Nearly 2011 Rocking My World Friday

Firstly - where the flip did 2010 go? I mean... really!

So obviously top of my Rocking List is going to be Christmas. Because, I don't know if you noticed but that happened last week. There was a definite shift in mood this year. The last few have been pretty, well, putting on a show for the kids type of thing you know? I know exactly why - Mum always came to us for Christmas day and it just hasn't been the same without her.

I hit a black spot around the middle of the year and it affected everything - I kind of shut down. Crafting was minimal if at all, everything got on top of me and I cut myself off from family and friends and just fell behind on absolutely everything. I don't know why it affected me more this year in particular - 3 years on.

Towards the end of the year I started to come out of it again and am starting to feel more like myself. This Christmas has been a happy one again and I have a definite positive attitude for 2011. I think it's time to start living again rather than just existing.

On a completely shallow side I got lots of lovely pressies from friends and family who really seem to have 'got' me this year. Lots of books and crafting tools - a sewing machine, a wood burner, paints, brushes, pens, promarkers and handmade gifts. So thank you everyone :)

Craig's Mum made us a crocheted blanket for our bed, that really surprised me and I love it - it must have taken forever. I will try and get a decent picture... it's so snuggly and warm.

My sister found me a DVD of a film that I adored as a child, it was one my Mum had taped by accident one night when she was taping the film before it and had just let the video run through the night. Not like our exact timings of today or 'On Demand' TV. It became a firm favourite of mine - I can't believe my sister remembered it...
She commented to me that she had forgotten just how old it is - so old it's not even black and white, it's brown and white! It's a real feel good film, no blood, guts, vampires or monsters at all. Of course the rest of the family groaned and sent sis daggers when I opened it - they don't share my appreciation for the oldies. Though Devvie actually sat through the entire Miracle on 34th Street when it was on TV last week - the original version!

GABlinkLink

I have my first blog post allocation for Gauche Alchemy in January. When things were getting on top of me earlier in the year the lovely Amy let me take a step back while still remaining on the team. I still did the newsletter (my baby!) but not so much the crafting and blogging. I'm happy to be coming back on board and excited to be a proper part of the team again.

Lastly all you bloggy peeps, wherever you are in the world. I've been priviliged to meet some wonderful people through this little blog. Some I've even been able to meet up with face to face. I feel a very lucky girl to have made some fabulous, not to mention super talented and inspirational friends and you don't realise just how much you've all helped me this year.

*Quick smooshy group hug before I go even sillier*

I really hope Virginia continues on with Rocking Your World Friday as it really does make you appreciate the good things going on. Why not join us next year?

I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative New Year :)

2011? BRING IT ONNNNNNN!

New Year WOYWW

Ooh blimey I forgot what day it was! Still - time yet to join in. Though my desk is a disgrace and not with the excuse of crafting...

This lazy mare still hasn't put most of her pressies away. I don't know if you are like me but I love leaving them out so I can still "oooh" and "aaaah" days later. But I know I really must stop gazing and start putting away.

The Hetty hoover is a pressie from one of my sisters who lurks on my blog it seems - it came with a note telling me she expected to see a tidy desk this Wednesday. Sorry Sue! *shamefaced* She gives the best gifts, lots of thought... which usually make me laugh!

Father Christmas got it spot on this year and this blogger was thoroughly spoilt! This is me realising that Craig had popped a sewing machine under the tree...

...and the exact thoughts going through my head here were "I wonder if everyone really wants a roast dinner... will they notice if I slip off to play?..."

I will stop ogling and start tidying up tomorrow. After the New Year I have to start clearing out what will be my craft room (stu-stu-studio) at the unit and prepare to start moving stuff down there. So, need to be organised and ready.

Happy New Year WOYWWers :) And here's wishing you a happy, healthy and crafty 2011!

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrilliant Christmas Card

No you haven't got deja vu... I know I've shown him before but after doing a bit of blog hopping I thought I would drag out the pic of my one and only Christmas card this year to enter him into this months Stampotique Designers Challenge.
The criteria is to create a project that includes at least one punched shape and one die cut shape or image! Think this scrapes through... the dripping snow is a Martha Stewart punch (who knew it wasn't just good for blooooood?) and the tag must have been die cut at some stage in it's life? Worth a shot!

The snowy background is packaging card that has been edged with stamps. I used the Stampotique snowman that a lovely blogger sent me in a batch of Stampotique stamped images. The snowballs and wool came from my Gauche Alchemy Wedding Night White kit. And I have stickled everything to within an inch of it's life.

The sentiment is printed off the computer using one of my favourite free fonts. (Burton's Nightmare.)


Slightly off topic... Craig not only went on to get me a sewing machine for Christmas but I ordered the above Snowman stamp, Peggy and the kitty cat from the Stampotique site the other day... and he told me to put it on his card! Should I start to get worried now? Or should I just enjoy it?

I'm opting for just enjoying it at the mo! Who needs flowers eh? ;)

Christmas Rocking My World Friday!

It's Friday but not just any old Friday... It's CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS Eve!

So Rocking My World this week is having a white Christmas - I know it's been a pain and it's limited what we can do and where we can go and thousands if not millions of people have been inconvenienced in one way or another... and we've all had enough of it by now... both Craig and Devvie have both taken a tumble and it's cold... sooooo cold. I've been one of those people moaning about it for weeks now. But you know what? How magical will it be for that little part of you that still secretly wants a white Christmas every year? To open those curtains tomorrow and get your wish? I wont have to go out - just enjoying Christmas day, inside, with my family and there will be a white Christmas. Ours is nearly all gone now but I'm hoping that last little bit on the green outside stays just for one more day.

If it melts by Boxing Day all the better so we can go see Craig's parents.

My Alice Angel back in his rightful place atop a black tree surrounded by red tinsel and bright red berry lights. Doesn't he look right at home? A gift from Ewa last year. He's lived on my desk all year awaiting his time to shine again and look - there he is.

