27 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 27th Dec - Thank You!

Wherever possible we will always try to be with the person who is giving the present when we open the present. This means that our present time is spread over nearly 3 weeks to fit everyone in.

I think at such a young age it helps Pickle to understand how to receive a gift and say thank you to that person if the person is actually there, and in our family we encourage kisses and cuddles to accompany our thanks. It might take a while for them to understand, but even my 4yr old nephew knows to give Auntie Pooh a kiss and cuddle for his awesome present, although now it might only last 2/seconds.

But it is not always possible to open presents when people are there and so we will send out a few thank you cards to those who we missed seeing. It is easy to stop at just those who expect them but everyone appreciates them, even more so when they are unexpected. So when we get home we will be cracking out the art supplies and getting messy and thankful.

JYC 2014 - 26th Dec - Boxing Day

Boxing day is a day for seeing Pickle's Great Nans. But this year was a little different.

We still managed to get to see my OH's Nan at her house but it was only a flying visit and we only had a quick Skype with Nannie to unwrap presents and tell her what we had from Santa.

But we had to go and see my Nan in the hospital again (once again with Pickle being very well behaved.) which was a very odd and hopefully unrepeatable experience. But having her around, being happy and cheerful, helped remind me that it is family and togetherness that is most important at Christmas time.

JYC 2014 - 25th Dec - Christmas Day

Favourite Christmas day memories

* Quiet start to the morning to open and build our new Duplo model

* lovely Christmas dinner, cooked perfectly by Grandad and enjoyed as a family of 8

* Opening our presents and getting a gasp of excitement when Pickle opened up her treehouse.

* Having a sneaky nap in the afternoon

* visiting our Aunties and Uncles in the evening and having fun with Megan and Rosie

JYC 2014 - 24th Dec - Christmas Eve

A new spin on an old tradition this year. We have been visiting my Dad on Christmas Eve for a few years but this year my brothers wife and daughter were also there for the first time. So Pickle had her cousin to play with as well as the dogs.

For what is normally a more grown up evening, it was fun to have a more child-like feeling running through it as well.

Even if both of them were permanently attached to electronic devices. The perfect mix of new and old....

JYC 2914 - 23rd Dec - Christmas Stockings

Pickle has a Christmas stocking that I finally sewed and quilted back in December. It was big enough to hold a fair amount of presents, though not the large box of Duplo that we were going to purchase. Instead Nannie P had it to fill with little presents. It may become more of a symbolic gesture than a useable piece of present storage.

Nanny and Grandad Bear have a large colour co-ordinated pile of presents ready for Christmas morning. And a couple of large boxes....

22 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 22nd Dec - Favourite December Moments

* Pickle sharing her advent chocolate with her Nanny

* having lots of hot chocolates together

* snuggly cuddles on the sofa watching films and Christmas TV

* making Christmas decorations together

* Christmas baking

* learning all about Christmas and Santa Claus

21 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 21st Dec - Christmas right now.

Well it's not quite what we were expecting. I'm writing this post from my mum's house where Pickle and I have arrived a few days in advance of my OH to see my Nan, who is very ill in hospital.

We came down this morning and went to see her this afternoon where Pickle was about as well behaved as I could have hoped for, and we may be asking Santa for an extra present.

The next few days will not be as planned or may not even be planned in any way, and it is very difficult to keep the level of festive spirit. But by having this holiday focused on Pickle helps to bring the joy back and she is a beacon of love and happiness in what might be a slightly sadder Christmas than we are all used to.

JYC 2014 - 20th December - WOW!!!!

Last year when Pickle unwrapped her presents, each received an emphatic Wow!

This year she has been slightly more circumspect and massively exciting presents have been accorded with a wondrous stare and her undivided attention for the next 20 mins.

We'll see how she manages but at least we're coming out of the years when the box was the most exciting part!

JYC 2014 - 19th December - Santa who?

At nearly 3 Pickle doesn't really understand about Santa. He did make an appearance at Nursery and brought presents which was good. But MiL has taken her to see him at the local shopping centre grotto twice and neither this year or last was she very happy.

I do want her to believe because it is part of the magic but it's very difficult as she can't yet understand that Father Christmas and Santa are the same person!

