Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Yes, that's me this week...I go on holiday on Sunday and have taken Friday off as annual leave so as to start the packing in advance because we like to travel with lots of little luxuries (Tim - computer stuff, Me -crafting stuff and Alex - toys!) and Alex needs a trailer for all the stuff we need for him (high chair, push chair, cot, playpen etc)! All this means that I have to try and finish off lots of work projects by the end of Thursday and have been running round like mad these past few days.
The evenings have been good fun though as Alex and I have made the most of our playtimes together. On Monday the weather was nice so we went out into the garden again...he still isn't very sure about grass, but by the end of our time outside was a little happier about it and even tried to eat some! Yesterday and today were wet and so we were indoors again playing cars, chase, bricks, and general 'using Mummy as a climbing frame' games. All good fun...Alex is now trying to build the bricks into a tower rather than just knocking them down...he isn't very good at it yet, but does try and put the occassional brick onto a tower now. He has also started to try and feed us with a spoon or whatever finger food he is holding which is quite fun.
As a challenge to myself I have entered an inchies swap on the CM&PC forum. I have only ever made three inchies before and found it really hard and the theme of this swap is black and white - not a scheme I have used much. We have to make 15 of them and so far I have made 10 using some stamps I had from before, some inchie stamps from Tanda Stamps, versa color white ink, Stazon black ink, black and white card, tippex, white and black peel off letters, Sakura stardust pen and brads. As this is such a new thing for me I would love some comments on what people make of this artwork. More soon,

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Mammoth bruises!

My turn for some bruises this weekend...I have two deep purple bruises the siz of a fist, one on each thigh (no I am not going to photograph them!). Here is how it happened: Alex and I made the most of the sun yesterday and spent a couple of hours in the park. His favourite thing there is the metal tube which is suspended as part of the smallest climbing frame. At either end of it there is a platform, one has a cargo net and a wooden walkway, and the other has a mini slide, some steps and a wooden walkway. Well I put Alex in the tube by climbing up the steps and he set off at a rapid pace towards the other end, but I couldn't go back down the steps because there was a little girl in the way so in order to get to Alex before he investigated the cargo net and took at 3 ft fall I had to jump down the little slide and I didn't fit! My hips took the brunt of it hence the massive bruises and after all that, Alex stayed giggling in the middle of the tube!
As it was lovely and dry I let Alex crawl all over the playground which he loved...his trousers were a mess at the end, but he was very happy. Today the weather hasn't been so kind..we made two brief jaunts outside and were rained on both times. However, Alex and I have been rolling happily on the floor together, playing chase, peering round door friends and going boo etc all to very loud giggles...I just love his laugh it is so infectious!
I have managed to do some crafting this weekend as well and catch up on some of the swaps that I have joined. The April technique swap on CM&PC forum is decoupage...not something I do very often as I am not fond of lots of cutting out. This means that I the only sheets of decoupage I have are freebies from magazines so I used those for this swap. They are all Margaret Shelly I believe if anyone is interested. I then mounted them on cards and decorated with glitter pens and ribbon where appropriate. Although I have made 4 only 3 are for the swap as I thought I had better keep one of them for posterity!
I also made an entry for a competition so I can't show it here. The theme of the competition was black and white, not something I have tried before although it is very trendy at the moment. Finally I made my three entries for the latest mystery item swap. The three items we had to use on our ATCs were a cocktail stick, a drinking straw and a sweet wrapper. I have to say that I found this one a bit of a challenge, but did eventually come up with something. The sweet wrapper one didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped though, as the stamping onto the layers of quality street wrappers wasn't even so it was hard to make out the medallion shape on it. I hope that these will be good enough for the swap.
More soon,

Friday, 25 April 2008

New Toy!

I have a new toy...a spanking new laptop from ASUS. It was bought through work and is fab, although it is going to take me some time to get used to the new operating system (Vista) and the new Office suite (2007). I have managed to get most things installed successfully on it and have transferred all my data across. The only program I am missing is Adobe Photoshop...I am going to have to pray about buying an uptodate version of it. Apart from a new computer things have been busy at work, I finally managed to get my latest grant in on time, by the skin of my teeth. I can't wait for our holiday...roll on May!
Alex has been good fun, having gone from enjoying playing with the flaps of the box, but being scared of going into the big box, he now happily plays inside it. He has also been entertaining me by using me as a climbing frame, a horse to ride on and a walking aid. He can now stand unsupported for up to three seconds, but hasn't really taken his first step yet. He currently has 7 teeth and I think that number 8 is on its way through, which may well explain his flushed cheeks, being off his food and general intermittent upset.
Having a new laptop to configure has meant that I haven't done much crafting in the past couple of days, although I did make a Birthday card for my sister-in-law. I am not sure whether I will be able to upload it as I haven't yet configured the camera and computer to talk to each other...I will just have to see whether I can manage it...Success! The card is actually lilac in colour, and is a bit bleached out because of the flash. I am quite pleased with this one as it only took me a little while to make, but has turned out really well. More soon,

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Isn't it lovely when...

