My Family & Other Animals

Thursday, 28 November 2013

"He's Trying To Find Out Who's Naughty Or Nice..."

Hiya, I'm back again as promised. So go on then, what have you been this year? I have most definitely tried to be Nice and I think I have pulled it off most of the time, it's not always been easy though when you work in the retail sector!! but this year I have made a concerted effort to not drag myself down to other people's levels. For the longest time, when a customer annoyed me I felt it was okay to basically slag them off after they had driven off - I thought this was a win/win situation because they couldn't hear what I was saying about them (good for customer relations!!), I also got to get things off my chest when it happened, thus not taking my negativity home with me. Now though I just let it go, I don't hang on to it and if I find myself cursing them in my head, I tell myself off and just let it go. This had been really beneficial as it has really stopped me getting so wound up and I feel much healthier mentally.
On the Good News front, I saw The Darkness (again) on Tuesday night. They were, of course, A-May-Zing. They played some rare tracks (including their awesome brand new single which had only been released that day), some B-Sides and a few other hits and then they finished off the second half of the show by playing 'Permission To Land' their first album, in full, from track 1 to track 10 and it was a pure rock moment. Now rock isn't usually my thing, I do like a few bands (Queen, Daughtry, Bon Jovi) but generally I am an R 'n B/Hip-Hop kind of fella but there is something really, really special about this band, Justin Hawkins is one of the finest lead singers to ever stand in front of a mic.
Jo and I managed to spend a fortune on Monday when we went Xmas shopping - but I guess I am now preaching to the choir eh! We are almost done now, just a couple of last minute gifts to get my son and I think we are finished so it's not all bad. I actually enjoyed it this time, the shop was quite Christmassy but without all those really annoying Christmas songs we have all heard a million times over and the shop wasn't overcrowded with people who just really don't want to be there and take great pleasure in running their trollies into your shins!
Anyhoo, that's my news and now on to my card. I wanted to make a Christmas card with a difference and I think I have succeeded. I have used a Kenny K image, a Memory Box die (the bauble), a Marianne die (Christmas trees) and a X-Cut die (the alphabet), the papers came free with a magazine and for a pleasant change they weren't made of that flimsy paper that was used to make toilet rolls in the 1970's!
Hope you like the card and I hope you are as up to date with your shopping as we are 'cause the closer to xmas we get I do not envy those that haven't!
Have a great week,
take care and
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into:
Kenny K Kraft Krew Challenge #160 - Anything Goes
Addicted To Stamps And More! Challenge #73 - Holidays
Baffles Kreativladen Challenge #26 - Anything Goes (Alles Erlaubt!)
The Crafter's Café Challenge #39 - Anything Goes
Crafting By Designs Challenge - Christmas/Winter
4 Crafty Chicks Challenge #170 - Christmas
4 Crafty Girlz Challenge #7 - Anything Goes
Cute Card Thursday Challenge #297 - Anything Goes
Aud Sentiments Challenge #94 - Any Sentiment
Copic Marker Europe Challenge # 23 - Everything About Christmas
I Heart ProMarkers Challenge #196 - Anything Goes
Inklings and Yarns Challenge #37 - Anything Goes

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

"But The Fire Is So Delightful..."

