Saturday, June 28, 2008

Social Butterfly!

I've been quite the social butterfly the last couple of days! Thursday night I put on my glad rags, my hair falls and my make-up, smothered myself with glitter and got on the bus to travel to the Hafla with all the girls. We got there early enough to be able to run through a couple of the dances before the show started; the first one went through perfectly, but the second was a disaster! We all had set places in the choreography and because a couple of people weren't there in time to do the practice, it really muddled us all up. It's funny how you rely on visual clues and certain people being around you. We were all then terrified about the actual performance thinking that we'd all mess up, but it was fine! Both performances went without a hitch and we all floated off the stage in a complete high!

There were some really great dancers there, and some complete beginners, but we all had good fun, enjoyed the dancing, ate and drank plenty from the group picnics and danced at the free-for-all at the end.

I love these costumes!

I admire anyone who can do a sword dance, particularly in a group!

Friday night I had a barbeque to go to at school, which I'd kind of been dreading as Dad worked at the same school and I knew that people were going to want to talk to me about him and give me their condolences and stuff. But I also knew that I had to go and show my face because people would want to see me, and also if I kept putting it off, I would fret about it all summer and going back in September would be much harder. I knew it might get a bit emotional and it did. However, my Head of Dept turned up with a bottle of vodka and after sharing the bottle with her, I felt alot better. We have a good understanding.


The same night I also had an invitation for a birthday party for one of the girls from college, so when I left the BBQ, I headed off round to my friends where the party was being held. It was in full swing when I arrived so I gave my gift to the birthday girl, poured myself a drink and joined the fun. We had big fireworks in the garden; one of the girls partners does professional firework displays and he'd set up a *cough* small display in the garden. Okay, it wasn't really a small display, we had to put our hands over our ears the bangs were so loud and the garden was way too small really, but you only live once! *lol* They also had some Chinese lanterns which were like hot air balloons, you lit them from underneath, let the balloon heat up and let it float off into the sky. Two went off without a hitch but the last one caught fire and went sailing off over the rooftops, then we heard the police helicopter coming over so we ran back into the house giggling like school girls. We also had party games; pass the parcel, cutting up chocolate with a knife and fork and a pair of gloves, and also a pinata!

And so here we are, Saturday afternoon and I'm not really feeling fragile anymore, but I'm quite tired; I've been out nearly every night this week, so tonight M and I are having a night in together!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Never tickle a sleeping dragon...

I treated myself the other day. Mum and I went to a great garden centre where I spied this little sweetie on a shelf. I always promised myself that if I found another garden dragon I liked, that he would come home with me. Meet Digbert, Norberts little brother.

As I was photographing him this afternoon Keilo decided to come and investigate...

First she kissed the camera....

And then she kissed Digbert... He is obviously welcomed to the family!

Marks sister gave me this yesterday; isn't it beautiful? And the colours co-ordinate perfectly with the rest of my garden

We're having some problems here in my home town at the moment. Our local water supply has been contaminated with the Cryptosporidium bug and we've been advised that neither we nor pets should drink the water without boiling it first. We're not even allowed to brush our teeth with out boiling the water first. This is a real pain for me, I drink loads of water and if you boil water, it takes ages to cool enough to drink. I don't want to keep putting hot water in the fridge because that will knacker the fridge up. We've been told that the bug isn't dangerous unless you're very young, or very old, or have an auto-immune disease. Well, that's me buggered then! Pah. Local shops have pretty much sold out of bottled water; I did manage to buy an eight pack earlier, so we have a bit to last us. Thank god we don't have kids. Maybe I'm just suggestible, but I do feel a little queasy and crampy every now and again!

Anyway, tonight is the Hafla. Yay! A Hafla is a bellydancing party. We all take food to contribute to a sort of indoor picnic (in Britain it's safer to picnic indoors *lol*) and the drink flows freely! I'm looking forward to it in trepidation. It's a good fun night, but I have two performances to take part in; that's two choreography's to remember! Luckily I won't be on my own, so if I forget, I should be able to copy someone near me until I remember *lol*

This is what I've whipped up this afternoon to take for the party 'picnic'; mini falafels balls, which I bake in the oven to be a little healthier,

and mini pitta bread pizzas. There's also some cheesy garlic pitta bread, and some carrot and celery sticks. I've had to soak those in cooled boiled water!

