Big Squishy Waltzingmouse Hugs & Old Friends!

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I have a bit of a thing for …graph paper.
Not sure where the love has come from.
Possibly stemmed from the colouring pages I used to do as a kid- like this

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I think it’s the repeating pattern idea- if you don’t believe I’ve used graph paper on my card- here’s a close up

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The set which is beautiful is called Gift Card It from Waltzingmouse Stamps here

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The set is all about creating gift cards.. some gorgeous sentiments. I’ve not even started making a gift card greeting yet! There’s a brilliant die that goes with it too. Their service is super speedy and I really recommend them. The paper and gold adhesive sheet is from Cosmo Cricket.

Today I met up with an old friend. One I’ve been utterly rubbish about keeping in touch with. It was lovely to pick up where we’d left off nearly 7 years later. Amazing isn’t it how friendship with some people just spans time.. with no expectations, just a connection and bond nearly as unique as the person you’re friends with.
It was lovely trying to cram the past 7 years into a couple of hours. We did it pretty well, but vowed not to leave it so long this time.
Here’s to friends, chatting and whiling away the hours. Who do you miss and who would you love to spend a few hours with?

Off to catch up with some ironing.
As if.
xx

April 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm 6 comments

SugarPea Designs & Barbara Braberers!

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Hey!
I’m over at Make The Day Special
with a new company ‘SugarPea Designs
I’ve just used part of the set ‘Take A Load Off’ ( now wouldn’t it be nice if someone did!’

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I’ve added my own ‘line’ and hearts and trimmed out the spaces for the socks by tracing around the outside of the stamps.

It’s musical where we are. There’s always someone singing. The are varying degrees of musicality, precision, and silliness.
Recently the boys have been singing
“Barbara Streisand…woo-ooh-ooh-ooo”.
They had no concept of who or what ‘Barbara Streisand’ was. It made me laugh.
Equally funny is Will’s tripping over certain words.
“Mum, can we go to the brabrerers?”
“The what?”
“The braberers”
“Umm”
“Where we get our hair cut”
“Oh- the barbers”
“Yes- I can’t say it”
“Say bar…”
“Bar…”
“Bers”
“Bers” he replies.
“Bar-bers” I repeat slowly
“Bra-berers”
Ha ha!
Well, we’re off there shortly.
They love going because of tag mini pack of Haribos that accompanies all haircuts.
Adult cuts are never that exciting.

Better run.. Eldest is applying for a drivers license.
Now the fun really begins!
xx

April 15, 2014 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

Easter with Lawn Fawn & Cleaning

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So, I got playing last night. Just for fun. Doesn’t happen much. I was supposed to be working. Oops.
Having done tons of ‘other’ stuff ( more on that later), I hadn’t had chance to crack out Cole’s ABC’s dies. I wanted to try a new hanging technique- nope, not on my hubby (!) but by die cutting the sentiment, leaving the negative as a ‘shadow’ and then hanging the letters on top. It’s so new, I kinda just created it! So I guess it would come under the Lawnscaping ‘try something new’ challenge here ( he he!)

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You can see better what I’ve done in that pic. Lining up the hanging letters was such fun ( not). I’ve actually used several sets; Happy Trails ( for the ‘happy’, and Hello Sunshine for the hearts and dashed line. I’ve popped some ‘Let’s Polka’ & ‘Hello Sunshine’ paper on there too.
I didn’t have many bunny stamps. I’ve the Mama Elephant ‘Honey Bunny’ set and I’ve plans for that next week.

With only having 3 kids at home at the mo (the other two return Saturday), life is much more relaxed. So much so that I had chance to sit and gaze out of my windows.
Dearie me.
They’re shocking.
Steve was skitting me as I cleaned them with white vinegar. The room smelled a little like a Fish and Chip shop but at least the windows are somewhat better. There’s just the rest of the house to do.
I also had a bash at the carpets. Took all day. I don’t know how people keep their houses so beautifully – I struggle to keep mine tidy never mind beautifully clean.
I’m a little worried now.
Everytime I get ahead- and tidy and lots of things organised, something tends to come a cropper.
Last time was a couple of weeks back and Steve got taken into hospital. I’m just enjoying the semi-clean feeling and wishing I had a maid and cleaner.
Ha ha.
Can you imagine.
Downton Abbey eat your heart out.
Thing is, they’d quit. With the noise, bustle and kids mess they’d hand in their notice before the week was out.
Guess it’s down to me.
I keep roping the kids in, but they make even more mess straight after!!