Blimey but my tree looks possessed when you walk past the window. All you see is this huge black thing with red glowing lights. Vay cool if I do say so myself and nope - this was the one bit of Christmas I did indeed put my foot down on years ago. Black tree, red lights, Alice angel. Tick, tick annnnd tick!

Going to Tesco's today for some final bits and pieces. On Christmas Eve! I know - how could that possibly be on my Rocking list? But we managed to get around, straight to a till and out in double quick time. Maybe it was because we went early - I don't know but after psyching myself up for wrestling the crowds it was a pleasant surprise indeed.

Outwitting Craig with Christmas for the first time ever this year - in previous years he has usually tracked down where, when and what I've bought him before Christmas Eve's even dawned. He's like a big kid when it comes to getting his presents and would put Poirot to shame with his sleuthing skills. However this year I believe I have out foxed the fox! MWAHAHAHAAR! It's been hard and I have zero nails left but I've done it godammit! I even managed to make him one and get it wrapped before he even had a clue! I'm so glad as well because he seems to have gone all out this year. Usually I present him with a list and he chooses a couple of bits off it. This time he hasn't asked me once. Not only do I have my craft room and PC tower - there has now appeared a large and a small package under the tree! So excited, I love surprises and ask him every year to just get me something he has chosen. Can't believe he really has this year!

Of course I still caught him with his bum in the air under the tree last night trying to feel and guess right up till the last minute. Nope - not gonna happen this year!

Apart from a few sniffles, an ear infection, a dodgy back that is NOT liking this cold and a burned finger with a huge blister (don't ask!) in the big scheme of things, everything considered, we are a happy and healthy family for this coming Christmas. Couldn't get more Rocking than that now can you?

Be sure to pop by Virginia's blog to join in - what's rocking your world this week?

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Happy Clappy WOYWW!

I'm afraid I don't have a piccie of my desk to show you today. It's so boring at the moment - just covered in piles and piles of books and Christmas stuff, I'm trying to make it look at least a little bit less shambolic before Christmas day - don't know who I'm trying to kid.

I do however have...

*pause for dramatic effect*

*Cue fanfare*

The 'before' pics of what will be my stu-stu-studio! (No I will never tire of chanting that in my head!)

To give you an idea of the scale/size of the place, that black desk in the right hand corner is 6 foot long... it is black honest Guv - it's just covered in 6 inches of dust at the mo!

This is the window that Craig reckons he is boarding up - for you see, it opens up into his office ;) Whereas I'm thinking he knows I'm a tea addict and will keep him well supplied so the boarding up will never happen.

As you can see - LOTS of work in the New Year but I still get very excited whenever I see it! I'm well impressed how light it is in there too considering there are no actual windows to the outside. I'm looking at that as no distractions. But indeed it is very light in there.

What do you reckon? Nice sized space methinks. Am going to go from cramped up in the dining room to a whole mahoosive room of my own! Woohoo!

Right, am running late tonight so will get the dinner on the go (tummy is a rumbling!) and then will be popping by your desks. Want to play along? Then surrender your soul to our esteemed leader Julia, just remember to leave a linky so we can all find you .

A very Merry Christmas to all WOYWWers... The regular rabble will get a Merry Christmas later.

Thanks for stopping by :)

*Editing to add* The room is in the unit that Craig rents. It's literally a 5 minute walk from our house - and yes Craig hopes this is the push I need to start selling - he is self employed himself so can help me with that side of things. It's a confidence thing really - I've been using the lack of space as an excuse.

Matchbox Fairy Swap

I participated in a Matchbox Fairy swap over on UKS recently. The criteria was literally to make a fairy out of anything and house it in a matchbox sized-ish box.

This is what I made for my recipient - she is imaginatively named... Buttons, because... well... that's what she's made of.

Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy Her hair is made of purple fibres from the Gauche Alchemy Purple People Eater kit - and her box is decorated with purple tissue paper from the same kit, Scraps of DCWV Once Upon A Time paper and punchinella/sequin waste (on the inside.)

Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Matchbox Button Fairy She was great fun to make and I must admit I love her to bits. Think it's the buttons, just love playing with them.

This was the gorgeous fairy I got back from my sender - the oh so talented "Kitty Crafts."

Isn't she amazing? She put her in a coffin because she knew I liked 'different' things. All the fairies turned out so unique - I love taking part in these swaps and seeing the different ways people interpret the subject.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Rocking My World Friday

Yeah! Friday yeah! Last day of school term which means no more freezing cold multiple treks up and down to school each day for a little while! What a great kick start to...

The brain child of Virginia ~ inspiring us all to look past the carpy lollocks and focus on the good stuff once a week.

I missed last week due to my PC just being a complete waste of desk space. BUT the first of my feel good moments is that I am, as of Sunday afternoon, now the proud owner of a new PC tower. Which houses a quad core no less. I say that like I know what it means. I don't. I just know I can now do what I do best which is have a zillion windows and other stuff running and I am zipping around so fast I'm almost giving myself whiplash!

This was supposed to be my one present for Christmas - we've been saving up all year for it - I've been on stash ban since April and am now just about running on empty with quite a lot of things so eldest ratbag Devvie and I have a stash jaunt planned for some point in the new year. The £1 a day savings have been handed over to PC World and we begin again saving up for that... but imagine my surprise when Craig tells me not only will I have a couple of surprise presents under the tree... he doesn't do surprise pressies. He does "tell me what you want and I'll buy it" presents so am excited now already... Yes, not only will there be a couple of surprises but... BUT... how would I feel about him emptying the back room of his unit and turning it into a craft room?

How would I feel?

Aaaaaaaargh!

He has a small 2 room and utility area unit. He would keep the front room and I would have the back one. We would share the utility bit.

1) I help him clean it out. At the moment it houses all his... well, junk is a polite way to put it. Big tools, packing materials, everything gets lobbed in there and it's a state. I help clear it out and he'll build me shelving units etc.

