Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Happy, happy, happy!!! I have just ordered two great things.............the May kit from AMM which looks fantastic, and such a lot in it, wow. And FINALLY, the NESTABILITIES set from CARD ART. It is in the sale at the moment so 10euros cheaper ladies, which is always handy, and since Amienke has lent me her CUTTLEBUG for a week, I ought to be able to use them whilst she is away!!!! I have been wanting the nest thingys for ages, and once I saw they were in the sale then it was irresistable. And at our weekly market there is a stall which is selling the Cuttlebugs quite cheaply, so I will have to save up for one of them now too. All this work I am doing at the moment is going to be funding my scrapping, right?!! Who needs shoes and clothes after all? I am so excited!! The nesties, I think I'll call them that, are so great for card making - at last I can have lovely round rounds!!!! Since I have so much paper I don't use really, and so many 'scrap' bits and bobs, I will be able to make a huge stash of shapes before I have to give the CB back to Amienke! Hurry up with the post please!!
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
My cousin and his wife are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in May so I have made this card to send to them. I used the sketch from the challenge at Kaarten maken met Tiets which meant that I had a card for this months entry!!! Anyway, hope you like it Stephen & Janette!! It is going in the post this morning. Hopefully we will be able to go to their party in the summer providing the dates are ones we have got free, and the cost of the flights are not ridiculously high.....it would be so great to see everyone again! I used to live near them about...26 years ago so we were all going out together then etc. Stephen is my daughters god-father as well. So lots of reasons to want to be there for me.
I also saw that the first cardkits have been sent out from Simpel Scrappen but where oh where is mine?!!!!! I am looking forward to getting started on some new cards with new paper! I actually did a scrap yesterday too. Don't all faint! It has been a while I know, but I decided I had to try something new so I have made a layout on a transparent sheet and it is ok...not briliant, just ok, but it is a start. I think I need to buy new paper, don't you?!! Get some inspiration from having new stash.....and I have been taking better photos at long last I think. The course is improving my confidence and skill so I am delighted. I end up taking photos that I didn't even think about before which is interesting. This week I had to take a story with 5 photos so I got Tim washing my car!!!! I think I can make a good scrap out of the photos after they have been to class. Slowly, slowly, my mojo is returning!!!! Maybe it has been that I have focused on my cards with all the birthdays I needed to get done, or just that I was needing a new direction or idea to kick start my creative juices..don't know.
Sunday, 27 April 2008
I went to take photos of the beautiful tulip fields near our home yesterday afternoon once the sun had lost its intensity. I was hoping to take the cows in the background but they were gone so maybe better luck today! I did get the windmill though.......even though I had to zoom in quite a lot! The fields come out and are gone in the blink of an eye - it always amazes me. Our son does the bulb peeling during the summer holidays which all the children do around here, and it is perfect work for them. Only a couple of weeks working every day and they have enough spends for the rest of the holiday. Hopefully he will do the same this year as well, as until he is 16 next year there are not many other options for earning cash...and he was hopeless at delivering papers!!!
This morning I have made a treacle tart and a fruit cake before the others got out of bed, enjoying the sound of my new CD player in the kitchen - wonderful. Peter still has to hide the wires for me when he makes the box for the pipes etc, but that will happen soon. Then it will almost be finished - just the blinds and the small piece of skirting board that needs replacing that I know Peter will forget.......and I will remind hin same as all our projects together! I think he leaves it deliberately to see whether I forget as well; not going to happen buddy!!! I thouhgt getting the prep for lunch etc all done before the sun comes out was a sensible idea, and as he was snoring all night long I haven't slept much anyway. I think a snoze later on in the garden chair is called for! But now Tim has to shake a leg and get up as he has promised to clean my car and his girlfriend is coming this afternoon and his room is a tip!!!! Enjoy the sun today - it might be gone by tomorrow they say............