18 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 18th Dec - Christmas Dinner

Pickle isn't really into the idea of Christmas dinner, she's still a bit too young. She will tuck into her lunch no matter what day it is but for her there is normally too much veg going on in any roast for her to get excited.

We are having a bit of a bet on whether she will be a custard or cream on her Xmas Pud but that is a parental preference war only. At least at mum's we will eat at lunchtime, at our early Christmas, we didn't eat until 4 and, after such an exciting day, she fell asleep at the table!

JYC 2014 - 17th Dec - Important to-do list

There are things that are important and things that are IMPORTANT. In the midst of a hectic week, when I could have spent all of yesterday evening stressed and busy from when I arrived home, I took a stand and said No.

A mental review of my list declared that the best use of my time was to play house with Pickle and her new sylvanian families, then put her to bed with 2 festive stories (plus the jolly postman). And then have a bath whilst watching White Christmas.

Much better than an evening with a List. 

16 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 16th Dec - Muppet Christmas

I have definitely appreciated Pickle's enjoyment of watching Muppet Christmas Carol this year, although it has been given her personal name of Frog Snowman. She loves the songs and cuddles up during the scarier bits and it has been a lot of fun.

But something I could never have predicted is her delight in my John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album. Brought a few years ago as an addition to my dad's eclectic Christmas music collection, it is one of my favourites, with a mix of old classics and some lovely wintery songs that are very soothing amidst the hurly burly.

I  particularly love the songs that the muppets have a starring role in, and I challenge anyone not to giggle at Beaker helping with the 12 Days of Christmas. But to my amazement Pickle has become familiar enough with the characters to recognise their voices in a completely different setting, and enjoys it enough to demand several specific songs that she will giggle and squeak to.

So today we had Deck the Halls three times in a row, with both of us laughing like nutters and enjoying a special festive moment just for us.

15 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 -15th Dec - Decking those halls

Decorations, decorations, decorations. They must be everywhere that they safely can be (safety being the word with a 2-3 year old) but still fun and still pretty.

Most of the main decorating was done in one night after Pickle was in bed and the way that we put them up lead her into the living room to the tree. But there were one or two things that I made new for this year that have been around for a little while.

As far as delicate and fragile decorations, as well as my ever-increasing supply of Christmas candles and holders, these have been proudly displayed on the dresser top or very high shelves. Lovely to look at and safe from little hands. I loved doing it, and it makes the purchase and hard work decorating it more than worthwhile.

However all the pretty decorations in the world can't hide the toys strewn across the floor. But its all part of the fun. Well, as much fun as treading in Lego is!

JYC 2014 - 14th Dec - Where is Christmas?

Christmas for Pickle has only been in 2 places. An early one at her aunt and uncle's and the 25th spent at my mum's. The Early Christmas at OH's brothers started the same year that she was born but works well and looks set to continue to at least next year if not beyond.

I did wonder yesterday, as I was starting the long drive home, whether in the future Pickle will be confused over where she was because we do go to the trouble of having a Christmas for some of my OH's family early.

It isn't like we do it at my mum's but that would be the same whatever day it was held on. But for both we have a dinner and presents and decorations and for Pickle that will really be all she remembers.

One thing that is pretty certain is that we won't be having it at ours for a few years yet.

JYC 2014 - 13th Dec - Snow, what's snow?

Winter is coming. But it's coming very slowly and keeps sneaking back into autumn. Most reliable weather sources are predicting mild weather for this week with only lower temperatures in the week of Christmas.

Which means it will be even longer before I can take Pickle out to play in the snow. The only snow we've had since she was born was a week in January 2013, on a Friday so I was at work. I'm gutted as I really think that she will love it.

Thankfully we can make up for it a bit by watching lots of films with snow in and referring to every Christmas film as something to do with snowman!

13 Dec 2014

JYC2014 - 12th Dec - Christmas Mentor

My parents have always been fairly pro Xmas sort of people. We were the family that had loads of decorations and lights so I have always grown up with lots of Christmas spirit. 