Hi Ho Gentle Reader,
let me begin a post without an apology but an explanation instead.
It's been a good few weeks since my last post and the reason I haven't posted is I simply haven't had anything new to show you! I was tempted to repost a really old card but instead I decided to wait until I had something new for you instead and this is what I have come up with, another white on white card but with a wee twist.
For the base I used a musical embossing folder and then all the dies used are from Spellbinders. I have finished it off with a couple of stamps (the sentiment and the mistletoe leaves) and a small silver snowflake charm. I got the idea for the giant snowflake (behind the sentiment plaque) from a card by Sue Wilson which she had on a Create and Craft show.
So, I believe there are only five weekends left 'til Christmas!
Jo keeps asking me if I feel 'Christmassy' yet but if I am totally honest with you I think the Christmas spirit left me quite a few years ago now. I am not saying that I hate Christmas or anything like that, I just kind of feel like I have finally outgrown it. I am 50 next year, an age that absolutely fills my heart with horror, but I no longer get overly bothered about my Birthday (unless it's a milestone one!!), it's just another day really and I feel pretty much the same about Christmas. We get ourselves into such a state, shopping like we are possessed, fretting over the 'just perfect' present and sweating over an overworked oven and for what ? One day a year, a day that is meant to celebrate the birth of Out Lord but we are so brainwashed by the TV that we only know that Christmas is really on it's way when we hear the Coca Cola advert singing 'The Holidays Are Coming, The Holidays Are Coming'!!
As a holiday, it pretty much means that mums everywhere start working 80 hour weeks about three weeks from the big day and by the time the day itself finally arrives most of us are left feeling deflated and a little remorseful by ten O'clock in the morning. Our solution; crack another tinny open! Christmas seems to be the only day of the year when it become acceptable to start drinking strong alcohol before we even eat breakfast. Every year we are given presents by family members who suddenly seem to show a startling lack of knowledge about the gift's recipient, I for one always seem to be given a bathroom set that has a large bottle of bubble bath or bath salts, of course  this would be lovely if I only had a bath!! We live in a very small bungalow and as space is at a premium we have only ever had a shower in the bathroom, something you would think friends and family alike would notice when they visit. I know you will be thinking 'It's the thought that counts' but I'm sorry, when there has been no though put into the gift then I would sooner have a warm handshake or a cuddle from someone than a gift that has been given with no consideration to you at all. Whoever I buy a gift for, whether it's a token gift for a work-mate or a more expensive present for a loved one, I spend all my time thinking about what to get them, I want people to know that they mean something to me, not that they have just about managed to remember my name!
Gosh, you must be thinking I am the world's worst Scrooge by now but I can assure you, I DO enjoy the day usually (assuming Jo an I haven't been sent to our bed by some mystery virus - something that has happened too often to be funny!), I love the exchanging of gifts with my wife, the most thoughtful person I have ever had the pleasure to know, I love visiting my Goddaughters to give them their gifts and I even love the huge Sunday dinner that comes with all the trappings!, but if the Government were to announce tomorrow that Christmas had been cancelled then I don't think I would lose any sleep over it.
I'm sorry if this little rant  upsets you in any way but I feel I have to tell it like it is here, this is my chance to let you know what I really think. If you want to let me know what you think then please leave me a comment, I love hearing from you.
Before I go I must say a big thank you and a hello to my latest followers,
so until next time,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
take care,
x o x o

Entered Into:
Cards Und More Challenge #94 - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Clear It Out Challenge - Anything Goes/Put A Snowflake On Your Card
Crafty Sentiment Designs Challenge - Christmas
Fan-Tastic Tuesday Challenge #10 - Make It Fancy
Sweet Stamps Challenge #144 - Anything Goes
Through The Craft Room Door Challenge - Nov 19 - 25th Anything Goes
Try It On Tuesday Challenge - White On White
Anonymous Stamps Challenge - Anything Goes
Artistic Inspirations Challenge #68 - Anything Goes/Friendship
The Crafty Bloggers Challenge - Christmas
Created With Love Challenge #67 - Anything Goes
Creative Creations Challenge #63 - Sparkle And Shine

Monday, 4 November 2013

"Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful..."

