Sunday, 31 October 2010

2010's Pumpkin Creation

Hi all

Just a short post to show you this years pumpkin creation.  I didn't have time to go searching the web this year for inspiration so I decided to copy the design I came up with last year (as luckily I took a pic that was still on my phone!).

We've put a little more effort into our Halloween preparations this year which 'A' has loved.  We've decorated the hall with cobwebs and pumpkin garlands and of course you've already seen our super cool 'mini pumpkin treats'.  'A's gone off to get changed now and I'm all ready to don my nice new witch's hat!


Fabulous Girlfriends - Part 2 - Jo

Thought I’d give you a little insight into the fab girls in my life and how our lives became intertwined in the first place.  So here’s the low down (in no particular order….before anyone gets upset lol).


I actually first met Jo quite a few years ago when I was around 16 as we were both in a production of West Side Story that was staged at Dudley Castle.  After completing this particular show I then joined Halesowen Musical Comedy Society which Jo was also a member of.  At the time we were probably more so 'acquaintances' rather than friends.  We saw each other at rehearsals and chatted but that was as far as things went, probably due to the fact that I was a little younger and we had very different lives.

A few years down the line I happened to bump into Jo on the school playground one afternoon and it also turned out that we had a mutual friend.  We got talking each afternoon and discovered we had daughters in the same class and also that she'd been tying 'S's shoelaces each week at football practice as his bad mother (me!) basically left him to get on with it :).  From then on we became closer and closer and our friendship bloomed!

Jo and I set up a school choir about 3 years ago which is still going strong so what with that, general school runs and the fact that Jo's also now in the Circuit Ladies Choir.........we pretty much see each other most days!  In fact it has been known for us to stand and talk for a good hour outside the school gates after everyone else has gone home (much to the caretaker's amusement!).

We've had so many good times and happy memories already, there are just too many to name them all.  We've shared family camping trips, drunken girlie nights out, drunken bonfire/new years and just general parties (noticing a theme here?), Tenby weekends and many, many cups of tea!  Jo is a really good friend and super listener and is always there when I need her. She's also now the fountain of knowledge regarding all things 'puppy' as she's already been there and done it all with lovely Airedale, Arthur.

Here's to many more cups of tea, drunken episodes and super times.

[caption id="attachment_237" align="aligncenter" width="604" caption="Me and Jo"][/caption]


Wall Murals for Kids by My Wonderful Walls

A site which has caught my interest lately is My Wonderful Walls. It is owned and operated by Stephanie and Michael Goins out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. They have recently partnered with T.C. Thompson's Children's Hospital in an effort to bring some joy to the ill patients. How? A few times a year, they visit the hospital and install their wall murals. They have helped to decorate and entire floor full of rooms and hope to do more.

By writing this post to my blog, they will donate one mural to the hospital.

How cool is that?

At their online store My Wonderful Walls offers these awesome wall murals as stencil kits and stylish kids wall art. The stencil kits make is possible for all parents to paint a mural in their child's bedroom. And they have all sorts of themes for boys and girls alike. Check out Garden, Princess and Fairy for your girl; Transportation, Dinosaur and Forest are great for any boy's room; and more gender neutral themes include Under the Sea, Farm, and Jungle.

For more information about their products or to donate to their mural-give program go to

Here's an idea of their artwork below, I think it's lovely!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Two new cards

Two new cards created in the last week.  Dad celebrated his 6?????? birthday on Sunday and we all popped round for tea.  Due to his interest in ornithology (or birds for those of you not in the know!) I made him a pyramid card with a picture of a 'Firecrest' on the front.  Only problem was I'd not made a pyramid card before and when I looked at the enclosed instructions they were for a different card! Hmmmm difficult!

After a little searching on the web for a picture of the end result I managed to jumble something together which didn't look too bad.  Also found a lovely poem online at

Today was Emma's little boy's birthday so this was a bit of a challenge as I'd not created a child's card as yet.  I had some great dog theme diecuts so decided to make something with these.  I hope he liked it! :)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Halloween Pumpkin Treats!

When looking in Mom's latest 'Homes & Ideas' magazine last month there was a cool idea for Halloween treats.  'A' and I had a go at making them this morning and we're quite pleased with the results.  For those of you that want to make them for yourselves I put the piccies below.