Thursday, 24 April 2008
These are the plants I bought this morning at the GAMMA plant sale! Didn't I do well?! I spent 30euros in total and got some lovely summer plants for the garden as well as a huge sack of potting compost. If I had had more money with me I would have bought more, but these are wonderful. I came home and got them into the pots and borders straight away, to brighten up our garden. Funny how even this many doesn't go far.......but what a bargain ladies! I was there at 8am, feeling a little foolish for being so early, but there were so many people already waiting outside the doors that I was glad I had decided to be the early worm today. I have never been to the plant sale before so that is why I was worrying about being there too soon, but here in Holland everyone is very keen on a bargain so I did good!!! It promises to be a sunny weekend so we can enjoy them together once Peter gets home from his week away. Today it is quite humid and cloudy but it should get better this afternoon. I am working then, but only for a few hours. I want to watch Derek Ogilvie this evening but I might go to the camera course if Loes is up to it after her trip to Rome...we'll see!
I went round Enkhuizen yesterday taking photos for the course, and found a delightful restaurant where we possibly can go to with Becci and Roy for her 21st meal: De Drie Haringhe. It is quite small and intimate which is what we like, and will do vegetarian meals on request. I have to admit that watching "the Great British Menu" is turning me more and more towards vegetarianism. I don't enjoy meat much really and quorn in a sauce is fine, but I am not a true nuts and pulses person either. Semi-veggie is what I am I suppose, so perhaps I can tweak it a bit more towards veggie here at home this summer...my menfolk are not too happy with no meat at all, but Tim is fairly relaxed about it - so Peter, time to learn to cook!!!!!!
And now I have to get ready to have my lunch and go to work. I see sun!!!
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
The sun is struggling to get through the clouds right now, but there is still hope!! The old farmers always say "bright before 7, dull before 11" so when it is great weather early in the morning, it often goes dull before coffee time!! So I am hoping this is the case today. Peter rang from Switzerland this morning and continues to have torrential rain there...so I can't complain really! His back is very bad of course, but he thinks there is a nerve trapped so might want to see someone about that when he gets home. Plan for the day? Housework; take photos; Tim to the dentist; relax etc. I have to work tomorrow afternoon and want to head off early to the plant sale here at 8am. There are so many sad and empty pots in the garden that are just begging to be filled!! Now I am going up in the attic to see what summer clothes there are for me, and what actually fits! I have turfed out all the winter stuff I don't need this morning first thing so want to get in there and sort it all out. Tim believes it isn't possible....no room etc, so I want to prove him wrong! I hate going up the ladder though..it always moves and then I panic! Will try anyway and then do the bathroom. Oh, sun!!! might make it onto my bike today...............enjoy your day whatever the weather!!
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Oh yes, this is what I call a kitchen gadget!!! Our neighbours might have bought a very fancy coffee making machine all right, but what do we want??? MUSIC!!! I cannot hear the music when I am cooking, well, ok, a tiny bit, but not really good enough to sing along...., so I have been searching for a CD player to hang on the wall. Easier said than done my friends! No-one could help me, but when I went for my Delia chopper in BCC last week I happened to ask there and they came up with this beauty!!! It is a Philips midi hi fi system that can be hung on the wall -hurray! The speakers are apart so that they can be placed either side of my 'afzuig cap' ( what is the english for that, forgotten!), and the CD part on the wall at the end of the wall cupboards where Peter has made me a little shelf for the CD's already. Since Peter will be passing through Germany this week he is going to have a look there and see if he can find it any cheaper, but via the internet it is quite reasonably priced too, so we'll see. BCC was too pricy I think, especially as I have found it cheaper elsewhere. Can't wait!! Once we have got this installed we can cover up the pipes etc as we can enclose all the unsightly wires etc which we women all hate, right?! and the kitchen can be finished off. I also found a great site for our dinner service, which is hand-made in Poland and called BUNZLAU CASTLE. It is so lovely and there are new designs out etc so I can continue collecting it. I decided to have different designs when we bought it so that it could always be added to without worrying that it would go out of production and I am very glad we did that from the start. www.dutchfield.nl is the site here that sell these lovely pottery pieces. You can buy it from the tea and coffee chain Simon Leveelt or from the Tierenlantijn in Enkhuizen. ( probably not the right spelling but I am sure you know where I mean!). I usually go to the shop in Warsaw when I visit Anna but they are not always cheaper there. great to see all the china in one place though!! Peter is almost ready to leave now so better kiss him goodbye and have another cup of coffee watching the show on TV that I missed last night - the Nancys!!!!