...the weather is nice and you can get outside! Alex and I have been out every evening after work this week, either in the garden or to the park and have enjoyed every minute of it. I think that he prefers the park as it is cleaner and flat therefore easier for him to crawl around, and he loves the tunnel, slide and swings. It has been so lovely to be outside after being really busy at work.
Alex is beginning to get used to our garden, although the slope of the lawn is proving a challenge to him, as is the uneveness of the grass. He much prefers going up and down the path, which is flat, but more dangerous as it ends in a 5 ft drop with very steep steps...we haven't yet managed to get a fence and gate, which is the plan for this year. He has discovered the fun of fencing with sticks, and attempts to eat stones, all necessary parts of a small boys development!
Alex wasn't sure what to do with the daffodil once he had it and kept alternately dropping it and picking it up...on the whole he prefered the stick!
I have also experimented a little more with friendly plastic and created these abstract art ATCs, which I have to say I quite like.
This card is a simple notelet for my standby box, and used mulberry paper for the first time in ages.
Finally, this is my scrapbook layout for the week, of Alex only 10 days old entitled simply 'Baby'. I didn't add much to this one as the Making Memories stickers seemed to say it all. The yellow one says 'you're what dreams are made of' and the blue one says 'you captured my heart the moment they placed you in my arms'. The layout is based very loosely on sketch # at Pencil Lines. Let me know what you think. More soon,

Monday, 21 April 2008

What a weekend!

We had a lovely day on Saturday, and did the usual house jobs, and family shopping trip, which was great fun. Alex was hilarious, being cheeky and entertaining by turns and we got round the shops in record time. Sadly, however, Tim was totally exhausted by the trip retreating to bed in the afternoon while Alex and I played in the sitting room. The difficulty was keeping Alex quiet enough for Tim to sleep as he is a very physical little boy who likes loud bangs, but we had great fun with him exploring the sitting room and me hiding toys for him to find etc. One of his favourite games at the moment is opening and shutting doors with me sat behind the door going 'boo' whenever he opens it! This makes him giggle like anything.
Sunday wasn’t quite so good we faced the challenge of Alex finally learning to escape from his rocking chair. Maybe I should explain: although Alex sleeps well in his cot at night during the day he sleeps in a chair which is battery operated to rock him to sleep. This has worked wonders ever since he was too big for his Moses basket, however he has now worked out how to wriggle himself out of the restraints and onto the floor. This wasn’t too much of a disaster as all we need to do is put him to sleep in his cot instead, but when we did that he decided that he wasn’t going to sleep, but discovered that he could open and shut the drawers of his dressing table with loud bangs, which he loved. This resulted in us completely rearranging Alex’s room so that the drawers are out of reach of the cot. Peace was finally restored.
Alex has also had a hair cut this weekend, as you can see from the first photo it was definitely over due, but I have to say that a number 4 all over is too short and I don’t like it. I miss his longer locks. As a result of Alex missing his lunchtime nap he has been a little more temperamental and inclined to scream the place down if he doesn’t get exactly what he wants, but since what he mostly wanted was to be with me in the sitting room that wasn’t too bad and so we had a nice time playing down there. The photo is of Alex with short hair eating his tea…what a messy, happy boy!
The result of all this upset is that I didn’t get much time for crafting this weekend although I did make a birthday card for one of my best friends. I quite like the colours of this one, very pink and girly and she loves flowers and butterflies so I hope she will like this.
I have also been experimenting with friendly plastic which resulted in this rather bright and garish card…I am not sure that I like it very much.
Rather more successful were these trading cards that I made…I think that they have worked much better and am quite pleased with them as they use the Crafty Individual background papers, silver peel-offs, and silver versamark ink to edge the cards. More soon,

Friday, 18 April 2008

How lucky am I?