1. First take two sheets of orange tissue paper.  Draw a circle around a dinner plate and cut out.

2. In the centre of the circles place a handful of halloween goodies.

3. Start to pull up the sides of the circles to form the mini pumpkin's 'stalk'.

4. Tape around the 'stalk' with green florists tape.

All that's left is for your Halloween visitors to rip open the pumpkin to find the goodies inside!

Monday, 25 October 2010

All things ghostly - sceptic or believer?

Advertised in this weeks local paper was an article stating that there would be a ghost walk in the run up to Halloween.  This was to be held at Haden Hill House which is a local victorian house that is open to the public.  Upon seeing the article I asked my youngsters if they'd like to go, to which I had a mixed response.  'S' finally decided that he wasn't bothered but 'A' was a little unsure. Her concern was "I'm not worried about hearing the stories, but I'm scared I might actually see something!".

I, for one, have always had an avid interest in the paranormal and although I've always been very careful how much information to feed to my kids on the subject, I've always encouraged them to have an open mind about such things.  I can't quite remember what initially spurred my interest in the supernatural but I know it was around the time when I started at high school.

My interest continued and then a few years ago I became involved with a super local ghost research society for a short time.  Part of my membership to the group involved me carrying out all night investigations in various 'alledgedly' haunted locations across the UK including The Ram Inn (Gloucestershire), Woodchester Mansion (Gloucestershire) and Pebble Mill Studios (Birmingham).  I enjoyed this immensely but I think most of the enjoyment came from the humour shared with the other investigators and the actual adrenaline involved in the prospect of maybe 'experiencing' something unexplainable.

Unfortunately, I think it was my lack of 'experiencing' anything untoward (and also my new love of all things Derren Brown) that has now made me more sceptical than ever!  Although, the experience of the investigations was often quite spine tingly at times, I don't feel I once encountered anything that couldn't be accounted for in human terms.  Obviously, there are many stories around, often from credible, trustworthy sources but the truth is I simply cannot believe it until I've seen it for myself!  Of course I still long to be convinced that there are more things in this world than we can possibly explain but up till now I've not come across any!  Nevertheless, Halloween is looming and I will endeavour to put my scepticism aside, just for the fun of it!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

New poem for Nan's 90th

[caption id="attachment_177" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Gran's 90th Card"][/caption]

Made Nan a lovely card for her 90th birthday next weekend using the new 'teabagging' technique I'd learned, but I always like to insert an appropriate poem or verse inside.  I did a bit of searching for something suitable but upon typing the words 'poem Gran' into Google most of my results were poems for very cheery!  Due to this I decided to have a go at writing one myself and this is what I came up with (the reference to moving house is due to her having moved many, many times!).  It's not quite Shakespeare I know, but it will suit my Gran :)

Well, Gran it’s your birthday
So an ideal time to say
Just how much you mean to us
In every single way

You love to chat and tell us things
About your life so far
You make us laugh with things you say
But that’s just who you are

Now that you are 90
You really must slow down
No more moving house again
To another tempting town!

You really are so special
And though you don’t like fuss
Enjoy you’re 90th birthday
With love from all of us !

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Poem for the New Puppy Owner

When searching the web (yet again) tonight for articles about puppy raising I came across this superb and most appropriate poem.  The author is unknown but how right they are!!

Don't smell crotches, don't eat plants.
Don't steal food or underpants.
Don't eat my socks, don't grab my hair.
Don't rip the stuffing from that chair!
Don't eat those peas! Don't touch that bush!
Don't chew my shoes. What IS that mush?
Eat your cookies. Drink your drink,
Outta the toilet! Outta the sink!
Away from the cat box, it's for the cat!
And MUST you kiss me after that?
Yes, raising a puppy, is not for the lazy!
Though puppies are funny, they're also quite crazy.
But don't despair, though its toil and strife.
After three years, you'll get back your life!
So, let's go for "walkies", you can "do your thing"
And perhaps I'll get back my good diamond ring!

Fabulous Girlfriends - Part 1 - Emma

Thought I'd give you a little insight into the fab girls in my life and how our lives became intertwined in the first place.  So here's the low down (in no particular order....before anyone gets upset lol).

Emma (or Emsie as she's affectionately now known!)