Here’s to happy kids and clean homes. I’m not sure I can do both! Any tips for me- I’m all ears!

See you when I’ve enjoyed my last day of calm until two suitcases of dirty washing returns! x

April 11, 2014 at 10:55 am 8 comments

Lawn Fawn & More Beaches

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Sometimes life brings around lovely happystances ( good circumstances!!). In my freelance job for various magazines, sometimes I get really unique commissions. One such one was from Crafts Beautiful to do a series called ’5 Ways With’ based on a particular manufacturers new range. I had to hunt down ranges & in doing so came to be in touch with Kelly Marie Alvarez. She’s the owner of Lawn Fawn and one of the nicest people in the US craft industry. She generously sent out a TON of stuff – some so new, they even had the Velcro from where they’d been stuck onto the CHA14 stand boards! Obviously we are working quite a few months in advance & the May issue is just out. There are 5 beautifully photographed Lawn Fawn cards all on the theme of ‘scenes’.

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I’ve used a heap of sets- including these

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20140410-091206.jpg and these lovely papers and embellishments

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If you like the sets- you can visit Make The Day Special to purchase them. I’m not showing you all of them- you’ll have to buy the mag to see the rest..!

Yesterday I was a little stiff ( again!!). We decided to venture on a walk that involved following a typed out trail and a not-to-scale-map.
Should have been easy.
Ahem..
Is anything our family does ever straightforward?!!
We plumped for a little train travel which was supposed to add to the excitement. It did. Mostly.
Apart from the point where you’re visiting the underground part of the railway and the escalators are so high-angled and the kids so wriggly that my heart was in mouth plenty of times.
Once on the walk, it involved crossing two railways. One was secure, the other, you were told ‘just make sure you look and listen well’. Walking straight onto a track knowing that ‘trains cross here every few minutes’ was a little unsettling.
The next instruction was ‘cross through the golf course watching out for balls’!
Was this the ‘Bear Grylls walk’ in the local vicinity or was it just to give the folders target practice?!!
We walked through VERY quickly and came to the forested area. Legs tired quickly and we stopped for lunch after finding the most perfectly placed picnic table and chairs. Whilst eating our lunch we were treated to the surreal sight of police officers waving at us as they sped through the forest on quad bikes!
We got to the beach portion of the walk. The littliest was complaining of tiredness and apart from the broken glass on the beach, sand in their eyes and dodging the crazy dogs we had a great hour beachcombing and playing football thanks to finding a ball on the beach!

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We were glad of the beach however, as it washed off the copious dollops of mud on our shoes. I wasn’t bothered- I told them we could wash the shoes but honestly, I seem to have unexpectedly raised neat freaks who were most concerned about the state of their shoes!!
We got a little lost.
The map was unspecific about which way you were doing the loop and I was unsure which way we were supposed to be heading along the beach. As it was an hours walk along the beach, I knew a wrong decision wasn’t going to go down well. Despite the lack of GPRS, we survived but then got lost in the forest too.
There was a great deal of whining by this point, they’d walked nearly 4 miles and although it’s not really far, it was windy on the beach and I think they were tired.
We relievedly reached the train station, got on the train but had to alight a stop before we were supposed to. We boarded another train to get the next place. The train after that took us somewhere we weren’t planning on going!
The escalators loomed and one of mine said they didn’t like heights.
Great.
The littlie decided to shout very loudly every sign he saw. People looked at him as he shouted ‘hold on tight, stand to the right!’. He repeated the phrase over and over but I was too tired to remonstrate him.
We couldn’t get to the stop we needed, so I had to drag them through town. Littlie was stopping every few minutes and if he could have stopped, sat down and never got up, he would have.
We finally reached the last train – ironically for all this train faffing, we could have driven the whole journey in 40 minutes!!
One started to worry that the car wouldn’t still be there, another decided we may have been broken into and yet another reckoned I couldn’t remember where we left the car.
The car was silent as I drove home- I’d finally managed to wear my kids out.
The next morning- it was quiet. No one rose early and all complained that their legs were stiff.
Not as stiff as mine.
The secret to good parenting?
Take them into dangerous situations where they may be run over, hit by golf balls, take them running along the beach ( avoiding the police, this time razzing it in a Landrover on the beach!!), do 7 individual train journeys, eat in the forest and you’ll end up with 3 tired but compliant kids!!