2) I can go down whenever he is there because there's only one key BUT... when the youngest ratbag goes to school of an afternoon I'll have around 2 and a half hours a day to just play. I have to PROMISE when I am there to pretend he isn't there, let him get on with his stuff and I get on with mine *start to laugh manically*

3) I can now get a sewing machine that works and can leave it set up without worrying about little fingers. I can leave stuff out and not have to tidy away all the time, It will be solely my area.

4) Craig gets the dining room back with my just keeping a skeletal craft supply at home, like my pencils and sketchbooks. Obviously my desk will stay but it will be tidy and not covered in towering mountains of wobbly craft supplies, cordoned off with hazard tape.

5) Craig can then start to expand the business because he will be able to go off and leave the unit unlocked while he goes to see other businesses on the estate. Just means buildery types might get a fright when they come in looking for him and find someone caterwauling along to Alice and splashing paint and glitter everywhere.

6) He wants me to use it as a springboard to start selling and he will help me out. He's self-employed so will give me a hand through that side of it. (Or in his words - he wants to pimp my stuff.)

7) It's a 5 minute walk from our house.

8) It's central heated! *sigh*

My one demand was that he wrap up the door in a big Christmassy bow and that I am allowed one, just one occasion when I hear he has a visitor... I get to yell through the interlocking window in my best Harry Enfield/Cathy Burke impression "Young maaaaayun, young maaayun. Would you and your friend like a cup of teaaaa? Ooh young maaayun!" Teehee. Apparently that's a no no. But I might.

Aren't I a lucky girl? When we start clearing it out I'll start taking progress piccies. I'm so excited. I can't decide whether to call it my craft room or declare it an artistes studio.

Next on my Rocking list (yep there's more...) Phoebe and Ruby both doing so well in their Christmas plays. Phoebe's was more a concert type thing and she read a Christmas poem aloud. Ruby's nursery show we worried about - all week she was teary, protesting that she was Ruby NOT Mary. On the day she did get on stage... minus Joseph who was sobbing and so the story was re-narrated as Mary the jilted single Mum... who had a tendency to kick the manger in a sullen sulk... oh joy. It was funny.

Next up - having nearly finished all our pressies. I didn't get as many made this year as hoped - I'm so behind on everything craft related at the mo but it will be different next year. No excuses now eh? But what hasn't been bought now - probably wont get bought. We did stick to our trying to reclaim Christmas. We won a lot, made a fair bit and used a skip load of vouchers that I had earned throughout the year. We'll carry on year on year, I already have so many more ideas for decorations and presents for next year. We're both quite proud with how much thought we have put into peoples pressies this year - tat was off the list. We didn't want to get things that would possibly end up just shoved to the back of the cupboard and I'm hopeful we might have managed it. Of course I could be completely wrong and people will think it's all rubbish but the thought has been there for everyone. It's all more or less wrapped too. Woohoo.

I'm going to wrap up there as this is a bit of an epic post and all text as most of my pictures are still on my old tower... sorry.

So lastly... it's just one week till Christmas! What's Rocking Your World this week?

Thanks for stopping by :)

Mmmmmm Chocolat


It's a whopper review - get comfy. I bought this book for the princely sum of 20p at a library sale.



Chocolat by Joanne Harris


We begin with the exotic and strong-minded independent Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk blowing into the small French village of Lansquenet on the wings of a carnival wind.

Travellers at heart they are at once seduced by the atmosphere and magic of the carnival and the smallness of the community. Vianne takes the lease of the old derelict bakers and prepares to open it as a chocolate boutique - much to the chagrin of the local priest Father Reynaud.
Furious that this woman, this SINGLE woman with child has dared to open up such a shop during Lent is bad enough for Reynaud - but the gall of the woman to open the monstrosity directly opposite his church enrages him. Desperately he tries to turn the villagers against her and is infuriated when one by one they are drawn as if by magic through the doors of the colourful chocolate shop.

Although this sounds a simple tale it is in fact quite intricate. Vianne hides many secrets about her past - the fact that her Mother was a lone parent traveller also, flitting from one country to the next until her death, thereby releasing Vianne from the constant travelling, constant running. But from what? And why does Vianne choose the same existence for herself and her own daughter?
Many people claimed her mother to be a witch - including her mother herself, a cruel name, not one that Vianne likes. She too has the way of the Pagans but refuses to use them for her own self-good. Instead drawing out what a person’s favourite chocolate is, gaining their trust and trying to better their lives.

An interesting and bizarre cast of characters grace the New York style stools of Vianne’s boutique these include:
Armande ~ The 80 year old rebel wealthy widow. Bored with being in constant mourning as her friends and family pop their clogs. She decides to just dress constantly in black but wears the naughty crimson red silk undies in protest. A diabetic with a fondness for the yummier things in life - she constantly infuriates her daughter by chowing down on chocolate and refusing to die.

Caro ~ The afore-mentioned daughter of Armande. The uptight label wearing, twin set and pearls leader of the ‘Bible Crew’, is constantly embarrassed at her Mothers eccentricity. Believing that everything should be prim and proper; a place for everything and everything in it’s place. Armande's place is a care home if only Caro could make her see it.

Luc ~ Caro’s long suffering son. You know the type. Mummies boy. Slicked back hair, shy - Billy No-mates. Too scared to voice his own opinion for fear of his Mother’s wrath he develops a stutter. Banned from seeing his Grandmother Armande because of her corruptive influence he gets the chance to shine when Vianne weaves her own unique magic in a cup of hot chocolate.

Anouk ~ Vianne’s very own daughter. No friends of her own because of the constant wanderlust that has been her life. Her only companion is Pantoufle the rabbit. Her imaginary friend. A bright young girl, vivid in her imagination and as talented as her Mother.
Guillaume ~ The gentle bachelor. Scrupulously neat - his constant companion is his faithful dog Charly. Who is dying. Too afraid to release the dog from it’s suffering and too caring not too he faces losing his oldest friend. Taken under the wing of Armande, an unlikely friendship is struck.

