying the tops to hold it all in so it was ready to go in a speaker cabinet. 
I had a whale of a time although in all truthfulness I probably didn't make too many bags because I discovered that if you ran across the room and jumped into the pile of foam, it was a great feeling.  You sank down into it and then bounced back up, climbed out, ran across the room and did the same thing.  Over and over again. Until it was time to come home.  Dad came in the room, took one look at me and I could tell from his face that something was wrong.
You see, this was the 60s and the fashionable fabric for clothes was something like crimplene.  A really synthetic fabric that attracts other synthetic materials like a magnet.  Especially nylon foam.  I was quite literally covered in foam from head to foot.  My dress had a layer of foam sticking to it and once two synthetic fabrics have stuck together it is very hard to separate them.  Even my legs were covered, due to the fact that I was wearing some lovely thick nylon tights.  Lovely new tights that matched the colour of my lovely new dress.  Dad had taken me to work looking like an advert for a children's fashion shop and brought me home looking like a reject from a toy stuffing company. 
We tried ever so hard to get the foam unstuck from my clothes but it was no good, it refused to budge.  When we got home my Mum was not amused!  Something about brand new dresses and tights being ruined.  And strangely enough, future visits to Dad's work place were confined to the little office.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Me on a stressful Monday

My kitchen is being ripped out tomorrow which is why today sees me doing this

Emptying every cupboard and shelf, and once the cupboard is bare, removing the door handle so it can be reused on the new units.  Also a show of progress, no handle = one more cupboard or drawer emptied.  15 down and two to go ...
They are literally gutting the room, every tile will be gone, the beams are going and the ceiling being replaced. Apparently the doors into the kitchen will be sealed up to keep the dust contained so we are having to decamp to the dining room for tea/coffee making and microwaved meals.  So my dining room looks like this

It reminds me of the self service breakfast area of a seaside bed and breakfast hotel! Only with less choice! 
Needless to say it's been a weekend of tidying and boxing up.  Decision making - I've not seen that piece of Tupperware for 10 years, do I really need to keep it?  Planning - how many microwave meals can we have before we give in and ring for a takeaway?  De-cluttering - oh I am not good at that! Trying to sneak things into the 'keeping but going up in the loft' box, discovering little treasures at the back of units, a few 'best mum in the world' mugs and things made out of glue, paint and pasta.  Souvenirs from holidays.  Silly things that hold too many memories to discard.
It's nice to have a break in proceedings to give a wave to Sian who suggested meeting up each Monday.  I'd offer you a cup of coffee but I can't remember where I've put the kettle ...

Sunday, 24 May 2015

If you know the extension you require, dial it now

Cate has given us a day off today where we can blog anything we want.  Anything.
So as it's half term, I'm going to share a school related secret.  Parents can be annoying.  I'm sure that no one reading this would ever think to ring up their children's school and ask ridiculous questions, or demand to speak to a teacher at 11am.  There's a clue in the name of a teacher, at 11am they will probably be teaching! You wouldn't ring up to make excuses for your child's phone being confiscated because it went off in a lesson 'oh that was only me ringing her to let her know that it will be Grandma picking her up tonight and not me'  Why would you do that?  When you know your child isn't supposed to have her phone switched on in school. Or maybe asking for an extension to the homework deadline because they 'went to the cinema last night and got home late so she was too tired to do it.' Or could we hold up the English exam because their daughter had overslept and wouldn't be able to get into school for 9am.  
So with very much tongue in cheek, someone made a spoof memo which read as follows:
To help the staff in the office handle their work more efficiently, we are considering the following new phone message:
" Hello, you have reached the automated answering service of your school.  In order to assist you in connecting to the right person, please listen to all the options before making a selection:
  • To lie about why your child is absent - press 1
  • To make excuses for why your child did not do his work - press 2
  • To complain about what we do - press 3
  • To swear at staff members - press 4
  • To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter, on the school website and several emails we sent you - press 5
  • If you want us to raise your child - press 6
  • If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone - press 7
  • To request a different teacher, for the third time this year - press 8
  • To complain about the bus company which is nothing to do with the school - press 9
  • To complain about the choice your child makes in the school canteen - press 0
  • If you realise this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behaviour, class work, homework and that it's not the teacher's fault for your child's lack of effort: Please hang up and have a nice day."
You would be amazed at the calls we get.  Sometimes we just sit back and think 'did she really just say that?' - like the lady who rang to say that she'd noticed from the online canteen payment records that her daughter was choosing to eat pasta and salad every day and could we try to encourage her to eat something different?  or the one whose daughter was in hospital for a minor op and was worrying about it.  Could Mrs X (her favourite teacher) please go to the hospital to reassure her? 
We have 1200 students in our school and 99% of our parents are reasonable, sensible people.  As for the others ...

Saturday, 23 May 2015


Oh Cate, what have you done?  The prompt for today's posting is to share 10 pinners that we follow on Pinterest.  What can I say?
Pinterest and I have had a tempestuous relationship.  We met, fell in love, saw each other nearly every day, sometimes several times a day and then I felt like I needed to take time out.  Time to see other people because Pinterest just became too needy.  Whenever I was on the internet, it was 'Pin me' 'Pin me' and I'd give in, open up Pinterest and ... next thing I knew an hour had passed.  There was only one thing to do, give each other space, see other websites - you know the drill.
So now Cate has put us back together and after the initial 'hey, haven't seen you in ages, come on let's meet up and see how things go' I was reminded how useful I found Pinterest and how fascinating it was to see things that other people had found too (who knew that baking soda could clean up so many things? Got a splinter in your finger?  Baking soda.  Descale your bathroom tiles?  Baking soda.  Un-tarnish silver?  You've got it!)But here's the ground rules Pinterest - there is to be no more spending hours together.  Well, apart from checking out the pinners that Cate's merry band of bloggers have found obviously.
I'm going to try to choose a variety of pinners that I don't think you would have found.
  • Well, apart from this one - Julie Kirk. Nearly 2000 pins!  Pop over there and have a look for yourself but don't blame me if you spend the next hour or so browsing because she sure has a great variety of things going on over there.
  • Anybody out there interested in Eurovision?  Well the following young lady, Susanna who is also the daughter of one of my friends, is in the backing group for the Belgian entry tonight.  She is a pinner to look at if you know anyone who is planning a wedding. Lots of hairstyle ideas, bouquets etc.  Make a note of her name, she's a seriously talented singer/songwriter/actress.  
  • My son's girlfriend Sophie has some interesting pins on her boards.  Check out the ideas she had for her mum's wedding cake.  Sophie makes the most amazing cakes! 
  • If you're looking for handy hints, or ideas of things to do with the kids, look no further than Angela
  • Another daughter of a friend is Erica.  Quite a wide variety of pins here and certainly a few places I wouldn't have visited left to my own devices.
Now I was supposed to share 10.  But to be honest, the others that I would have chosen have probably been shared all over the place so I will leave it at 5.  After all, don't forget, me and Pinterest did have a long break up.  We have a lot of catching up to do ...