They should be all cool now, so I can pack those up for later; then I'm free to get ready for tonight!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Walkies and Wide legged trews

Did you all have a good Solstice? M and I walked up to Rabbit field and celebrated there; the downside was that I got munched to bits by the midges and have spent the last day or so looking like I have chickenpox! Oww! I'm sensitive to insect bites and boy do they love me! I've even had to resort to taking some anti-histamines to try and counteract the effects a little.

Today I took the Hound of the Baskervilles up to Rabbit field for a good run around and a camera phone photo shoot...

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Said 'Hello' to Mr. Oak Tree

Admired the wild flowers covering the fields...

I finished off some wide legged trousers I've been making - possible to wear at the Hafla on Thursday night. I based the pattern on a pair of trousers that I already had with a few adjustments.

Then I sewed it all together....

And here are my wide legged trews! They're nice and swishy and look like a divided skirt. I found the material in a charity shop and it's more of a purple colour than it seems in the picture. It's also kinda stretchy, but only sideways if you understand what I mean? I need to see if I can find the iron...


And in the same charity shop I found this pillowcase for 50p. I didn't see the Disney motif till I got it home, I thought it was a nice plain starry pillowcase that I could turn into a little summer top.

So I made a tote bag instead

I cut the motif off and made it into a pocket. It'll make a nice WIP project bag; it's very roomy!!

There's a fair few hippy folks signed up for the Hippy Swap over on Craftster; I can't wait to get crafting. There's some great ideas bouncing around!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I've been tagged!!!

Fellow blogger Lou tagged me for this:
"The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer."

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?:
Ten years ago I was 28 and living in rented accommodation which had been flooded with over five feet of river water two months earlier. We had dehumidifiers going all day, trying to get rid of the damp; we had no floor, no heating, no kitchen and were living upstairs in two rooms. We hadn't been able to get alternative accommodation as we had no children and had pets and there just wasn't enough housing. We lived like that for two years. A huge area in our town had been flooded.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?:
Well, as the day is already drawing to an end..not too much, but tomorrow my to-do list involves:

-Job hunting! The trials and tribulations of being an hourly paid teacher! I don't get paid for those long summer holidays and I still have bills to pay!

- Finishing my outfit for Thursdays Hafla (Eeeek!)

- Grocery shopping! We always do it on a Monday. That way the nice things last all week and don't get consumed during a weekend binge *lol*

- Some more embroidery on my jacket
- Taking my dog Joe for a nice long walk at Rabbit Field!


3) Snacks I enjoy:

- Strawberries!
- Ice-cream

- Chocolate! What girl doesn't?
- Garlic bread :-) A guilty pleasure!

- Falafels

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
- Travel round the world

- Set up a big crafts studio space where local artists and crafts people can rent working/selling studios for reasonable prices. There's just nowhere for small businesses to start up round here.

- Have a home somewhere warm! I just hate the cold :-)

- Set up an animal sanctuary.

5) Places I have lived:
- Northampton

- Hanley

- Stafford

- Buxton

6) Jobs I have had:
- Art Teacher

- Pottery teacher for adults with special needs

- Educational support for students with special needs

- BT operator

- Bar maid in a nightclub

7) People I want to know more about

- Kookie

- 2paw

- Dragonflyducky

- The Felt Fairy

- Tasketbasket

- Lynda

Okay, so if you've done this before, or don't fancy doing it, feel free to bow out :-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not just a jacket anymore

Do you remember my dusky pink jacket that I bought in a charity shop some months back? Well, it's been adorning Chi'iana for far too long and last night I decided that enough was enough, so I stripped it off her and got to work with some shisha mirrors and embroidery thread. Shisha mirrors are those lovely Indian embroidered ringed mirrors that you see on their textiles. I couldn't decide on a colour theme, so I decided to go with all the colours of the rainbow and quite a random pattern. I decided to keep the embroidery towards the bottom of the jacket and sleeves so that I could wear a brooch on the lapels if I wanted to and so it didn't look too cluttered. Also, I thought that bag straps might wear the embroidery if there was any on the shoulders.
It's still a work in progress as you can see by the unfinished motif on the sleeve there but I'm really liking it. I didn't want it to be too symmetrical or patterned so at the moment each motif is slightly different with the shisha mirrors pulling it all together. I'll get more pictures as I go along.