I met Emma when we were 5 years old and started school together.  I can't remember the exact first meeting but I know that we were both such nervous 5 year olds that we used to walk everywhere holding hands.  I remember a dinnerlady telling us one day, that we wouldn't be able to hold hands forever.......strange woman....why ever not ????!

I can remember Em and I keeping a 'joint' diary when we were about 15 which pretty much covered everything that was going on, boys and people that pee'd us off!  Oh, how I'd love to read that now!  I have fond memories of 1991 not only because of the 'joint' diary but also because we spent pretty much every day of the Summer holidays together.  I remember us watching Poltergeist 1,2 and 3 on consecutive days (whilst eating fish and chips) and watching Grease so many times we lost count.  I also have my friendship with Emma to thank for introducing me to 'P' as he was a friend of Emma's older brother Rob.

Em and I have stayed great friends ever since, sharing primary and high school together and she's also godmother to our son 'S'.  She's always been there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on and I hope I've done the same for her when she's been going through rough times.  She has a lovely son who's 5 who is absolutely wonderful and really makes me smile with his smashing sense of humour and contagious laugh.  We love to meet up (probably not often enough!) and always end up talking about funny stories, music we listened to when we were younger and our general philosohpy on life.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="604" caption="Me and Em!"][/caption]

Friday, 22 October 2010

Quick poorly pooch update...

Arnold has been a little poorly over the last few days (again!).  I never knew a puppy could poop so much, I thought the kids were bad enough (when they were babies that is!).  It all started about 3 or 4 days ago with yet another upset stomach.  We thought, 'oh well, revert back to the old rice and chicken routine and maybe change his regular food'.  Ready to put this plan into action yesterday morning we got up to find poor little Arnold wouldn't leave his crate.  Believe me, this is not the puppy we know and love as his early morning tactics normally involve toe biting, leg licking and general yampyness!

After enticing him out of the crate we discovered that he was having terrible trouble walking and knew a swift trip to the vet was in order.  After being looked over the vet said he had a temperature.  She gave him a couple of jabs and told us to rest him and bring him back the next day.

He returned to the vet today and although he's still limping and has slept a lot, his temperature has gone down very slightly.  The vet seems to think that he may have just had some kind of viral infection which caused his joints to ache.  He has more antibiotics and anti-inflammatory's to take over the weekend and we're to take him back mid-week if there's no improvement.

It's so horrible watching him in this condition as he's just not our little hyper puppy at the moment.  As much as the jumping and nipping drives us mad, I'd much rather have that than a pupster who constantly sleeps and looks very sorry for himself indeed :(

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Classic Christmas Cardmaking

[caption id="attachment_157" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Papermania Classic Christmas Papercraft Kit"][/caption]

I absolutely love visiting nearby Barnet Hill Garden and Leisure Centre to search through there massive collection of craft materials.  The problem is I have to restrain myself as I would end up spending a fortune otherwise!  On my trip there last week they had a great selection of Christmas goodies one of which was a 'Papermania Classic Christmas' papercraft kit.  I don't normally buy kits as I prefer to buy all my craft accessories seperately, but this one really caught my eye and was also really great value for money.

I felt my first creating session didn't go badly at all and I've put a few pics below for you to judge for yourself :)


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Arnold, tooth and another general day!

Well A has been back to the dentist today.  Think he forgot that he was going to shape her tooth up though as he didn't touch it.  He basically just treated the visit as a review but said he was very happy with it.  He really has been so caring and compassionate about the whole situation we couldn't have wished for a better dentist.  Even said he'd had sleepless nights over A and her poor tooth!

Returned A back to school only to fetch her an hour later as the school's electric had gone off (much to her satisfaction).  We came home and due to the unseasonably cold weather today it only seemed right and appropriate to treat ourselves with a nice big cup of Hot Choccie topped off with marshmallows and sprinkles mmmmmm

Arnold had his second week at puppy class but I don't think he was too impressed tonight.  He's generally seemed a little under the weather all day really and then tonight he just didn't seem to have the energy to fend off the other puppies.  This resulted in him being bitten quite roughly a couple of times and him turning agressively on the puppies involved.  In hindsight maybe we should have kept him off 'puppy school' this week, but hey, you live and learn.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Help a sick child

Just came across a great site online

Post Pals is basically a service that allows the public to send mail, e-cards, gifts etc to children with chronic illnesses.  You are able to view the children and read about their life and illness.  Each of their pages gives details about the things they like and their interests along with information about their family, siblings etc.  Interestingly, it mentions that it's a nice idea to send post to siblings and parents as they need as much support as the sick children do.

