Saturday, 31 January 2009

We Have A New Scrapbooker!

A huge congratulations to my lovely friend, fellow blogger, joint Sawyer owner and scrapbooking buddy Rach, who produced another little scrapbooker in the early hours of this morning.

So, hello to little Caitlin Anne and well done to Rach who, even though it was her third child, still went a week overdue (not enough Sawyer watching to get those hormones going young lady!). Ooh, and not forgetting daddy Scott, big sister Charlotte and big brother Cameron; I hope Caitlin brings lots of love and joy into all your lives!

Lots of love
Auntie Lou xx

Monday, 26 January 2009

Achoo achoo train!

Haha, even when I'm ill I can still come up with rubbish jokes!

Today was supposed to be a day of play dates but I had to cancel them as I came down with a horrible head cold last night. I think it was all the excitement of shopping for my dress for Gemma's wedding yesterday (and the shock of actually finding something that I love!) that did it.
Anyway, that meant me and Xander had an 'at home' day today, which gave us the perfect opportunity to dig this out:

This was Emily's when she was Xander's age and we all loved it. Rob dug it out of the loft at the weekend now that Xander's at the age where he just wouldn't eat it and Billy Jim absolutely LOVED it! As you can see, he recruited Cindy in the role of the Fat Controller (oh how un-PC, she's just fur-ically challenged!) and he's not moved all day. I'm just wondering now how we can surgically remove him in time for bed.

Right, I now need to take my poorly head and have a nice steam filled bath and an early night. I wonder what Rob will do with us all out of the way? Hmmm.....

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Once Upon A Time, There Were Some Book Worms...

I love reading. I get so excited about books these days and need to have some reading time every day or I get cranky! To say I barely read anything a few years ago, I've really surprised myself how into it I've become over the last few years. Last year I rattled my way through 23 novels and this year am already on my third.

I started January with a book by my favourite author of the moment: Jojo Moyes. I fell in love with her writing style after I read The Ship of Brides and promptly bought both my mum and mother-in-law copies and demanded they read it! I then ordered a couple more of her books from the internet and so on January 1st started The Peacock Emporium, which I loved:

Next up I read this book, which is a debut novel by a woman called Catherine O'Flynn. Can't remember where I had it recommended from, but it's a really good book and was up for the Booker Prize.
At the moment I'm reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which is about a girl growing up in Nazi Germany (hey, I ain't a typical chick lit kind of girl!); but what I love about it is it's narrated by Death! I always found that amusing about Terry Pratchett novels so this one really appealed to me.
I really love that both my kids are into reading too. Emily's flying at the moment and, aswell as the statutory school books, has always got her head stuck in some kind of novel.
Little Billy Jim is always chucking books at my head (that's his way of saying 'read it to me Mummy!'). Had a particularly nostalgic morning with him this week. For Christmas, I asked Nanna to start off his Mr Men book collection. He also got some money for Christmas so I added to the books Nanna had bought him and he now owns the first 17 books in the set:
(Oh and doesn't Little Miss Organised here just love lining them up in order!)
OK, so it may look like he has 17 books from the 'My M Lib' collection, but there are about another 30 books to go! The thing about him having the first 30 is that they're all the older Mr Men books; the one's I used to have as a kid. It was so weird reading the stories, with the exact same illustrations from 30 years ago (I used to love that swirly pattern on their shoes!).
Anyway, Xander loves the "Mi Men" and we are constantly reading them:
And you'll never guess which is his favourite....
Hmmm, can't think why!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Teeny Tiny Girl

I decided I wanted to scrap some of Emily's baby pictures but as we didn't have digital cameras in those days, I needed to do some scanning. So off I popped to my parents' this afternoon to get some pics on the pooter.

Just look at her! How did that tiny little thing (those clothes were tiny baby size, and we had to roll the legs up!) turn into the huge gargantuan child I have now in just 7 years?!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

So-Long T-Bag!

This post goes out to my sister, who is today nursing a broken heart:

(phew, at least she still managed her usual lunch!)...after the announcement that they're cancelling this show:
Yup, Tuesday evenings watching sweaty bad boys running around with guns are soon to be over. Now I must admit, after 4 series there's only so many times they can break out of (and indeed into) prison, the plots do tend to wear a little thin after that. However it's one of my favourite shows and it will be sadly missed.

I'm particularly going to miss my favourite character Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell, who used to give me the creeps but who I now find hilarious (especially his yellow rubber prosthetic arm!). He is the one liner king!:
In fact, I love T-Bag that much, that I have decided he can now feature in my fantasy tv show, alongside Will & Grace's Karen Walker:
Friends' Janice (also one of Em's favourites ever!):
And ER's Dr Romano (oooh, another fake arm, me's seeing a theme here for my show!): I will make it one day, oh yes I will. As soon as I discover that distant multi-millionaire relative who's going to back the production!