Josephine ~ The battered wife with an addiction to shoplifting as compensation. A beautiful heart hidden beneath a multitude of scars and bruises. The day she targets Vianne’s boutique for her little hobby is the day she turns her life around.
Roux ~ The traveller who sails into town on his barge but doesn’t get the chance to sail out again. Despised by Reynaud and his ‘Bible Crew’ he soon finds the stores and cafe’s of Lansquenet closed to him and his kin. All the stores but one that is.

Reynaud ~ The priest. Obsessed with righteousness and good. Repelled by sinners and their sins, perhaps not the best person to lead a congregation. Hiding secrets galore he slowly develops an unhealthy obsession with the ‘Pagan Witch’ that is Vianne. Believing her to be the cause of all the unrest and change in the village he sets out to get rid of her and her unruly brat too.

To say this book is not what I expected is a huge understatement. I ended up reading this in a day. I initially thought such old fashioned idealisms set in the scene of today seemed so unlikely. The feud between Reynaud and Vianne over CHOCOLATE - preposterous. And yet it worked... although having said that, I have since watched the film and it also works if you ignore the few mentions of present day technology and imagine it set in the past.

Most of the characters could easily be identified as people that wander around many towns and villages in any country. Perhaps that’s why they are so easy to identify with and feel compassion towards. Joanne Harris draws you in completely. What at first I thought was going to be a girly novel was SO not. So many issues are dealt with in the 320 pages - death, murder, suicide, and prejudice, friendship and much, much more. I found the odd paragraph typed in French a bit hard to understand (having dropped French in school as soon as was humanly possible) but these were few and far between, you got the general gist of what was meant.
I found the way the novel was set out extremely clever. It is told entirely through the eyes of Vianne and Reynaud, events are told to us second hand through their own words and thoughts... the whole novel spans just a couple of weeks, though it seems so much more.

I came away from this novel with a smile on my face ~ it didn’t end the way I hoped it would but I still came away satisfied. Joanne Harris encourages people to look inside themselves and find the good. You don’t need special powers to turn your life around - we all have the magic inside us to achieve it for ourselves.

I would recommend this book to absolutely everyone. If you are a chocolate fan then this will be a delicious treat just for the pure and simple fact that nearly every page has some form of chocolate being ingested in the most drool-inducing manner. Whether it be melted down and drunk with Tia-Maria or served warm over croissants. When you pick up this book check your diet in at the door. I will certainly be trying some of the suggestions myself; Joanne Harris gets full marks for managing a veritable chocolate recipe book so successfully entwined within a novel.

Go on - Indulge in some Chocolat.

ISBN: 0-552-9948-6
http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/

Oh and for the record - the film, even though it stars the luscious Johnny Depp just doesn't even begin to compare with the book. It is very sickly sweet where the book is actually quite dark.

Thanks for stopping by :)

*This review is adapted from one I wrote a fair while back on Ciao.co.uk*

Rocking My World Friday...


I know, I know I missed last week but it's a double whopper this week so it's allowed.

So last week I had a text from my big sister Donna asking me if I could be in on Friday just gone, around 1 - 3pm. She said there would be a delivery of our Christmas parcels. Thought no more about it. Come Friday there's a knock on the door and when I opened it there's an armful of pressies in my face and peeking round it... yep, my sister Donna. Talk about knock me down with a feather. Why was I so surprised? She lives in Fife, Scotland and I live waaaaaay darn sarf in Kent. There was an emergency that was not so great for her which is why she found herself suddenly in Kent but wowee what a fabulous surprise for me. Plus I loaded her up with my presents for her to take home. So not only fabby to sit and natter and catch up but also tick, tick on saving on postal charges too.

Next up, another visitor from Scotland, although this time she was expected, arrived that very same day. My friend Lesley came to stay over the weekend - feels like forever since she was last down. We've known each other for years and years - my oldest friend... as in time we've known each other - not saying she is decrepit or anything - even if she IS older than me.  We went to school together and then my family moved back to Kent shortly after I left school so now it's a once a year thing if we are lucky.

Ruby hogging Lesley's attention.

It was great to see her, we took the girls to the cinema - for Ruby is was her very first time and we watched Despicable Me - which I really loved so that too rocked my week...


Although we were all sad that Lesley had to head home on Monday, it's lucky she did as the dreaded white stuff finally hit us Monday night... and as usual most things ground to a halt. She would have been stranded here had she stayed any longer - which the girls had been hoping for. Cooper - usually a manic mutt charging round the house and bouncing off the walls whenever we get someone 'new' in the house, took to Lesley like a lovesick puppy and has been pining a little since she left. I can't understand what it was about her that had the calming effect on him - Craig reckons it's the accent. So now we know he has a fetish for ears and the Scottish language. Strange doggy!

Wednesday night we had around 8 inches of snow fall and it didn't stop all day Thursday. Schools are closed, we've had no post, people are panic buying.  I sent Craig down the Co-Op for emergency supplies... he came back with Pringles and chocolate Penguins. Hmm. We have no central heating so our little 'leccy heater is on overdrive and we are working those layers people. So today I am VERY thankful for my £1.50 yummy purple Primark fingerless gloves - they come off for toilet breaks and food prep only. Too much info? I care not a jot. I am also thankful for huge mugs of steaming tea and bowls of hot porridge... and for powdered milk. Not quite as disgusting as I feared! We tested it today - it's there should we need it.

Also the power of radio - we've had Radio Kent on all day yesterday in the background and honestly, the stories coming through of NHS workers battling their way to work, of 4x4 drivers phoning in offering their services to people that need anything - it really has served as a reminder that at least some of this human race are really genuinely thoughtful, decent and caring people.

Next up - Helen and Julia - both messaged me and let me know last week that Alice was on Desert Island Discs. I had been unaware till they told me and I really enjoyed finally catching up with it today. The link is still up for the moment if you'd like a listen. Thanks girls, for not only thinking I'd like it but for letting me know.
Alice the vampire - yum!

What rocked your world this week? Why not pop over to Virginia's and link up :)

Thanks as always for stopping by.