After what has been a really busy and difficult period at work again I can truly say that I am feeling loved and blessed and it is all thanks to my wonderful family and my crafting friends…I have received so much lovely crafty post that it is amazing and this is going to be a really long blog entry. First however, a little update on Alex; his cold is improving and we have had the greatest of fun these past couple of evenings…he has discovered a new game, namely riding on my back. He has also discovered another of his birthday presents which is a car transporter complete with four cars and sound effects. He has been a bit noise sensitive recently, bursting into tears when I blow my nose for example, so wasn’t too sure about the truck noises initially but has warmed to them. My cold is also improving, although my nose is bright red and sore from being blown so much.
And now for all those wonderful thanks. I have to start with a MASSIVE thank you to Kath Wilson who made me this beautiful clock to ‘remind me to take some time out for me’. She (and I have to confess others) has expressed a concern that what with work, students, and caring for Alex and Tim, that I don’t take enough time out for me. I do try and make sure that there is some ‘me’ time in every day, and this is a beautiful reminder to ensure that I do it, so thank you once again, my dear friend.
My next thank you is to Gabi Mann who made me this beautiful fat book page. I love the use of layers and textures…this book is going to be stunning when it is complete.
This wonderful ATC was made by Barbara Williams, an artist whose work I greatly admire, and I just love the use of textures that make this vintage ATC feel and look so wonderful.
You may recall that I have joined a favourite theme swap, well I decided to ask for ‘vintage’ as my favourite theme and these four lovely ATCs are from Sandra McKeever (childrens playground), Allison Yates (all you need is love), Isobel Waite (lady in pink fur) and Rhea Bellamy (vintage tags). I love the way they are all so different and yet fit the theme perfectly.
I have also received the final letters of the Alphabet, and I have to say that the whole set look absolutely stunning. The final ones are ‘W is for Wisdom’ by Linda Brunton, X is for Xmas by Janet Matthews, Y is for Yoshi by Joshua Wade (age 6), and Z is for zebra by Angela Clerehugh. I think you will agree that these are all wonderful.
Angela, who organised this swap, also very sweetly sent this ‘A to Z’ card as a thank you for joining in. It is a lovely ATC and it must have taken ages to do one for every member of the swap.
Last but not least I received another vintage ATC for the collection, of a cute baby, by Sally Bentham. I have to say that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world at the moment despite my bright red nose! Thank you all so very much. More soon,

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

My turn... have the stinking cold. My nose is streaming and bright red (I look a bit like Rudolf) and I am sneezing like there's no tomorrow. Despite all that I have had another few really busy days at work; teaching 2nd year medical students to do lab work, writing a grant application, and sorting out another poster among others. Tim still isn't well either and so he is finding looking after Alex that little bit can't be easy with chronic fatigue syndrome anyway, but it is much harder when he has a cold as well. I can't wait until our holiday at the beginning of May when all my deadlines will be over and we will all benefit from some much needed relaxation and some extended time together.
Alex is gradually recovering from his cold, his nose isn't quite so runny and he isn't coughing as much. Although he is still really tired and isn't eating properly he is back to his normal self in terms of playing and we have had the greatest of fun playing chase, rolling balls across the floor and playing with bricks. Tonight, for the first time Alex was able to take the top brick off a tower (about 8 bricks tall) without knocking the whole tower over. We also had a fantastic game of 'pounce' where I crawl across the floor and pretend to pounce like a cat on him while saying the word 'pounce' quite loudly. The end result of this is a very loud laugh everytime I do it..great fun. I have done some crafting in the evenings this week, which is my life saver, and have finished off the ATCs for the 'favourite things swap'. The three remaining favourite things were 'teddies', animals and butterflies. The mountain lion and butterfly photo are again courtesy of the National Geographic website and I embellished these quite simply with stickers, peel offs and flower gems. The teddy is a tatty ted which I coloured in with chalks and mounted onto K&Co backing paper and added purple shiney hearts. I hope the recipients like these ones. Finally I have also made my scrapbook layout for the week (my New Years resolution is still being kept!). This one is entitled 'Eat Fist!' and uses Bazzil cardstock and Junkitz patterned paper in blues and greens to match the colours of his car seat and his bright green trousers. The journalling reads 'Alex was so funny when he was learning to suck his thumb as to start with he could only get his fist in his mouth and was often to be found like this!' More soon,