So I find it very hard to understand that my OH doesn't share that insanity of excessive Christmas enjoyment. Up to know it hasn't really been an issue. More along the lines of something to be playful and annoying with.

But now that we have Pickle I have had to remind him that she will easily pick up on his attitude to things. I'm not expecting him to turn into a super jolly elf but he will need to leave his Scrooge mc Grinch act off for a few years at least.

JYC 2014 - 11th Dec - All wrapped up

In past years I have gone very upmarket with my wrapping but this year it is all about bright coloured, easy tear, and in large quantities.

And remembering not to cover every edge in sellotape in the kids presents.

10 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 10th Dec - making a list..

Actually I made 2 lists. And checked them more than twice! Two lists for 2 Nanny's from one very lucky little girl.

Two lists to source presents from for many grandparents, great-grandparents, Aunties and Uncles. Who all require an equal split of ideas of what Pickle wants. Except we're all still sort of guessing what that might be.

The Boy (Pickle's slightly older cousin) is much easier as he has definite likes and dislikes, so its just a case of seeing what was in stock where at the right time and price. Something suitable but still good enough to make me to Cool Auntie Pooh who buys great presents.

And for our new, much older cousin, we've gone straight for new clothes. Shopping for an exceptionally tall older child is quite difficult but thankfully no one is ever too old for Disney!

But for the two little girls of the family, it is hard to determine what they love from what they sort of like. It can change on a daily basis. And they actually don't have much concept of the sheer volume that they could ask for. And on no accounts must any present be loud or annoying or it will quickly find itself at the very bottom of the toy box.

Pickle this year is getting Lego and Sylvanians and Tink will be receiving Doc McStuffins and Peppa Pig.

With a little bit of Frozen thrown in.

Just in case.

9 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 9th Dec - Christmas deliciousness

I feel now as though I have baked EVERYTHING that I possibly could have done, even though I know I have just a little more to do.

My favourite Xmas treat to bake, something that I have started since OH and I have been living alone, is Stollen. A recipe taken from Delia, and tweaked and tested until perfect.

This year I have made great strides in its improvement. I can attribute some of this to slavishly watching Bake Off earlier in the year and learning the proper way to knead bread. Which makes all those hours of sitting in front of the TV worth it.

And the rest is due to comparing stollen with my favourite Easter Simnel cake which has a huge slab of marzipan running through the middle. This has worked marvellously with the stollen so all I need to do is make the final loaf for testing at my mums. All in the name of science!

JYC 2014 - 8th Dec - O Christmas Tree..

Our tree is positively groaning with sentimentality this year. 3 years of handmade decorations made by Pickle, as well as the impressive collection of my MiL which we are hosting this year to save it from a perilous journey abroad.

Though some things are too precious to actually make it to the tree, most things have made it on. Including my two snowmen who are cheekily peeping out from behind boughs and baubles.

And all wrapped up with a shiny new set of lights that twinkle and fade and didn't take hours to test for duff bulbs!

Pickle has been really good with the tree but she loves to sit in the beanbag next to it and gently blow on the tinsel, watching the lights reflecting in the golden strands.

JYC 2014 - 7th Dec - Feast for the senses

Pickle can see a house full of decorations and colour, tinsel rustling as she blows on it gently, reflecting the pretty twinkly lights.

Pickle can smell and taste all the Christmas baking. Mince pies and cake and stollen all to be savoured and tested. There is also the smell of the dust from the Christmas tree and deliciously sweet holiday candles.

Pickle can hear Christmas songs. Funny ones and nostalgic ones; Traditional carols and modern pop.

Pickle can feel snuggled and warm as we huddle up close to watch festive films and read Christmas stories.

7 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 6th Dec - Christmas Cozy.

I am glad that I am writing this a day late as we are just finishing up a proper Christmas Cozy weekend. Its a bit if a fluke, mixed in with the results of some good planning (and dare I say it) scheduling progress on my part.

Friday night I put up the decs with a little help from MiL. To be honest I had mixed feelings about sharing this job but actually it was lovely and meant that it took a lot less time than normal.