Alice

Hi everyone.Thought I'd post a sketch I did for one of the Rock R.I.P Circle Journal pages that passed through my hands... the actual sketch didn't make it into the journal but a scan of it did. I feel a bit guilty about that but it turned out to big for the book.

I'm starting to get more confident with my drawing and am noticing how the classes I've been doing (namely Suzi Blu and Willowing) are helping, not just with girl faces. I've never been able to do noses but I incorporated one of the Suzi classes into this without even thinking and it really helps.

Still a ways to go till I'm happy, more practice, lots of practice.

I am still doing crafty things but unfortunately - still can't show and tell till the end of the month.

Hope you are all home and warm and safe - it's finally stopped snowing here... for now.

Thank you as always for stopping by :)

WOYWW?


How are you on this blue skied crisp and wintry afternoon? Me? Why thank you for asking, I'm flipping freezing.

So on my desk today -
Well the pile of pressies at the end has grown... but still not wrapped. Those green bags beside my keyboard hold beads and charms which postie delivered this morning. I shall be playing with those later, I can't show you the end results until after the big C day. But I will say... there are chess pieces. And apples. And wolves. And a crystal heart or two. Hmm.

And I don't know if you can see on top of my PC tower in my WOYWW easel - look what arrived this morning...
My gorgeous ATC from Donna's 50 followers collection. Isn't it stunning? And I can say without any bias - her best one so far. It really has to be seen to be believed, I just keep looking at it - I'm keeping her in my easel till I can get a frame. Thank you Donna - I love her to bits. Check out the 50 ATC's gallery here.

If you'd like to play along and flaunt your play space then get thee to Julia's and link up so we can all find you. I hope to do a better rounds this week, had a combination of sick kiddlewinks last week plus PC that is slowly but surely grinding to a halt. OH is threatening to put off the new tower purchase until after Christmas so that it counts as having it on the day or after... NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Thanks as always for dropping by :)

What Would Kirk Do?


I won this book (after entering every comp I could find of it) from the New Classics website.

Night Of The Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall

“Jim Pike was the world’s biggest Star Trek fan — until two tours of duty in Afghanistan destroyed his faith in the human race. Now he sleepwalks through life as the assistant manager of a small hotel in downtown Houston. But when hundreds of Trekkies arrive in his lobby for a science fiction convention, Jim finds himself surrounded by costumed Klingons, Vulcans, and Ferengi — plus a strange virus that transforms its carriers into savage, flesh-eating zombies!”

A disaster at a secret government location unleashes the virus that will result with a Star Trek convention in Houston becoming overrun with zombie Klingons and Captain Picards.

Don't pick up this book thinking it's going to be one gag filled poke at Star Trek after another - it's not. The writers are obviously huge fans and it shows. There's a TON of Star Trek in jokes and nods to the entire series and genre, some I got, some I didn't. Upon a bit of digging on the net for example - it had completely passed me by that the chapters were named after some famous episodes. However - you don't HAVE to be a die hard fan of the Star Trek series to 'get' this book. There is a good story in here, Jim Pike, the soldier with issues, just wanting the quiet life with no responsibilities ends up our reluctant hero. He's a like-able character you'll be rooting for from the get go. With the Captain title thrust upon him he battles through the pages with his sidekick dressed as a Star Wars Princess Leia in her bikini of all things, accumulating and losing various members to his crew just trying to keep those that he cares for safe and uneaten. Unaware of how bad the invasion is and how widespread it perhaps has gotten, he battles the demons in his head as well as the ones shambling towards him from every angle.

Do I need to tell you how much I loved this book? I had wanted to read it as soon as I saw, in my opinion, the best book trailer ever on You Tube. I was worried that when I finally got hold of it that it would be one of those I had built up in my head so much that it could only be a let down. How wrong was I? Such a pleasant surprise to have a book exceed expectations. I'll even put my hands up and admit I had a genuine jump in my seat moment about two thirds through - and yes I was embarrassingly in public at the time.

There was also a twist at the end that I didn't see coming - always a good thing. If this book isn't made into a film it will be a travesty. Humour, horror, romance, Sci-Fi, zombies and Trekkies...tell me, what more could you possibly ask for from a book? Or a film!

I was going to offer up my copy as a giveaway but... I will read it again which I don't say often so I'm keeping it. Ner, ner, ner.

ISBN-10: 1594744637

http://www.kevindavidanderson.com/
http://www.samstall.com/

It's life Jim... but not as we know it!

(Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Knitivity Winner & a Giveaway


Drumroll please...

First name out of the virtual hat was...


Congratulations Wipso. If you can email me your address (addy in my profile) I'll get your book out to you tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it.

To take part in another giveaway hop on over to Claires blog. She's offering up the chance to win a £35 voucher to spend online in the CSN store. Lovely jubbly just in time for Christmas :)

Angel Giveaway...

She's doing it again! Marie over at Art From My Heart is giving you up to SEVEN chances to win one of her angels - depending how many people enter there could be up to three angels in the draw. I won one in her last giveaway and believe me - you don't want to miss out on this chance, they are even more beautiful and intricate up close... you have until December the 4th to enter.


What are you doing still here? Get your tush over there and while you are at it - wish her Happy Birthday for next week.

GO!

What's Rocking My World Friday :)


Yeeep
! Thanks to Donna for reminding me what day it is - I'm actually going to post RYWF on a Friday! Whoop!


First of all is my middle bubba reaching a decade this very day. Yep - doesn't seem possible but I only have one ratbag in single figures now.So proud of the way she is turning out and she's showing such a quick wit lately, am so glad to see she has inherited my love of sarcasm and stating the obvious.

Happy Birthday Phoebe-jeebee.

Next up to rock my week is my mental family... They've driven me NUTS since Wednesday. After my disagreement with the cropadile, my Dad, my sis and Craig have all been fussing around me like I'm some invalid. They've been trying to drag me up the hospital and all sorts. (I still had a headache and some nausea yesterday... but the bump had gone down, so my argument was I'd be wasting hospital time when they could be seeing someone who needed seeing.) At one point they've all been here and I did wonder if they were going to go for a leg and arm each and carry me out. BUT for all my whinging at them to leave me alone, it's given me a warm fuzzy feeling to know they care so much... don't worry, it only hurts now when I brush my hair or if I prod it to see if it still hurts.