We were promised a sunny sunday today but so far it is cold and uninspiring weather out there. Even the cats don't want to go out - Xander is actually sitting directly next to my left hand as I type this ....walking over the keypad, sitting in front of the screen...all very unhelpful but sweet of him!! Removed to the back of the chair next to the computer now...much better! Peter is off to Switzerland for the week shortly, hence why we are up so early this morning! Tim has had his friend Patrick here all weekend ( think he likes my food!), and yesterday Alicia arrived and we all went to the last basketball match of this season - which they eventually won, wow! - and they were all still awake around three this morning apparently!!!! Ah, 15, and it all changes doesn't it? I remember Becci always bringing a gaggle of giggling girls home with her and them talking into the wee hours etc. We sleep on the top floor here, wise move, didn't hear a thing, so no problem. They will be even MORE tired today!!! I feel like MacDonalds - serving food at all hours and filling up hungry teenage tummies all day long - love it!! I am of the opinion that I prefer having Tim and his friends here so that I know what and where they are, than worrying about when he is coming home and what he has been doing. I think it is great to welcome the youngsters and get to know who his friends are etc. All for it!! Phew!! I worked for the first time at the Day Centre last Thursday and this week I will be at the other one for one and a half days and then the local centre for an afternoon on Thursday. It is tiring learning all about the clients and how it all fits together but very nice. I am going to enjoy it. I like the idea of some extra cash too!! I've signed up for the new CARDS ONLY magazine which promises to be very useful for my card-making etc, and also for the new CARD KIT from Simpel Scrappen. That will be super, and starts next month - watch this space! With a bit of luck and some time, I will get down to photographing my latest creations - still on the 50th theme though with more friends reaching this milestone at the moment. I have also got the photo ready for Hillies Pedicure LO for her practise. My friend has asked for one to hang up but I have run out of the paper she chose so need - yes, really NEED, to go to Den Helder soon for some more stash! I have got a gift voucher to use there anyway, from Amienke, so that will come in very handy. The photography course is going well too, so I hope to have much improved photos for my new LO's soon! I have not done any for a while with being ill, but I am getting into the mood again, inspired as ever by ALI EDWARDS whom I adore. I love her blog and ideas on life etc and how organised she manages to be. I want to be like her!!!! I must re-vamp my room this week. Maybe that will help me. I am not giving workshops regularly at the moment due to not feeling very well, but I have so much 'old stuff' hanging around that could be organised far more practically. I think I will have a move around in there soon..................and ditch the things I really have no intention of ever using!!!!! Radical thought!
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Having just updated myself with Inekes blog I saw that she had the Red Hat Society in there; of course I know about it Ineke!!! Well, the poem anyway. I used to read it with my over 65 clients when I was working in England, and we wanted to remind ourselves that life was fun! My friend Lindsey is a strong advocate of this way of 'being' and my friend Anne also. She, Anne, had her first tatoo at age 50 and vowed to 'grow old disgracefully' from then on in! I didn't know there was a Dutch club though...Alkmaar would be the nearest for me...........thinking ahead to next year of course! Maybe Loes is interested too.......................or we need to start one up in Hoorn! I like wearing purple hats for sure!!!! I'd like to say that I am comfortable with growing old, but I don't think I am really. I don't mind the fact that I have to light more candles on my cake, that is nothing, but the idea of becoming dependent and frail is not appealing I guess. However, I have an aunt (70 something) who looks great and is in super health, an uncle ( 69) and aunt who danced in the streets of Enkhuizen last year to the sound of the Jazz band, travel around the world and walk up and down hills and cliffs with greater ease than me or Peter! So I have to hope that their genes are the ones I've inherited don't I?!!!! Peter is far better off on his side of the family with a mother who will be 90 next year, and a grand-father who was almost 100 before he died........... longevity exists in his family better than in mine! But for now I will relax and think of all the purple clothes I would have to buy....................and that hat!!!