See you when I’ve been to the cinema ( also known as how to fall asleep in 5 minutes as it’s so dark and nobody is calling your name!) Xx

April 10, 2014 at 9:41 am 6 comments

Unity & docrafts Adventures!

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Morning! I’m sorry to have been away for so long- I’ve been travelling and working & other stuff- so much so, I’ve hardly had a minute to myself!

I’m over on Make The Day Special today with this project because the store are saying Goodbye to Unity. Not unity in general!- us gals are a pretty tight knit group but the company Unity who produce some beautiful sets. I was surprised at how many different styles they produce- there is something for absolutely everyone- from CAS, to artsy, to grungy, to cute.

This card combines two sets

and I’ve showcased quite a few projects harnessing the Harvest of Memories set (just pop the title into the search bar)

They have another 25% off, if you enter UNITY25 at the checkout, and it will remove the 25% as the order goes through. The paper is Fresh Cut from Basic Grey.

 

I have been a busy bee.. done a little travelling (if you can count Abingdon & Bournemouth as travelling!) The first place, Abingdon was to see my lovely friend Carole who has been doing quite a sterling job adding simplicity to the crafting world. For any of you with the WRMK envelope board or the Stampin’Up! one, she (with a little help from her techie husband David) have produced a gismo to give you the measurements of any sized envelope when you just pop in the cards measurements.

It’s GENIUS and it’s here.

A little bird tells me someone super famous in the crafting community will be featuring it on their blog very soon- I’ll tell you about that when it happens.

Her blog is here and she’s well worth a visit- she’s a marvel with the Silhouette- even gives coaching too.

After I’d laughed, got several inky alcohol stains all over my hands which I then realised needing removing pronto as they wouldn’t look good in filming, I scubbed them and fortunately got them clean.

She served some very awesome ‘duck puddings’ (we were in the South- good grief, she’s posh!!) & we crafted and sorted the world’s problems out in around 2 hours & then I had to go to bed reasonably early as needed to be on the road for 7am!

Filming for docrafts with Katy Godbeer & Rob is always funny & nervewracking and a case of thinking on your feet..like when you realise you’ve left the glue runner on the other side of the room and rather than having to do another take, you manage to carry on, gently stuffing the items into the pockets unstuck & hoping they’ll remain in place there for long enough to get the filming finished!

I went back to my Best Western hotel after a brief visit to HQ and was disappointed to find there wasn’t a bath.

It was supposedly one of the best hotels in Bournemouth (according to the travel reviewers) & it was certainly beautiful downstairs.photo 4-2

Having 5 kids and very little ‘downtime’ , an unhurried soak in the bath is my idea of relaxation (amongst other things!). So no bath was a little disappointing. I was scrupulously clean but a little on the ’80′s side’ in my bedroom anyway. I was showing my friend Virginia the pics and she (living in Canada) thought it was ‘quaintphoto 2-16

The staff were really lovely & I couldn’t fault anything else (other than the crazily noisy fan in the bathroom which was more annoying than a whiney child!!)

Before I checked out, I went on a lovely beach walk (my legs were sore the day after on my demo day!!) photo 3-8

When checking, there was the usual ‘was everything ok with your stay, madam’.

I told her how lovely the hotel was, clean, with attentive staff but mentioned the fan and the ‘sans bath’. She replied

‘well you should have booked a bath when you made your reservation’

I looked a little surprised.

This was not the time to bring up the fact I’d asked for a sea-view when booking and instead got one of the car park.

‘I didn’t realise I needed to book a bath’

She repeated her comment, maybe she thought I was a little hard of hearing.

‘You needed to have requested a bath when booking’.

At this point I wasn’t impressed. I replied

‘I have been to many hotels, and never have I needed to ‘book a bath’ before’

I guess you live and learn.

Britishness prevented me from issuing the following statement

‘Oh, ok. What’s next? Booking a kettle? Booking clean sheets?’!!

The manager emailed me (standard email) on Sunday morning, so I related this to him.

He’s yet to get back to me!

Maybe in light of the fact I was only 5 minutes away from the sea, I should have gone for a soak there? I’m not sure the swimming pool was the correct place either. Someone mentioned that I should just have sat in the bottom of the shower?

I didn’t fancy that option either.

Ah well, now you know.

Always book a bath… and maybe check there’s a roof on the hotel and a door on your bedroom whilst you’re at it!! (he he!)