And to be fair if it had happened to one of them they would have been in the car before the cropadile had finished bouncing. But that's my prerogative to be contrary. So to you fusspots, thank you - and Craig I could hear you whispering on the phone to Dad. You are rubbish conspirators.

Next up is a win. I blogged a giveaway the other day - you still have chance to enter until Monday - just click here and leave a comment. But what really made me smile was that within half an hour of posting my giveaway, I received an email telling me I had won this...


Comping karma? Or the Comping Fairy? Whatever - it did make me smile a big old smile and it means I can carry on my zombie infatuation for a wee while longer.

Tonight we have been scoffing Malteaser cake for Phoebe's birthday, we've Children in Need on in the background and I'm doing this post and some online Christmas shopping on the sly. So a pretty relaxed evening all in all.

What's been rocking your world this week? Let us know and link up with Virginia :)

Thanks as always for stopping by!

JLS Card

What do you do for the JLS obsessive in your life who is about to hit the momentous double digits?

Download a piccie from Google. Head to Picnik, play around a bit and add a sentiment.

Print.

Slap on uber pink card.

Sit back and bask in the forth coming slobbery kisses and adoration.


Excuse it's crumpled state and the grainy picture. Pheebs was so chuffed she took it to school today and the light is now really bad for getting a picture.

Ain't I just zooming up the ranks eh? From non-card maker to reluctant card maker... very soon I could class my self as... *gasp* actual card maker! That's about 3 in a row I've made and liked! I think I just have to stop comparing myself to those that do works of art loaded down with product. Just because I don't do mine that way doesn't make me not one.

*ping* Light bulb moment!

Did you feel that?

I think I just graduated up.

***Happy Birthday my Phoebe Monster!***

A Little Tip...


...when the metal, unprotected bit of a Cropadile hits you full whack in the head after falling from a great height... it flipping well hurts! And it leaves a golf ball sized lump along with a lingering feeling of tenderness and nausea. I don't recommend it.Good news is though - when it bounces off your skull and smashes into your glass topped desk... it wont smash the glass. Oh no - you can rest assured that wont even chip! So - yeah, win on that count!

Ouchie!

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday.

Hahaaaaaaaa! I managed it! And on a Wednesday too!


Not an awful lot of creativity at the moment. The pile of stuff at the end of my desk and on the chair is Christmas pressies waiting to be wrapped. The pile at the other end is clothes my youngest has outgrown that are on the momentous and long journey to my fabric box. (That's code for - when I can be harsed to take the two steps to my shelf to put them in the box!)

There are two books next to that, one of which is the one for my giveaway (to enter please see the post below this or swivel eyes to your right and click the pic in my sidebar) the other is the journal book in Sian's Pass The Book which I'm nearly finished and hope to be offering that up at the end of this month. It's fabby it is! The book above the pile of clothes is the latest zombie one I'm reading - Night Of The Living Trekkies. Oh 'tis so good! Will review, will definitely review.

And that my lovelies is that! I am being creative but still most of it I can't show till after December the 25th.

Thanks for stopping by - get those kettles on, I'm on my way! What? You don't know what I'm waffling about? Why not head over to Julia's and see what all the fuss is about, then photo the area where you play and link up. Now, go get that kettle on and chuck a few hobnobs in there as well please :)

Book Giveaway :)

I'm going to mention the dreaded word again so cover your eyes now if you aren't ready.

CHRISTMAS! Yes Christmas is a coming folks. I thought as it's such a crisp and frosty morning out there, making me feel all seasonal and festive, I'd offer up a giveaway.

I actually won this book from The Book People when they ran a craft competition on Twitter. T'was my Journal inspired Duckie made for the wonderful Sandra that did it for me. *Yay!*

The book I won was Knitivity by Fiona Goble. It's a lovely book, but I don't knit. (Yet!) I was doing a little happy dance just for the simple fact that they chose Duckie so am more than happy to pass on my good luck."In times of thrift, shop-bought stuff can feel a little meaningless. Surely it's more satisfying to create something all your own that can be handed down through the family, carrying memories with it? And where better to start than with the ultimate family craft project, the Christmas decorations. This book provides a fresh slant on the traditional Nativity scene. In it you will find all the knitting patterns you will need, including the Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, the Shepherds, the Angels and the animals.

The book contains patterns for sixteen projects and a cardboard stable and a manger.

It is suitable for all levels of knitting skill and includes instructions for the basic knitting stitches as well as the special stitches for the finishing touches.
The Nativity story is retold alongside the knitting instructions for all the family to enjoy."

You don't have to follow me to win - to be honest I would rather you only did that if you really do want to come back. Lurkers are more than welcome. Everyone who comments gets one entry... so spam away if you like, you'll still only get one entry. (Scrooge? Moi?) I will post internationally as well. I'll put the names in the virtual hat and draw a name... say next Monday? Yep Monday the 22nd. That gives you a week to enter.

I would ask that if you win and knit up a storm from the book, I'd love you to show me a piccie or a link to a piccie - I bet The Book People would love to see too. Their Twitter page is here.

Good luck and thanks as always for stopping by :)

What's Rocking My World Friday :)


...On Saturday again! I know, I know!

Here we go...

This week I'm loving the free, free, FREE but absolutely fantastic journalling class I've been doing. I'm just about to start week 2 but think the actual class is up to week 4. However on the (did I say FREE?) downloadable video's Tam, the class creator, says that the classes will most likely be kept up indefinitely so it's not to late to join up and take part.I find this so generous, the classes are so detailed and I'm definitely enjoying messing about with paint and FINALLY getting my journal pages started. Loving this class!