Reading through some of the stories is very moving especially on the news page where you hear of family tragedy but it certainly makes you put your own problems into perspective.

I will be off to buy some nice child-friendly writing paper within the next few days and look forward to sending my first letter.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Small dog syndrome!

Arnold had his first meeting with the rather large Arthur the Airedale today!

We met up at his house and Arnold went in his usually barky, jumpy, boisterous self but that soon subsided when he realised he'd met a much, much bigger dog indeed. He tried his best with his loudest bark but it was just no match for Arthur's big loud WOOF!

They played in the garden and then Bella the Lurcher came to play too, although being a girl she really wasn't interested in all their childish games :).  Arthur was so good with him - he could of quite easily knocked him over but played lovely.

We went on a long walk (well, long for Arnold) and ended up having a coffee before walking back to Arthur's house.  We even met Toto the Cairn Terrier while we were out but he wasn't feeling particularly sociable today, although he did let Arnold have a little sniff!  Bella, Arthur and Toto walked in a lovely straight line next to their owners whilst Arnold zig-zagged from side to side, doing double the journey to everyone else!

Poor Arnold's shattered now and has gone for a well earned rest.  Bet he can't wait for the next meeting.


Thursday, 14 October 2010


I took up the hobby of cardmaking a couple of months ago and am now completely hooked!  My initial plan was to try scrapbooking but seeing as I had all the bits and bobs I thought I'd throw a few cards together and I'm now much more into this then I ever thought I would be.

I have an odd afternoon every now and then, surrounded by all my crafting kit and find it really therapeutic.  A's took an interest too and has had lots of fun also making cards.  I wasn't the most creative person when I first started out but with a bit of practice and a little help from various magazines and websites, I can see my cards are slowly getting more creative.

The only problem is, there are so many crafting goodies on the market to choose from you can end up spending a fortune!  You really have to sit down and think about the kind of craft technique you want to use and then look at which tools/gadgets would be most useful.

Many of the cards I've made so far have been decoupage.  This is a method of layering images which then gives you a 3D effect.  This can be very time consuming as most of the decoupage creations I've made have been cut out by hand.  The Beatrix Potter ones in particular were tricky (especially Jeremy Fisher!) as the figures were quite intricate.  My masterpiece so far has to be the decoupage Owl card I made for A's Brownie leaders when she finished back in the Summer (picture to follow soon!).  Of course you can cheat and buy the pre-cut decoupage sheets which make life so much easier, but somehow not quite the same sense of achievement.

Hope you like a few pics of my handiwork so far :)


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Puppy Class - Week 1

Took Arnold to his first ever puppy socialisation class tonight at our local vets - what a fab way to spend an hour!

Keeping Arnold company was Monty the Norfolk Terrier, Henry the Beagle, Tinkerbell the Sprocker (cross between a Cocker and Springer Spaniel), Marley the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Megan the Welsh Terrier............along with their respective owners!

The trainer spent a little time tonight telling us about 'puppy biting' and 'lead training'.  We didn't feel we learned a lot as with Arnold being 16 weeks old we've tried most techniques already!  We did spend some time handling other people's pooches though, in particular we were given Henry and Megan.  I don't think the other owners knew quite how to handle Arnold excessive energy levels though!

The last 15 minutes all the puppies were allowed off their leads and had a chance to play/bite/hump/growl/bark you name it!  I have to say we had a great time watching Arnold interact with the other puppies.  He finally seems to have met his match in Marley the Staffy as he was equally as keen to bite, box and attack as Arnold is.  Arnold seem to have a rather worrying attraction to Henry the Beagle but the trainer assured us we need not be worried at this early stage :)

All in all, it seems a good night was had by all and I don't think I've ever seen Arnold quite so shattered.  He's sleeping peacefully in his bed my feet as I type and after tonights escapades, think he'll probably be there for most of tomorrow too!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Calamity Jane

Just watched Calamity Jane on the TV, what an awesome woman and true Hollywood star Doris Day really was!

Here's a clip of my favourite song from the film:

I have to say this is one part I would love to play.  The songs are awesome and the part itself would be a real challenge.