So, please bow your heads and say a fond farewell to T-Bag, Michael, Linc and Sucre; you have served us well!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Calling All Crafters...The Challenges Are Back!

So, it's been a while since we've had a challenge on the Garlics. So what better way to start a new year than with a nice new shiny scrapping challenge!

However, it's scrapping with a difference. My project this last week came from Scrapbooking magazine and was invented by Gerry van der Valden; it's an envelope bag. It's basically a good way to scrap an invent that you have a fair few photos from, so I thought it would be perfect for this Christmas's pictures (and yes, I still haven't finished 2007's album!). It's great also for holidays, birthdays etc. It's fairly easy to do and can be done easily in an afternoon.

This is what the finished product looks like:

Instead of using regular cardstock you use blank cards and envelopes. So, who fancies a go? Gerry does have some instructions on her website but they're for a slightly different bag so I'll give you instructions here on this one.
You will need:
5 6x4" cards and envelopes
2 sheets of patterened paper
some thick card or chipboard
1 - First of all, make a front and back cover from the thick card/chipboard. Gerry has a template here, you may need to scale it slightly and then just cut off the bottom (our version doesn't have this). I just made my own template by drawing a rectangle 17cm wide, 14cm deep, then adding a curve on top. You then just need to cut out a handle that's no less than 11cm from the bottom.
2 - Sand the edges then colour them with paint or ink. Cover the inside of the cardboard bag pieces with patterned paper, cut off any excess. Then repeat for the outside and embellish as desired.
3 - Cut the flaps off all the envelopes, and stick then together. Glue or tape 1cm in from the edges to create the 'concertina' effect.

4 - Adhere the stacked envelopes to the inside of the two covers.

5 - Create a page to go inside each envelope and add a tab to the top of each. You can use larger pages and fold (I used the blank cards that came with the envelopes).

6 - Embellish pages as desired and place inside envelopes.
Voila! Beautiful scrapping project! Happy scrapping!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Published By Emily!

It's amazing sometimes what my daughter comes up with; I can sometimes see the cogs turning I swear!

On the way home from a visit to see Auntie Laura and Evie this afternoon, Emily announces that she would like to publish a book when she gets home. She'd like to make Xander a 'That's Not My...' book (if you're not familiar with these, you can see some here). So, we were on the motorway anyway and Hobbycraft's only a couple of junctions further along...any excuse eh?!

So, she buys (for that read mummy buys) a big pack of card and some Mickey Mouse stickers (she's now decided to do a That's Not My Clubhouse book after dilly dallying around with pirates for a while!).

Straight after tea off she pops upstairs; giving me instructions to follow closely behind with my hole punch. She gets her little production line set up on her bedroom floor and starts working away on her masterpiece.

Within the hour, Emily had written, illustrated and published her very own book! Which she then read to Xander whist he had a bath; he loved it! And then before bed, she published the second book of her career entitled 'The Mum Who Rocked'. Featuring yours truely and co-starring Slash as guitarist in my band/future husband and our adorable children!

Ha! J.K. Rowling's got nothing on my daughter!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Remember My Name...FAME!!

You just know that theme tune's going to be going round your head all day now don't you?!

Before Christmas, I'd been having a conversation with Marie about various crafty projects, and she told me about some wrist warmers she was wanting to knit. Oooh lovely, says I, but what I could really do with is someone to come up with some ankle warmers. My permanently cold feet seem to have spread to my ankles lately and the old ankle does tend to get a tad drafty.

So anyways, off I went hoping one day someone would hear my prayers. Then, I was in my mecca, Primarni, on Monday evening (purchasing trousers for school which actually fit me after my mincepie-a-thon!) stood in the queue for the till. I turn round and lo and behold what are displayed behind me...


Not socks, not leg warmers, but bona fide genuine ankle warmers! It even said so on the packaging and they have a little strap to keep them on your ankles:

So, having found my dream and at the bargain price of £1.50 how many pairs do you think I snapped up?

ONE! Well, there's a recession you know and I had just bought 2 pairs of trousers at £6 a piece: I ain't made of money! OK, so I am now regretting not being a bit more extravagant and treating myself to the bright pink ones too; but the week is still young and there is bound to be another fashion emergency that only Primarni can resolve before the week is through!