Next up - feeling Christmassy in a slightly panicked "aaaargh it can't be so near already" kind of way. I'm signed up to a couple of Secret Santa swaps with some crafty people. Fabulous and totally sneaky way of my getting round my stash ban I thought - AND stash shopping for other people is, I've found, equally if not more pleasurable than it is just doing it for myself. Have had a couple of bits arrive today and (after finishing drooling and stroking) I'm going to be wrapping those up later. Craig and I went actual *shudder* shopping center shopping during the week. And although we both said we probably wont do to much more of it - preferring the less chaotic and more unusual gifts you can find online... we did get a good chunk out of the way.

Now - I really need to crack on with making some pressies as I have so far made a grand total of... one! Eep! I wanted to try and make sure that everyone had a handmade gift this year whether made by me or something that I have bought handmade buy someone else - I really love getting handmade gifts myself . I have bought four so far and made the one so am on my way to my mission.

I may have to dig out my Nat & Dean CD later for when I start wrapping (Who's that laughing? Shaddup!)

What else do we have... oh yes, Craig as usual for just being himself and being supportive when lumbered with this emotional car wreck of a girlfriend that he has *g* I'm a tough cookie to live with, I know that myself and quite honestly I think he's mental to have stuck it out this long but there y'go. Obviously insane and that's why we rub along so well together.

My girls - we are having a crafty sesh this afternoon. And although this week we have had our moments - oh my word have we had our moments... One is well and truly into hormone combusting teenagerdom, one is a 3 year old railing against the world who can't understand why we don't acknowledge her supreme ruler status and one nearly 10 year old kinda stuck in the middle... who I can glimpse is about to step over into that hormonal teenage phase and I'm desperately holding onto her shirt tails to stop her going. ...But we still manage, just, to play together nicely for a couple of hours. Thank the heavens for this past time of ours eh?

Oh, oh and all the lovely comments received on my first bloggy book review earlier in the week - Thank you. I've really dived back into my books this year, I was using the "I don't have time" excuse for ages but now I'm making time and realising how I missed my old friends within those pages. Expect more! (Your own fault!)

What rocked your world this week? If you fancy playing along then come link up with Virginia so we can find you :)


Thanks you as always for stopping by!

Me, Me, Me!

I finished my first week of the free Art, Heart and Healing class last night. (Only a couple of weeks behind everyone else!)
One of my Rocking Friday friends Jo told me to prepare for a roller coaster emotional ride. She wasn't wrong - and if this is only the first week?? Well... watch out is all I can say. Luckily I have noticed the definite shift in my mood this week has been for the positive and I didn't attribute it at all to this course... until last night when I finished the page.

You have to start off by writing down a list of all the negative thoughts and feelings about yourself and then think about what positive things your self conscious might be trying to say with the harmful feelings. Then Gesso over the negativity and start sketching an image to represent yourself, a positive image - not a full on perfect photographic image (thankfully) but an image to represent yourself. There are fabulous step by step instructions on how to do this within the class. It is so detailed it's hard to believe it's free.Then you build up layers and layers and layers and then more layers and then another layer for good luck until there is no trace of negativity left on the page.

Finally you go back and look at the positives list and bring it together into one phrase and one word that your own self is trying to tell you.

All sentimental tosh I thought, but I did it because it was part of the lesson.She looks quite pleased with herself about something doesn't she? I don't think it's sentimental tosh anymore - so maybe she has good reason to.

My phrase - You are stronger than you think you are.
And my word... confidence.

It encompasses so much.

The background is Gesso, watercolour crayons, stamps AND watercolour pencils. Yes, The watercolour pencils. I didn't have a brayer so that side of it was done with a rolling pin.

Next up, the last circle journal I was working on asked for people to, if they felt like it, cartoonise themselves on the sign in page. I used to do this all the time when I was a teen. Draw cartoon charicatures of myself and my sister - mainly my sister so I jumped at the chance to play at that again. This was the result... I was quite chuffed with how she turned out so scanned her in and uploaded her as my avatar before I prepare to send her (me?) on her (my) way.

I used Copics and Sparkly Micas to colour her in - hence the grainy look, it's the sparkles caught in mid twinkle.

Thanks as always for stopping by :)

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Bare (bear?) with me, it’s been a loooooong time since I attempted to review anything and I'm very rusty.

This was a book I won over on the Gollancz Dark Fantasy Facebook page.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews


“Atlanta would be a nice place to live if it wasn’t for the magic…”

This book is set on Earth but way, way in the future. Magic and mythology are no longer a thing of fiction and legend. Kate Daniels lives in a world where Magic and Tech fight for co-existence. When the Magic flares up, everything technological fails and dies - cars, phones, lights, guns etc. When the Tech kicks back in, the magic is not so strong - things like protective wards will fail. Kate is a skint mercenary for hire who cleans up the problems caused by Magic, however she is not prepared for the power struggle she finds herself caught up in when her Guardian is murdered and two magical fractions, The Masters of the Dead (necromancers) and the Pack (shape-shifters) collide.

First of all I’ll explain a bit about my reading habits. I used to have time to sit and just read solidly. Obviously since having the girls and with everything else going on - my reading habits have changed drastically. Now I take a new book over to the car. I read it in snatches between waiting for the kids to come out of school or clubs etc. and judge how good a book is by how fast it comes back over to the house and time is MADE to read it. At first I just read snippets of Magic Bites over a few days. But as more and more characters were introduced I was finding it hard to keep track and so it came back over to the house.

Once I sat and gave the book proper attention I was pretty quickly hooked into the story. I love the different take on vampires than we‘ve seen of late - you’ll find no inter human/vamp romance here. Vampires are powerful, vicious un-dead controlled by the necromancers who use them as weapons and scouts. The longer the vampire has been dead the less human-like and more monstrous and blood hungry it evolves into until with the oldest vampires - they are unrecognisable killing machines with not a hint of humanity. No rugged good looks or shiny sparkliness here then.

I find myself comparing this book a bit to The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Kate almost reminded me a bit of Dresden (a Warlock PI for hire) in her attitude and bolshiness which in turn ends up putting those she cares about at risk. The Earth of the future is a scary one, inhabited by all sorts of powerful beasts that we had presumed to be those of fictional stories.