 

See you when I’ve braved another beach to take the bottom 3 kidlets on a walk,

xx

 

 

April 8, 2014 at 10:04 am 14 comments

Carte Noire Coffee Review

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Afternoon. Did someone say coffee?
Occasionally I’m lucky enough to get the chance to review various things. This time I was sent some Carte Noire coffee pods.
You know I’m a compete sucker for packaging.
This is how it came.

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These cute little pods are to go in the Nespresso machines. For any of you into pampering goods- the packaging has a luxury almost beauty feel

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These pods are designed for Nespresso type machines. I have a CitiZ one and love the no-mess, super quick delivery system.
So- once I’d stopped oohing and aahing over the packaging and planning how I was going to repurpose the box and ribbon(!!) I got to using the coffee.
Now- a word of warning.
I’m an uneducated coffee drinker.
The tasting notes that came with the packs were really helpful- super helpful in fact.
As I was sipping and wondering- ‘I like that taste but have absolutely no idea what it is’- the notes clued me in.
I have to admit- neat espresso isn’t for me. I tried it- but maybe I’m not cultured enough. However, done as a flat white ( I’m learning!!) the coffee was really delicious. No.3 was my favourite.
My daughter however, is a different kettle of fish ( or should that be beans!).
She has done some barista training and so I volunteered her to try them out and give her more sophisticated view.
Here’s her view of the 4 coffees. (She’s only 17!)
“No3 has a shiny glossy crema and the coffee itself is smooth and delicate. It has dark almost nutty notes.

No5 lighter crema however the shot flowed seamlessly from the machine. Very aromatic.
Bitter cocoa offset with fruity berry note.

No7 much lighter crema. Bold dark pungent aroma. Earthy flavour, almost woody.

No9- much less crema, very strong flavours, dark roasted shown by the much darker crema.

The smell of the coffee is instant as each package is opened however this seems to be diluted after the espresso is made.”
She’s fair, to the point and a much more suitable judge.

Want my review.
Gorgeous sophisticated packaging-you feel like you’re having a treat.
Amazing aroma as the pods come out of the packaging.
No.3 is my favourite. I’d buy this again- as I prefer a less intense coffee.
Make the coffee, shut your eyes and you can easily imagine you’re in a little Italian cafe being serenaded by a guitarist.
…It works for me!
I loved being sent this new coffee to review. I’d recommend you try it ( even if only to enjoy the packaging! ;-)
The pods are in boxes of 10 with a RRP of £2.79 which I think is great value –particularly when this coffee made with my machine is so much better than going out to my local ***** (couldn’t really say which coffee shop now could I !).

Go and put your feet up, grab a pod, make a flat white ( or even espresso if you’re really cultured!!) get your favourite book..and relax!

(The crafty bit is courtesy of Hero Arts ‘Need Caffeine’ stamps & Basic Grey Fresh Cut papers.)

April 2, 2014 at 7:24 am 6 comments

Penelope’s Blossoms & ‘How Do You Do It’

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Morning. Today I have the sad news that I’m giving up blogging forever.

 

 

 

Did you believe me? April Fool’s!

Yeah- a poor one really ,but the best I could do under the circumstances!!

Today’s flowery fusion is using the ever lovely ‘Penelope’s Blossoms’ (click to take you to the Make The Day Special store page)

I wanted to make the whole panel one complete piece- which required some fussy masking. I trimmed out one of the tiny leaf sprigs and the banner onto post-it notes & stamped the leaves, covered one over with the post-it mask & went to stamp the banner then realised that I needed two sprig masks. Because it was so finicky, I couldn’t be bothered to cut out another one, so thought I’d stamp half the banner, move the mask over & restamp the other half. This was the result

photo 2-14You can see both the mistake & the leafy stamping. Once I’d stamped the initial two springs I just masked over the banner and got stampingphoto 3-6

It looks a mess, but once stamped & cut out, I stamped the flowers in bright and vibrant Hero Arts inks, trimmed those out & added to the card. A little flower goes a long way to being a coverup!photo 1-14a

People often seem generally surprised when I tell them how many children we have. There is one usual comment/question that follows that..

‘How do you do it?’

I usually have one of two (& possibly both at the same time) stock responses. when I say stock, they’re no less true, just often repeated..

‘Badly’

“with God’s help’.

Most people, were they a fly upon my wall, would never then ask that question. They’d be too busy laughing that they’d probably fall off the wall seeing the family antics.

Take the other morning.

The backstory.. (Steve in hospital..one very tired mum & several unsettled children.)