"Make mine sasperilly!"

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Undertaker and the Teeth

Just thought I'd relay a funny story A told me as we sat in the Dentist waiting room this morning (for the 100th time!).

After her recent Grandad's funeral, A and I got into a conversation with the undertaker (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this story).  We happened to be talking about school and mentioned the accident she'd had and the fact that she was waiting to have her tooth repaired.  The undertaker stated that he too had crowns in place but that his were on a 'plate' - basically false teeth!  At this point the conversation, as I knew it, came to an end.

'A' then mentioned this morning that later on during the afternoon she was just approaching the plate of chocolate eclairs when the undertaker appeared to resume his conversation with her.  He said "I shouldn't really do this in public!" and then swiftly pulled out his 'plate' to show her his array of lovely false teeth!!!!  Needless to say when she told me this story I completely cracked up, especially when she said that she didn't much fancy the chocolate eclair after, so put it back on the plate!

Arnold Update - 15 Weeks!

Well Arnold's now 15 weeks old, in fact he'll be 16 weeks this coming Saturday and I can't believe how much he's grown!  We've gone through ups and downs with his behaviour, in particular, the biting and his latest spirited episode involved getting tangled up in the cables to the external hard drive and proceeding to knock it on the floor.  I can now also see where the phrase 'the dog ate my homework' came from as he's such a little sneak thief, he will steal and run off with any piece of paper he can get his teeth on.  We've even had to remove the waste paper bin from the lounge as he wouldn't stop stealing tissues, wrappers, you name it, and running off with them!   He's still quite fond of taking a chunk out of me and seems to have taken a liking to my slippers (as they have a pink rosette on each one that he likes to attack!).

He likes have a mooch in the garden, in fact he's doing this as I type!  You would not believe the things he has bought in that he's found buried underneath rock and plants!  He seems to have settled down a lot now and has got used to the routine in the house.  He's still happy to settle down in his crate at night and likes to go sleep in his bed in the living room when we're all at home.


He's now taken to barking when anyone knocks on the front door, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.........guard dog in the making me thinks!  We've been for many walks to school and back where he's enjoyed jumping up and biting all the nice strangers that walk past.  We've yet to loose him off the lead but we know this is something we need to try soon to get him used to coming back to us.  A plentiful supply of treats required I think!

All in all he's becoming a loving companion to us all and despite his moments of sheer craziness I don't know how we ever managed without him! Although,  I do think the neighbours maybe sick of hearing the words 'NO ARNOLD'!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Just Gone Fishin'

Found this lovely poem last week and was so appropriate that we included with Stan's flowers at the funeral.  Many thanks to Gordon Grubb

I thought I’d better let you know
The reason I’ve gone missin
I’m where there’s ten pound angel fish
Thats right I’ve just gone fishin.

A man named Peter at some gates
Asked if I’d had permission
My anglers license got me in
And now I’m happy fishin.

The waters here are crystal clear
Better than the river Severn
You get a bite at every cast
In this lovely river Heaven.

My old dad’s casting by my side
And my dear mom I’m a kissin
Don’t worry all I’m happy here
Yes I’ve simply just  gone fishin.

It never rains....

Well what a few weeks it's been and none of it good!

Nan Jones passed away at the end of August at the grand old age of 99.  She'd been poorly so many times but on this occasion simply wasn't strong enough to fight it.  Such a shame she never made it to her 100th birthday in April as although she'd never admit it, I think she was looking forward to all the attention.

Next, came A's accident at school!  One of her friends accidentally kicked her in the face whilst doing a cartwheel which resulted in one cracked and broken front tooth.  Since then she's had to have the broken tooth removed and had root canal work done.  The dentist tried to use the broken part of her tooth as a crown but unfortunately after a couple of days it broke off again.  She's back at the dentist to have a crown made and fitted tomorrow so hopefully she'll look like the A we know again soon.


Sadly, on the 16th September, P's dad Stan suddenly collapsed and passed away.  This was very sudden and a shock to us all.  The funeral was held on 30th September and with numerous people standing at the back of the church we hope this was a fitting tribute to him.  He will be sadly missed by us all and we'd like to say a HUGE thank you for all the kindness and support shown by family and friends. X

Hello Wordpress!

Well my first post with the new Wordpress set up..........this is going to take some practice I think!