I've been slowly but surely knitting away at my PBT hoodie and I'm a bit further along with it. I think I have the cable pattern repeats in my head now, and I think it's a top down, all in one go, raglan, so we'll see how it works out when it comes to making arm holes. I may even finish it for next winter!

I've been immersed in swap sign-ups recently - I'm organising the Hippy Swap over on Craftster and I have about 12 swappers signed up already and another week to go till sign-ups close. I'm a little stuck at the moment though as we re-installed Windows on the main PC last night and none of the Office programs are up and running yet, so I can't access the info on my memory stick *pah* M was determined to re-install as none of his games would play and he was getting annoyed with it all.

I only have a few more days of college left and then I'm finished for the summer. If the b******s actually paid me for the summer, I'd be quite happy at the prospect of 2 months holiday, but as things stand, I'm hourly paid, so I'm going to have to try and find some temp work for the summer. I have to save up the rest of the money for my TESOL course which starts in September and I have bills to pay and festivals I want to go to over the summer. The Hafla is next week which I was debating on going to, but I think I'm just going to go for it. V says I can stay with her for the night because she lives near to where the bus drops us off in town, otherwise we won't get back till 12 o'clock at night. I don't think M will want to pick me up at that time, and if I'm going to get up on stage and dance in front of people, I can't do that stone cold sober. Dutch courage is definately the order of the night!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blooming 'eck!

The weather here in good old Blighty is questionable at the best of times, but for the last couple of days we've had sunshine, strong winds and monsoon type rain. I planted my purchases from the Gardeners World Show on Saturday, but only one of them is flowering and of any interest at the moment - look at this gorgeous primula. I'm a lazy gardener, actually, not lazy, more like a gardener on a budget. I love the sort of chaotic English garden look with borders stuffed full of flowers and shrubs, and it's even better if they come back every year! There's nothing worse than shelling out for a lovely plant and it's gone at the end of the year. This will hopefully keep coming back. Primulas usually do. I just love the colour and the two tone effect.
I also bought this lovely copper wind spinner; copper looks so nice against the green of the trees. Of course it looks much nicer in the sun and hopefully we'll get a decent bought of it soon so that I can get a nice photo.
This was also supposed to be a copper spinner but when I got it home it was silver coloured. Maybe it's the grey skies, but I feel like it disappears a little. I was quite sad when I saw that it wasn't the colour I asked for, and of course I can't really take it back. Copper also weathers better. *Sigh* Maybe it'll look better when the sun comes out! Yes, I'm sure it will.
There're plenty of other flowers blooming at the moment too like this lovely canary yellow lily. We once had a canary when we were little. It was just this shade of yellow - we called the canary Woodstock. I seem to remember that that was after the Peanuts character and not after the music festival. I don't know why we got it; I think it was my Uncles influence. He had a huge aviary in his garden and bred birds. I've never felt comfortable with caged birds though. I think the family cat eyed it speculatively on more than one occasion and in the end we decided that Woodstock would live a much longer and happier life in a cat free household, and he went to live with some family friends *lol*
Can you tell that I'm having a love affair with my cameras macro facility :-)
I love this glorious scarlet coloured snapdragon, the red really pops against the green don't you think?
These tiny little pink flowers seem to grow wild in the garden; I have quite alot of wild flowers which I leave for butterflies and other insects. These are particularly pretty although they grow like weeds.
I have lots of petunias thanks to my MIL. She grows loads of different plants from seed in her greenhouse and I get what she doesn't have room for!
And some random shots around the garden

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shake your thang...

Yesterday we had our towns local carnival. Before you get excited picturing awesome events like the Notting Hill Carnival, or Luton , I'll just let you know that it's only been going for a couple of years, so it still has that sort of slap-dash, mish-mash small town feel to it; you know, most of the costumes are obviously home-made, the kids don't quite know the dance routines, there were big gaps in the procession and then there'd be a gaggle of dancers running to catch up! Hilarious!