‘Mum, mum, mum, I think my plaster has fallen off’. That’s how I awoke at about 6:45 with a plasterless child peering at me.

“WILL YOU TURN OFF THAT RADIO’..silence… more pleading…increasing decibel level as two sisters get into a fracas over a radio alarm that neither intended to get out of bed and turn off.

Tears.

Stomping.

Someone had lost their shirt. It was there the night before. It had now magically disappeared under a pile of teddybears.

Running..Running. Running from two different directions.

Slam.

‘Why did you run when you knew I was going to the bathroom?’ The slower child stands crossly outside the door. Amidst pleadings of calm from me, there is now a noisy ‘shush’ ‘shush’ ‘stop it’ as the rabbit is remonstrated for doing something forbidden.

Littlie has now found the shirt but I clock he’s not wearing new socks, so send him back for a clean pair.

Another child has run downstairs and you can hear a ‘beep, beep,beep’.

“oh, no” comes the response. The house alarm is switched off in the nick of time.

By this point I’m nearly dressed, during which time I’ve had a letter thrust at me, a conversation about ‘I’m not going to school today’ as they had had a ‘D&V’ bug the day before.

Someone helpfully shouts downstairs ‘there’s no 48 hour sick rule in our school’ (unlike the primary school). Said child is cross and folorn as they realise that they have to go back to school. This is news to me- although welcome, as I can visit hubby in hospital more easily. Then comes panic as they realise that this new information means that they will be having Food Technology & therefore need all the cooking ingredients.

Downstairs, there is an animated conversation about who had more cereal than the other yesterday and whose fault it is that there is no favoured cereal left. One child resigns themselves to toast as I run top speed downstairs to measure & bag up 10 cooking ingredients.

The ‘cooking child’ is upstairs panicking about having to go to school & meanwhile there are three of us in the kitchen emptying lunchboxes and decanting the sandwiches in the fridge into the boxes. One child decides they have gone off a certain fruit & another is trying to hide the evidence of the fact they’ve eaten two miniscule bites out of their apple yesterday. I clock them. They’re not happy.

Cooking child now flies into the kitchen & despite me having sorted the ingredients out, now panics over the fact that she hasn’t a sick note. We have a protracted discussion over how the form tutor will be sympathetic because her Dad is in hospital & her mother is not superwoman & cannot possibly do everything.

Some kids have had breakfast. Others haven’t managed.

I am now expected to cough up a sizeable amount of cash to pay for something I was unaware of & tell the child I don’t have it. One sister pleads with moneybags daughter to lend it to her, & after some debate, the money is handed over.

It is now too close for comfort. I have to get 3 kids to one school & 2 kids to another. I bundle them out & the everyday ‘who is going to sit in the front seat’ hustings begins. That matter decided upon, we get into the car & whilst I play soothing Classic Fm on the radio, others stick in their headphones & sing along to their preferred music much to the annoyance of the person sitting next to them who has a cacophony of clashing sounds entering their ears. After the usual discussions/debates, the 3 girls get out for school & the boys heave a sigh of relief.

We have a 15 minute drive across the city where one child wants to read me his story book & insists I sign it whilst driving despite me explaining (again) that I can’t use a pen whilst driving. Once stopped, and book signed, we check spellings– oh dear, we haven’t done them. In the mishap of hospital, the spellings haven’t been done. The boy becomes distressed & I tell him it will be fine & his teacher won’t mind.

They get out, run into school & I exchange brief chats with the school mums.

I hurry back to the car, forgetting I’m driving Steve’s car & so walk straight past it.

I get in & exhale.

The time is 8:50. I’m just beginning the day!!

 

I suspect the answer to the original question on a morning like that is ‘badly’. Having 5 kids is brilliant …& exhausting. Next time someone asks me how I do it, I shall direct them to this blog post!

Better go- I’ve typed for way too long. See you when I’ve written the ‘absent from school’ explanation. I got a text and an email today telling me to send it in!

xx

 

 

 

April 1, 2014 at 1:57 am 8 comments

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Welcome

Hi there! I'm Keren, a Mum of 6 living in the UK with my extremely long suffering husband. I craft for therapy (with 5 kids, what do you expect!). I do some freelance craft work, hold craft classes and love papercrafting, scrapbooking and fabric. Baking is another passion too.
Things in my life that are important to me is being a Christian and I go to a great church in Liverpool.

Please say Hi!- feel free to make comments or drop me a line kerenjb@hotmail.co.uk.

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