I did enjoy this book and I like how, as the climax drew closer, the imagery of the violence got more descriptive with a few ‘ew’ points that I hadn’t been expecting. It made the right impact and wasn’t over done in my opinion. There was a lot of humour and not to much schmaltzy romance. There were hints at sexual tension between Kate and a few of the male characters (both human and otherwise) but not so much that you know instantly who or even if she’ll end up with anyone in the next book Magic Burns. I like that - I get fed up sometimes of reading these genre of books for them to just come down to a romance in the end - I like that there is a story.

I would say that if you like things like the True Blood books or The Dresden Files then you would definitely like this. Lots of action, lots of humour, some sexual tension, a kick arse heroine and skip loads of mythological and paranormal beasties - vampires, shape shifters, zombies… oh my!

Recommended :)

ISBN 978-0-575-09393-5
www.ilona-andrews.com

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

If you'd like to have known more - have any pointers on future reviews or simply have recommendations of similar books you think I'd enjoy please drop me a comment.

Rocking My World Friday...

...on Saturday. Honestly - this time I was convinced it was Friday today so on that basis, I'm not late!

Let's go!First, thank you for all your lovely wishes for last week when I mentioned that something had happened, potentially impacting on the next day.

Well that something DID impact on what was happening on Monday but I was so wrong to think it was a negative. I can't really go into details... well I can but I like to think I'm a better person than that... a handful of you know what has been going on in our lives for the past 10 years. Some of you know more than others - I think only my sister knows everything but those that do know will know why I am SO proud of how wonderful my eldest daughter has turned out. I love all my children but she has had so much more to contend with than her little sisters and she could have so easily let it affect her negatively.

Anyway - Monday came, what we had to go through... happened. And where we thought we had been stitched up and left to hang the day before, we couldn't have been more wrong. Instead we had the help of an amazing superwoman crossed with a pitbull. As a result, it's over. I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense to a lot of you but to some it will and you will know how happy we are to find that the law isn't always an ass. Sometimes the good guys win. And we did. And everything, EVERYTHING is in my beautiful daughter's hands now. We aren't naive enough to think everything will just go away but we do have the law on our side now and so the problem becomes an annoying background buzz like a mosquito that can be swatted.

Oh - yeah, and I came out of it completely exonerated too. Not to shabby a day indeed.

Next up to rock my week (and totally shallow!) is Craig treating me to a purple fix! Told you it was shallow. We went shopping with my Dad to Lakeside shopping center the other day. Oh God I can't tell you how I detest shopping at the best of times but do it in a crowded shopping center and that's my idea of torture right there. To me, if the shopping doesn't result in purchases of paint, paper, glue or glitter of some description then really... what's the point? The internet was invented specifically so I DON'T have to visit these places. It's true. But Dad likes to go once a year and so off we went. Got stuck in traffic at the Dartford tolls, ploughed our way through crowds of manic, shouty, sweaty shoppers and had a not very nice lunch.

First off to lighten the day was youngest ratbag doing the Cbeebies Boogy Beebies dance moves past every shop that was blasting music out the door... so that was all of them. So, so funny. We were in stitches walking behind her.

Then at the end, when we finally gave in to above mentioned eldest daughter and allowed ourselves to be dragged into a Primark store that spans 3 levels (3 levels of sheer torturous realms of Hell) we came out the other side, traumatised and sweaty but clasping a huge brown paper bag that held nestled within... a pair of purple fingerless gloves, a pair of purple tartan jimjams AND a pair of purple converse-ish trainers! FOR ME! For the total princely sum of £11.50! Whoo hoo!

AND as we were heading out towards the car, gulping in fresh air like we had been starved of it (which we had!) my Dad presented me with two bars of this...
Mmmmmmmarmite chocolate. I can confirm it's delicious! Salty with a hint of tang - reminded me a bit of those chocolate covered pretzels that were out a while back. It's only half hour after consuming you start smacking your lips thinking, hmmm, I can taste Marmite. Very peculiar indeed. And I shared. Only to watch the expressions on everyone else's faces mind you! Teehee. My Dad refused point blank to even try it. Mmmmmarmite!

Lastly, I am finally starting the Art, Heart & Healing free workshop tonight. Yeah, yeah late as usual but I've been wanting to get everything else out of the way and up to date before I started.
I've seen some beautiful work, particularly from Sam, so am very excited to actually start.
I'm hoping it's going to work really well alongside some of the stuff I'm learning with the Suzi Blu class I'm doing (and also behind on - noticing a theme here?) - that's been really helpful in my drawing already.

So - what's rocked your world this week? Join us over at Virginia's in kicking the dark stuff up the jacksy and focusing on the smiles :)

Thanks for stopping by!

WOYWW? on Thursday :)

Late again but at least I made it.  Feels like ages since I've played along with WOYWW. I fully intended to upload last night but after getting the dreaded blue screen of death 3 times - I gave up and watched The Apprentice instead.

So yesterday afternoon......A pile of clothes to be mended - a certain zombietastic daughter manages to blow holes in the backside of ALL her clothes! I don't know how she does it! The clothes are on a huge pile of Scotland brochures that I didn't order - no matter what the OH thinks. Am taking it as an omen that we should book our holiday soon.

The notebook is my researching some ways to make some more pennies and the book pile is a general to be read and maybe review pile.

And yesterday evening...

...the pile of clothes have gone - I did indeed mend them - dodgily done but mended anyway.
The sparkly shoes are my youngest's - she's gone through the soles but I love them and am wondering how I can salvage the sequins.

The box is a little box of goodies that arrived from dotcomgiftshop to play with and review. Yum! Although Devvie has put dibs on almost everything in it so may have to be a joint craft sesh that one.

Fancy playing along and showing us what's on your workdesk? Nip along to Julia's and linky up - don't be shy, show us what you've got.

Thanks as always for stopping by!

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