In another news, I've also done the first scrapbooking layout of the year. Of course it had to be Whoops-A-Daisy Angel! I used a Anna Bowkis layout that I'd seen in a scrapbooking magazine for inspiration and it turned out OK:

It also gave me a chance to have a go at these pleated flowers I'd seen in Scrapbooking Magazine a couple of months ago. I like how they look but have no idea how I'm going to store them in my album!

Speaking of Whoops-A-Daisy, she's now Whoopth-A-Daithy as we have tooth number 3 missing (she does sound very cute with her lisp!).

There's another 3 that are very wobbly so she could look a bit like a boxer soon, but all she cares about is the cold hard cash she's going to be making out of the tooth fairy. Rob did try to head this off at the pass by saying that with the credit crunch, the tooth fairy had gone into liquidation; but she was having none of it!

Monday, 5 January 2009

Go Wee Wee!

Now that the festivities are out of the way and we're back to somewhat of a normal routine (whatever that is!), we're giving the little man a go at potty training. Isn't it amazing that you forget how it's done? OK it was 5 years ago with Emily, but you'd have thought it would be something you wouldn't forget. Or maybe it's like childbirth and it's so hideous you just blank it from your mind!

Anyway, we're giving it a good go: we have potties, Pull-Ups (with Cars on), In The Night Garden pants lurking in a drawer, books and toys in the toilet, half hourly 'Do you need to wee-wee on potty Xan?'s. All we need now is wee-wee! Well, he does tell us he's wee-wee'd right after he's done it so I suppose that's a start.

Wish us luck, I think we're going to need it!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

New Year Goodies!

I had a sudden urge today to do the first batch of baking of the year. Mainly spurred on by the amount of baking stuff left over from all the Christmas cooking plus a desire to use the food processor my mum gave me the other day (how did I live without one of those for so long?!)

So, first to be used up was some slightly(!) over-ripe bananas and some of the chocolate mountain that the kids had accumalated over the Christmas period. There's only one thing to make when you've lots of bananas, and that's Banana & Choc Chip Muffins (recipe donated by my lovely neighbour Jill!). I swear they are the easiest thing ever to whip up and they taste delicious!By now I was on a role and wanted to bake more stuff. Whilst Christmas shopping a couple of months ago, I spotted this little beauty in my local baragin book shop:
Instantly, my little cupcake queen Marie sprang to mind, so I picked one up as a little present for her. Then walked round the shop and went back to pick up another! So, I had a flick through and found a perfect recipe to try and use up some of the spice rack overflow: Spiced Apple Muffins:
The smell of them baking alone was enough to get anyone drooling!
Of course, my little crafty goddess-in-training wanted to get in on the baking frenzy, so she had a look through the book and chose to make these butterfly muffins:
We only had wholemeal self raising flour in the cupboard but thankfully this worked fine and was a healthy balance to the marshmallows and shocking pink buttercream! Emily certainly didn't have any complaints:
So, the only problem was that, 32 muffins later, we didn't have any room left in the cake box as it's still full of Christmas cake, mince pies and yule log! Thankfully, muffins freeze (I hope!) so they're now in my freezer for those 'oh, I've just popped round for a cuppa' moments. I'll get the kettle on...

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good night wherever they were.

We had a fantastic time with Ally and Steve. We started off with a curry (ooh, could just eat it again now!), then back to their's for a couple of drinks and some dodgy dancing round the kitchen to old 80s metal tunes (bit of Lita Ford anyone?!). OK, so me and Ally did, the blokes sat and watched Top Gear! Then, at 10.30 we set off to town and visited a couple of pubs before heading off to the market square to see the New Year in with the mayor, some fireworks and a few hundred drunk people!Thanks Ally and Steve for a great night!

My parents had the kids last night so we went to pick them up at lunchtime but also stopped for a New Years Day roast dinner, along with Gem and Dave. It was delicious and just what we needed after a night out partying (though we were surprisingly lacking in hangovers between us). Thanks mum for refuelling us all!

That also gave me the opportunity to pop on their scanner and scan in these pics so I can post them. They're the kids school/nursery pics and I love them! If there's any family out there who need a copy (or indeed anyone else!), just give me a shout and I'll print some off.
So, who's expecting a list of resolutions from me then? Well as my daughter would say: Resolutions? Pooalutions! It ain't happening! I'm not setting myself up for the fall by the end of January when I've failed miserably; so there's going to be no promises of loosing weight, making money, finally getting round to doing all those little jobs etc etc. I'm just going to relax and enjoy things as they happen: who cares if I don't have a 6 pack by the time we're laid on a beach in June? Let's face it, I didn't have one at 18, 3 stone lighter and 2 kids ago did I? So there's no point promising myself one now!
So, whatever 2009 brings I hope you enjoy it!