Hello Gentle Reader, I hope you are keeping well. It's been fairly quiet here over the last ten days or so, what with our various ailments, Jo and I rarely leave the house these days. If we want anything we use the Internet, with ASDA's Home-Shopping being the greatest use of the web ever.
Of course, you can't use the Interweb when it comes to visiting family or friends and trust me, if I could find a way around that I would! So Jo and I went to my son Liam's house last week to meet his new girlfriend for the first time. Holly-Marie (her stage name if you don't mind!) was super, such a lovely girl, she made Jo and I feel like we had known her for years, she has a lovely relaxed demeanour and she is making my son very happy at the moment so she is alright by me. With a love of gaming that seems to match my son's I think that he finally has someone in his life who can share in his obsessions instead of just watching from the sidelines. She is into vintage clothing and has a very unique style, as a potential future daughter-in-law she makes a great fit into the family.
On a more bizarre note, I have started to watch Eastenders again after about a twelve year hiatus from the show. Jo and I used to watch all the soaps - Coronation St. Eastenders, Emmerdale, Home & Away, Brookside, Neighbours & Family Affairs (but NEVER Hollyoaks!). We found that as they followed each other day, after day, after day they were beginning to take over our life (or at least that's how it felt at the time), so we said enough is enough and stopped watching them all in one go, it was surprisingly easy to do; no withdrawal or anything! But I recently read that one of my favourite 'actors' Danny Dyer (I say actor in the loosest term possible, I know he's cr*p but I love him, he is just too cool for school! plus he will fit right in with the atrocious acting that is already on display in the show) will be joining the cast of Eastenders so I felt I had to start watching again before he starts in it so I can at least follow the stories. One of the main reasons for stopping watching Eastenders was that I found it to be very depressing and so I start watching it again on the very night Janine Butcher once again murders someone! I just hope Danny joins sooner rather than later as at this rate I will give it up again if I find it starting to bring me down!
As you can see. I have been busy making this years batch of Christmas Cards. This one has a little side panel with a bookmark in it. I don't know who is going to get it yet but I did enjoy making it. The image is obviously another one of my fave Kenny K's, I say obviously because I have coloured her so many times now it's ridiculous. I have used some Marianne (Ski's and Snowflake) dies and some Spellbinders (Ornament and Curly Holly Vine and Stamp set, also heat embossed with clear powder), the berries being made from ProMarker coloured half-pearls. I think the paper is from Papermania but don't hang me if that's not right!
As a little treat to ourselves, Jo and I have now set Saturday evening aside as The Strictly X-Factor Movie Musical extravaganza night. We watch Strictly Come Dancing followed by The X-Factor and round it off with a movie musical, classic or contemporary, which we take turns in picking. I chose 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' for the first week as Jo had never seen it before and I absolutely love that film, the costumes, the songs, the actors, everything about it is just a joy to behold. Jo's choice for Saturday was 'Gypsy' starring Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell as I had never seen it before. I loved it, Rosalind Russell was brilliant in it and it's the first thing I have ever seen Karl Malden in that didn't make me want to drown him with a bag full of hungry cats! I am now looking forward to this week's treat as it is my choice again and I have already chosen 'DreamGirls', BeyoncĂ© is beyond amazing in it and Jennifer Hudson breaks my heart when she sings 'And I Am Telling You...', a great movie all round.
We also went to the latest Craft Fayre put on by Sincerely Yours on Saturday afternoon. There weren't many retailers there really as most people are gearing up for the N.E.C. this weekend. I did manage to get a couple of lovely Magnolia stamps though and the latest MagnoliaInk magazine. I have managed to buy every issue of it so far (except Issue 1 which I missed!) and while I love the stuff people do in it and I find it really inspirational too, in truth it must be one of the worst magazines out there for mistakes. Whoever proof reads it before printing either doesn't have English as their first language (in which case I can forgive them some of their Faux Pas) or they are just illiterate, which is slightly harder to forgive. I have even toyed with the idea of getting in touch with them and offering my services for free, as the mistakes are the only things that stop the magazine from being perfect.
 Anyhoo, that's me, all talked out and ready to start watching the excellent Ripper Street, so take care of yourself,
Hugs 'n Stuff,
Entered Into:
Kenny K Krafty Krew Challenge #159 - Pumps and Pearls
365 Cards Challenge #308 - Men In Blue
Artistic Inspirations Challenge #66 - Anything Goes/Spots and Stripes
Card Mania Challenge #33 - Anything Goes
Craft Your Passion Challenge #187 - More Than One Fold
Craftin' Desert Divas Craft It Up & Link It Up Linky Party Challenge #18 - Anything Goes
Crafty Bloggers Network Challenge - Christmas
Creative Creations Challenge #22 - Books
House Of Gilli Challenge - Anything Goes
Lawnscaping Challenge #69 - Let A Sentiment Stand Out
Love To Scrap Challenge #17 - Anything Goes
Make It Monday Challenge #165 - Anything Goes
Scrapbook Stamp Society Challenge #26 - Anything Goes
Sparkle 'n Sprinkle Challenge #25 - Anything Goes with Glitter, Embossing Powder and/or Flocking
The Paper Girls Challenge #43 - Cut It Out
The Paper Nest Dolls Challenge #16 - Anything Goes
Through The Purple Haze Challenge - Anything Goes