You always know it is going to happen but there is never a moment when you feel prepared to hear sad news about someone special in your life. Gilly mailed me this morning to tell me that the guy who was my boyfriend when I was 21, has got prostate cancer with secondaries and not really doing too well. He is my age, 49, and it is so, so sad for him and his family. He has 3 lovely children, wife, business, everything to look forward to, and this has happened to him. It is a real reality check, a 'live everyday to the full' moment, and one which has made me feel very, very lucky and blessed with what I have in my life right now. There is no time to be mean or jealous or selfish or concerned about what others think about you. There is no room for the 'what if's' and the ' I'll do it later' or "I wish that I had' more of this or that; be thankful for the small things, the little things that all add up to your own special place in this world: family and friends. I also received this pearl of wisdom from the same friend, about an interview with Maya Angelou by Oprah. When asked how she felt about growing older, Maya answered: "It is exciting. I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person from the way he/she handles these 3 things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled christmas lights. I've learned that regardles of the relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they are gone. I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life'. I've learned that sometimes life gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands,; you need to be able to throw some things back! I've learned that whenever I make a decision with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel."
Monday, 14 April 2008
Ok, these might seem rather incongruous photos to you, but they represent the last activities I have taken part in!! First here we are outside ART JOURNEY in Sleen, and before that we had coffee and apple tart in a small cafe cum gallery we stumbled upon en route; closely followed by a CHEESE & ONION TART a la Delia's recipe, and a tree in TWISK that I had to take from an unusual angle for my photography course!!!! At the moment I seen quite intent on using my new Boretti oven to the max. seizing any excuse to bake something in it! I am following the Delia Cheats programme on Monday nights, BBC 2 at 9.30pm, and although she made this one with a few shortcuts that are not available to us poor things here in the Netherlands, I had this recipe in my vegetarian cookbook, so did it the hard way!! Tasted delicious I must say. With it being Tims birthday I have been looking in my MARY BERRY cake book all morning, trying to decide what to make for his party - and what ingredients I already have etc. I am definitely going to make the treacle tart, only because I look treacle tart, and haven't had one for years; a lemon cheesecake, and an apple tart. That is for starters!! There are luscious biscuit recipes and other wonderful cakes in her book, and I want to do it all!!!!! Some things are impossible without having the ingredients here from the UK. I try to always stock up when we are over, but I have run out of some things now. And where is double or whipping cream when you need it?!!!! One has to use single cream and add a thickener to it - duh, why not just make thick cream???? That is frustrating I think, and I really don't understand why the Dutch haven't got this sorted yet? They are all keen on Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver and watch their programmes and buy their books etc. but don't seem keen to demand that the shops start stocking newer ingredients for their recipes? Who can live without PARSNIPS for example?!!!!! The last photo was taken from a strange angle for my course, but it turned out quite nicely I thought so I have included it here! Still got to take some more before Friday...see whether Loes has done any better with hers, or maybe we'll have to go together and lie under a few trees!!!!
Not strictly true but today I have a headache that won't go away and am feeling like the 'flu bug just hasn't totally disappeared. GLUM!!! But I have just been talking with my friend LINDSEY who turned 50 today, so that cheered me up! She is also hoping to visit soon, even better news, so I have now got 3 of my girlfriends planning trips over the water, and I love that!! I miss them all dreadfully, so knowing they are willing to pop across and have a few days here is just wonderful. And I hope to get over to Gillys and Annas before the year is out so I am doing ok this year I think. It is a good job I have got some work lined up in the summer as that will help finance all these plans of mine don't you agree?....I am going for the first full day this week to see what is expected of me etc, and then next month I have my first proper working days in Schagen at the Day Centres. It is really interesting and I am looking forward to doing it. This Wednesday Tim turns 15. My photos are now finally downloaded onto the computer so I am going to let you see the ones I have taken since we visited Sleen!