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Nasty cough and cold

I was so glad when it came to the weekend I can’t tell you…this week has been awful, but the weekend was lovely and more than made up for it. Poor Alex still isn’t well as he has a stinking streaming cold and a nasty cough which is keeping him awake at night. Subsequently he is very tired and so inclined to be moody, swinging between very happy and content with his own company and needing constant attention. It hasn’t helped that the weather has been so revolting this weekend that we haven’t managed to go to the park and so he has got a little stir crazy. He did enjoy our family shopping trip on Saturday and ‘helping’ me put everything away – well he charged round the kitchen trying to pull the things out of the cupboards while I put them in, but what do you expect!
His latest game is to crouch and then stand up while we say 'down' or 'up' in alternately low and high pitched voices…it makes him grin and giggle like mad! He has also enjoyed me reading the Percy the Park Keeper books to him, and sitting on my lap ‘crafting’ or helping me to craft. There is only one room in the house which is properly Alex proof where he can be left unsupervised, and we have two playpens in other rooms. However, as he is getting more mobile he loves it when I come home and let him roam around the place while supervising it. Sadly Tim's illness doesn't allow him to do this much during the day, so I make up for it at weekends and in the evenings.
Isn't it funny how different babies pick up different skills at different stages? Finger food is still a bit of an issue with Alex...he will eat anything that looks like bread, biscuit or cereal and has started to bite it, but wont try anything else i.e. fruit, cucumber, mild cheese etc. I guess that he will get there in his own time, and at least he is eating the mashed up food we make him and is obviously healthy (when he hasn't got a cold!).
I have managed to do some crafting this weekend including my scrapbook layout for this week entitled 'Crawling'. The colour scheme was chosen based on the carpet and clothes that Alex is wearing in the photo. I again used my HeroArts baby hand and feet stamps, some feet brads and Angelkiss flowers to embellish this layout. The journalling details Alex's journey from crawling backwards, to comando crawling to proper crawling forwards.
On the CM&PC forum I have joined in with a 'favourite theme' swap where everyone gives you your favourite theme (in my case Vintage). There are 10 people in the swap which means that I have to make 9 trading cards with different themes. The Adele Penguin (photo from the National Geographic site) is enhanced with silver peel-offs and glitter glue, whereas the Oriental is different from my previous styles and uses gold peel-off characters.
I love snakes and think that King Cobras are among the most beautiful looking snakes, and this photo (National Geographic) only needed gold to set it off. In contrast, for me puppies are messy and leave paw prints everywhere as well as messing up the flowerbeds, hence the mucky paw prints on this one.
One of the other ladies asked for halloween as a theme, which I am not fond of, but I thought that these pumpkins were very impressive and good fun so I mounted them on black card, put a gold edging on and add orange brads.
Finally, another lady wanted movie stars and for me one of the most iconic movie stars of all time is Marilyn Monroe so I mounted this iconic photo of her on pink and topped it off with pink sequins. I hope the recipients like these ones, more soon,

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Poor Alex

Yesterday Alex had the highest temperature he has ever had, and the poor little boy spent most of yesterday evening really upset and not really calming down when we cuddled him. We did eventually get him to sleep, but his sleep was intermittent at best so he has spent much of today in bed because he fell asleep on the floor while playing this morning, and he has generally been happier in his bed than elsewhere. He is off his food and we have had a bit of a battle to keep his fluids topped up. It seems that he has this rather nasty fluey bug that is going round as his nose is very gooey. If it is anything like Tim and I have it is no wonder Alex has been so upset as this bug leaves you with very achy joints and head. I hope that he gets over it soon as I so hate seeing him like this.
Earlier in the week we played with some of his birthday toys including his new train track…he hasn’t yet fully grasped the idea of it! He thinks that the tracks are designed to hit against things to make a loud noise and finds it the greatest of fun to dismantle the track as fast as I can make it. He also loves chasing the tractor he was given across the floor when I push down on the little man to let it go, and to chase and grab ‘James the red Engine’ and pick it up and listen to the wheels go round (it is a wind up by pulling backwards train). All good fun.
Work has been horrible, partly because I feel so rotten and partly because I am so busy. I have 6 medical students who I am teaching lab work to and it takes hours! I will be glad when this week is over and I have less involvement in the process. At least I have been able to get some light relief in the evenings in the form of crafting. I made this layout to celebrate Alex’s budding creative side! This layout is entitled ‘Drawing’ and follows a sketch from Pencil lines and uses some of Alex’s own artwork in the circles and the two panels next to the photo. The journaling reads ‘Alex loves to sit on my lap and draw even if he doesn’t always hold the pen the right way up. His other favourite trick are hitting the desk with the pen and screwing up the paper he has been drawing on’.
I have also spent time this week making thank you cards on Alex’s behalf using photos of him on his birthday, some of his drawing and a rounded thank you stamp. I hope that people like them.
I have also made my three ATCs for the ‘distressed vintage swap’ on the CM&PC forum, which I enjoyed doing…not sure how ‘distressed’ they are though! I hope to catch up with some more scrapbooking later on this week when I have caught up with the letters and cards I need to write and send. More soon,