I think this was James' Giant Peach...

The local disabled disco had a float; I used to teach disabled adults and I know that many of my students go to this disco and they all love it!

Joe came with us wearing his Halti which means he doesn't run around like a headless chicken. He hardly ever wears a lead, so when he does, he really pulls against it. He's a strong bugger, so a halti puts the ball back in our court :-) He loves being out and about with lots of people.

The king and queen of the carnival were a couple of Indian children from the local Punjab society

Then there were these amazing costumes, I loved these elephants

Joe was very interested in the giraffes, which had very long swinging necks that the dancers kept swinging over to children watching.

After the procession, there were lots of dance acts and bands on the stage in the park; some from Luton, Leicester, Nottingham and various neighbouring cities.

A friends band were playing; they play a kind of Irish Bluegrass fusion, with a guitar and a banjo. Everybody was invited to sing along to the Wild Rover (made famous by the Pogues) and Joe obliged by spontaneously howling along. Everyone laughed and looked at him, but he didn't care, he was singing his heart out! He just loves to sing; he'll sing along to ringtones, football chants and to anyone that's singing in the same area as he is. Our last dog Rommel would never sing!

There's nothing like sitting in the park, drinking a bottle of cold cider in the sunshine and listening to live entertainment. The rain even held off till we got home :-)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th...

Eeek! Friday the 13th! A day to be approached with trepidation. Will the curse of the 13th rear it's ugly head today? Luckily not. Mum and Dad had tickets to go to the BBC Gardeners World Show at the NEC in Birmingham this year. It's something they do every year so we were keen that Mum not miss it. Sis and I decided to make a day of it with her. Bro had to return to work unfortunately. I've got that hurdle out of the way already but my Friday students have finished their course and so I was free today. We set off bright and early, up the motorway to the NEC in Birmingham and headed into the show. This was my first year, so I was all excited at what was ahead. Mum and Sis are old hands so they had the trolley box and everything! There were show gardens, plant displays, stalls for buying plants and garden stuff, all sorts of things for the keen horticulturalists.

I loved that many of the show gardens had themes....

This garden was a kind of a recycled greenhouse/room; Toby Bucklands ethical garden - any British readers may see a resemblance to the Playaway round window :-) I don't think that was deliberate though. I loved that the room was an indoor outdoor room; a greenhouse cum summerhouse...

This rock and waterfall garden by Jack Bartholemew was also very cool. All the materials were found or recycled, like driftwood.

One of the highlights was the Prince Caspian garden completed with mystical archway, mossy banks, foxgloves and ferny nooks and crannies.

And statue of Aslan

There was also an African themed garden, complete with elephant..
hippo and giraffe. Unfortunately the weather wasn't at all African; grey skies and strong breezes were the order of the day..
A painted country garden, the photo doesn't give justice to the lovely cottage flowers in this garden. This came across as both English and Mediterranean.
There was also a desert garden with cacti, sand and Harley Davidson...

As well as the outdoor gardens and stalls, there were inside marquees with Royal Horticultural Society stands, lots of plants on display and for sale, garden accessories; everything you can imagine for the keen gardener. I loved these carnivorous plant displays....

pitcher plants...

As well as the modern decorative displays, like these vent, plant and vegetable displays in one of the halls.

I bought a black poppy, a purple spiky primula, an echinacea and another plant which I can't quite remember the name of...but I can check in the morning. I also invested in a wind dancer and a copper twirler to hang in the trees. There was so much else at the show that I didn't show photos of, I'm too tired to remember alot of it right now, but we had a good day, with only a few tears. We saw Onslow from the TV show 'Keeping Up Appearances'; he seems to have a horticultural business on the side.

On the crafting front, I've been spending alot of time with Mum, so although I've perhaps done a little more on my BPT hoodie, I haven't done that much else. I have been listening to alot of Anne McCaffrey audio books on my MP3 player though. I feel like I've lost my crafty mojo at the moment but I've agreed to organise a Craftster swap, so hopefully that'll get me going again!



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