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
It is a beautiful day to drive over to SLEEN and visit Louise at Art Journey - yippee! Looking forward to it greatly - time to get some inspiration again. Been feeling a bit flat lately but I did start scrapping yesterday..wow! I am doing a LO for Tims birthday using a photo he developed himself at school. It is not sharp or focused or in anyway a great technical photograph but it is of himself and I don't get many of those any more! It is good in that it looks so like him, and that is the most important feature of any portrait I think. I had some grafitti papers from Chantal, SCRAPFEVER, so I have used those with the grungeboard etc, and inks and it is going well. I plan to frame it in black to match the other colours in his bedroom, as I think he will want to have it in there...........when he came home with the photos he said " you can't scrap any of these, mum!" but I managed to pursuade him that I could take the 2 double photos off into my room....so that is how I have been able to get a lovely LO of our son just before he turns 15 next week!! Have got my camera in my bag too, must be some moments for photos along the route, coffee stops etc in lovely countryside.................and of course we four ladies! Hope to show you them tomorrow, but time to get packed up and ready to go! Also in cheery mood 'cos I spoke to Jackie last night and she is going to plan a week here in June, so now I have 2 friends making visits...hope for more to come girls! Jackie is also up for the 50th birthday weekend away idea, so that looks promising too. What shall we do?................
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Loes and I have enrolled on a 6 week digital camera course for beginners! I hope to finally unravel the mysteries of my Lumix camera and do more that just 'shoot' on automatic!! It was the first night last Friday and Loes was in Denmark so I went alone...only 6 of us there. It was quite hard for me listening to the instructress talking in Dutch and then looking in my English booklet and translating as I went along. I hope that practising with Loes during the week will get me up to speed with the homework etc. We have to take some photos of the same thing from different angles and using the manual programme, changing the depth of field etc......what ever that means!!!!! Anyway, I guess the cats are my easiest bet for subjects as when they are sleeping I can snap away without them knowing! It will help inspire my scrapping too I hope. Been a bit in a dip recently and not taken any photos at all, I think due to being ill and not being 'in the mood' for it. I am making cards but not so many either.....pre-occupied with the kitchen, getting a job, other things etc. Time for that to change!!!! I want to get some great shots in and then use the lovely papers I have got in my stash! We, that is Loes, Amienke, Jeanette and I are going to visit ART JOURNEY in Sleen this coming Wednesday for the first time! We are all looking forward to this treat: check out www.artjourney.nl for the site. I have reserved some stamps - if they are in stock again - those Bees are so gorgeous!! The plan is to 'look and learn' from what we see there, and buy the items we are missing in our product stores...................inks, tools, all kinds of goodies!!! I am so interested to see what Louise has there in the shop and maybe book for one of her workshops in the summer............. There is a new magazine coming out dedicated to scrapcards only. It is a 'sister' magazine to the Scrapbook Magazine so I have decided to take out a subscription to this one as well. It is due out at the end of April I think, so that is something to watch out for in the shops guys! I used to have a subscription to an English scrapmag. but I decided to stop it as it was quite boring - sorry to say! - and I think our Dutch ones are far superior. There is a big difference in styles so perhaps that is the problem with my choice; I identify more with the european style of scrapping than any other. Perhaps it is also to do with the choice of products that are available here too...lots of reasons. Still would LOVE to get to the USA for one of the big shows CHA etc!!! That would be the mother of all scrapping parties!!!!! My head would probably explode with everything it saw,, which would be a nuisance but I am willing to take the risk!!! Anyone needing someone to carry their bags next time around?.....!!!!!! Are we all watching "I'd do Anything" on BBC1 at the moment? Ann, Ineke and I are fans and are heavily debating our favourites so far. It is incredible how talented the girls all are - the standard is so high. Everyone of them has the talent to be in musical theatre but the fact is that it is only about finding a NANCY, and I don't know about you, but I have my own idea of who she is, based on the one I saw years ago, and I think so many of us remember: the version with Ron Moody as Fagin and Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes??????Mark Lester was Oliver - wonderful. So those performances do give me a baseline for what I want from my Nancy....who will it be? I missed last nights show so we are planning to sit and watch it before the results show this evening, so I cannot comment at the moment. Ineke thought Francesca was the best..........who did you vote for?????