When we had said goodbye in Sat am, I cracked on with some Xmas baking but managed a sneaky nap in the afternoon. A little bit more baking early eve whilst Daddy and Pickle snuggled up and watched a film and then late evening  (amd into early hours) was devoted to picking my way through  book 3 of Game of Thrones. Perfect Sunday-ish Saturday.

Which meant that Sunday could be set aside for writing cards, an afternoon of hooky snuggled up with Pickle watching another film, roast chicken for dinner and an early evening game of horsey.

Very good for the soul (though not so clever on the knees!)

JYC 2014 - 5th Dec - Christmas Message

We wrote a letter to Santa this year. Mummy did the writing and Pickle signed her name. We addressed it and stamped it and posted it in the postbox and hopefully soon we will receive a nice letter back frim Father Christmas.

It was important to do a letter this year, as with so many of our Christmas traditions, I want Pickle to be sub-consciously aware of them so that they form a natural part of her recollections. So that in a couple of years she is asking to do them as they are what she associates with fun Christmas activities.

So we are starting them now when she hasn't got much grasp of what is happening and is really just humouring Mummy. Something else that she needs to become accustomed to in life!

JYC 2014 - 4th Dec - The greatest gift of all

In a year that I am likely to get less gifts than usual, its is fitting to think back in some of my previous presents. And especially as this is year Pickle will be getting a toy that I had at a similar age.

I remember the first dolls house that my grandad built me when I was about 4 or 5 for my sylvanian families. It had 3 storeys, with mock Tudor beams, a lovely red door (that sadly didn't last the day) and working lights that ran off 3 c cell batteries. There was some proper sylvanian furniture to match and a family of bears and rabbits.

I don't know how long it took him to make but I loved that dolls house and it had years of use before sadly being relegated to the attic. I unsuccessfully tried to renevate it later and we've had to throw it away now. But I wish that I had kept it as it was so that Pickle could have had it to play with for a few years too.

For the modern, post millennium, sylvanian things have gone more upmarket. They will be receiving a treehouse and log cabin for weekend retreats as a test before we decide whether or not to purchase the mansion. Only the best for our sylvanian family!

3 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 3rd Dec - Party time

Now I think of it, the fact that I don't do any hosting over Xmas is a bit odd as I do love to have a good party. But we are so far away from everyone that it just makes more sense to head towards the crowds and be guests, not hosts, over Christmas.

A new tradition is for the NCT group Xmas party, and it's funny that we plan it in a way that my parents used to plan parties with their close group of friends. Everyone brings something to eat and it's all fair so that the burden for the host is reduced as much as possible.

I love this kind of party, despite the small stresses of picking what to bring and hoping that it is up to snuff\not extravagant or show-offy. But it's miles easier than doing it all yourself. And frankly toddlers aren't very fussy so long as you stick to a staple menu of bread, crisps, sausages and cake.

This year we're being extra sensible by enduring the exhaustion of the toddler party in the afternoon and then treating ourselves to a posh meal out in the evening. Fully resplendent in festive knitwear.

2 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 2nd Dec - When do I want Xmas to start?

Christmas should start in July, November and December.

For some reason in the middle of summer (normally when it's too hot and I'm crabby) I long for Christmas and that is when the dangerous little thoughts of things that I can make start to fester and develop.

And then that feeling peters out when Autumn comes and things get just cosy enough to tide me over. I don't like thinking about it in October as I have birthdays to deal with and sometime still holiday to take. But in November I'm forced to start thinking of the practicalities and lists and presents without any of the fun and amidst a chorus of "but it's not December yet" in my mind if I'm thinking about the rubbishy parts then I should be entitled to think about the best bits too. But I have played the game too early before and it does lose the magic if it is forced to go on too long so I try very hard to wait for December 1st.

I want this year to be all about magic for Pickle, and though I have been laying groundwork and making things ready for the start of the month, I have not laboured the point. I want it all to come together in a magical harmony for her senses so that it creeps into her mind and heart and nestles in a special place for years to come.

1 Dec 2014

JYC 2014 - 1st Dec - Manifesto

Merry December! And boy hasn't it taken a long time to arrive! Well once I'd gotten over the fact that the year has just zoooomed past, but the last bit of November definitely dragged!