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
Is it really so long since I updated this blog?! 16 March was ages ago.....but then we were busy with the new kitchen etc and then I caught 'flu and have been very ill with that for a few weeks, so there are good reasons for my tardiness! So hello - how are things in your worlds? Here it is raining and quite a damp day - not much happening etc. I managed to plant a few things in the border this morning before the rain started - I had a voucher from Ineke for my birthday so have now got some lovely Aquiligea's and other spring plants adoring the flower beds, thanks! I love those plants - they are so delicate and pretty. I think spring flowers are often the loveliest don't you? I took Peter to the train station first thing today - he is in Denmark for the rest of the week, celebrating 4 years with his company today too. They are opening a new building I think, so there is enough to celebrate I guess. He is probably glad to get away from home and the outstanding jobs to be done in the kitchen - a reprieve until the weekend when the tiling needs attention!!!! And the other little things like handles are still missing.......not our fault the shop forgot to order them in time. but we have lovely plastic 'tags' from Danmil which do work, so I suppose it is ok!!!! I think the finished kitchen will be everything we wanted, and the green Boretti is FANTASTIC!!!! Love it to bits! Can't imagine what I did without it, and other great expressions of joy!!! www.boretti.com Take a look and love 'em!!! This Sunday just gone I celebrated my birthday with our friends. It was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I adore thinking up what to eat, preparing the meus etc and writing copious notes to myself as I ponder and peruse just what the best choices might be for everyone... we had 17 in all, at two long tables and it was wonderful. I would do it again tomorrow!!! but next year I will be 50 and it should be out of my hands, a surprise party etc....................so I don't have to think about it until 2010............................??? I think it went well and everyone ate it all - especially the puddings! Well, we English do love a good pud, so that is something I put extra effort into making for our guests always. It does frustrate me when I can't find the exact ingredients I want to make some of the puddings we love, but I am hoping to 'restock' in June when we are away, and get the basic essentials for a pudding/cake store cupboard back to the normal level again. Wait until they have tasted my white chocolate cheesecake recipe....................calls for a summer BBQ or a high tea perhaps???? And the terrine of summer fruits is a stunner!!!! I feel it coming on already!!! At the moment I have got an almond and cherry cake in the oven as Tim likes that. It smells fantastic! I must ask him what he wants to make for his birthday which is in 16 days time......can't believe it really. So grown-up already. On the scrapping front I went to the card-day with Tiets last Saturday, with Amienke and it was a good day. I won a prize for best card and got a super bag from Carla in Simpel Scrappen, Den Helder. I bought one or two papers but not very much as we are going to visit Art Journey on 9 April and I will want so many stamps I just know it!!! Loes and I are starting a camera course this week, and that will help me improve my photography skills no end. I am looking forwad to it. 6 weeks with ones own camera - we have the Lumix from Panasonic which is perfect, so look out! more photos in the future on this blog hopefully. But now I have to look up golf lessons as I think we are giving that to Tim for his birthday...if I can find one around that date. He is interested enough to have a go and I think that is great.The basketball season is nearly over too, so he needs another sport to follow perhaps.. we'll see. Got to go now anyway, cake calling from the oven - and my tummy is rumbling for my lunch. Bye!