Part of my impatience is due to the fact that I want this Christmas to be special for Pickle as she is of an age where we can begin to introduce the magic of the season. Which is also why I'm doing JYC this year. I did it for her first Christmas but in a way this is more special because I feel that it is in these early years that she will develop her opinion of the season and I want it to sparkle with magic and fun and love and laughter.

My approach this year is blog and instagram, which will be also be posted on my Twitter account. I will blog my main posts which will form as a prompt for my journalling when I put the album together. I will also be trying to take as many pictures as possible via Instagram, (which I will pop up in my posts as I'm not sure how to link it all up!) I want to try to follow the photo prompts as much as possible and then come back to the videos when the book comes together.

So happy 1st of December to all, I hope that you are enjoying the first day of advent with a chocolate or treat or visit from a mischievous elf is however you like to celebrate!

Love Elliefantasy xx

7 Sep 2014

LSNED Lesson #6

We are taking great pains to teach Pickle Pants to say her Please's and Thank You's. Obviously it is something that everyone should learn for basic manners. But now that we have gotten past simple "Please" and "Thank You" we are trying to teach her the many different times that you say them.

Our current focus is for after dinner. If we have all sat down for dinner, Pickle is asked to say "Thank You for cooking" to whoever has cooked (Or ordered the takeaway/operated the microwave) It is very important to us that she learns to appreciate all the day to day things that go on, and acknowledges them by saying Thank You. 

I'm not sure where it started, it seems like I have only been saying it, or noticing that I'm saying it in the last few years, and particularly since OH and I have been living together. But it is important for us to acknowledge to each other that we are grateful for all the daily things that we do for each other, when it would be quite easy to just bumble along without acknowledging them at all. It feels like it just comes with that fundamental appreciation for the other person in the relationship, and the fact that they are there to help you and for that I am immensly grateful.

And obviously it would be a bit tiring and off-putting to go into gushing thanks every day for him being in my life etc etc etc. But I do think that by making a point of saying Thank You for cooking, or doing the recycling, or changing a nappy, or taking me to Ikea on a Saturday in September when its really busy keeps that base level of gratitude in our relationship, which makes those times that I do specifically make the point to say Thank You for Being in my Life, he knows that its not just for those reasons but because I really am very grateful. Which I am. 

So Todays Lesson is - You can never say Thank You for enough things.

6 Sep 2014

LSNED Lesson #5

This lesson is all about time and I suppose that my topic kind of fits in with this. OH and I are sometimes like ships in the night during the weekdays, but we will eventually come together at some point long enough to have a decent conversation. Now that Pickle Pants is here, a lot of those conversations tend to be about her and Fridays especially are a bit diffent because she spends all day at home with Daddy.

These days are often a bit different than the Mummy days. For starters OH doesn't have access to the car as I still need it to get to work. So sometimes he will ask for the pushchair so that they can go for a walk to the park, on other days its definately going to be a quiet day in for them. Daddy doesn't let Pickle watch anywhere near as much TV as Mummy does so they often do have more playtime together as, if I'm honest, Daddy is also a little less housework focused that I am.

But the other thing that happens if we are in for the weekend is that we can all sit down for dinner at the same time. And that tends to be when we both chat about what they have done that day and all the things that we have each noticed about her over the week. The little changes, the things that she does for either one of us that she might not do for the other. And its so lovely that we both get to have our own special time with her on a weekly basis, as it enables us to gain another perspective of her from each other. 

So Todays lesson is - Enjoy sharing the experience of being parents together.

5 Sep 2014

LSNED Lesson #4

Simple things for this lesson. Like the pleasure and contentment rhat comes from daily routines. 

OH, Pickle Pants and I are fairly established in our weekday routines and normally Wednesdays and Thursdays are nursery days so require a quick turnaround for Pickle Pants and I. 

Despite the fact that she isn't the fastest anymore, and can sometimes be quite fussy about not getting breakfast until she gets to nursery, I would never want to give up this getting dressed and getting out of the door hustle and bustle as it's our special time that we have grown accustomed to. And everyday I can see little changes in what she can do and what she notices which show me how much she is growing. Like putting her top on herself and asking for specific things for breakfast. 

Picking her up from nursery is always the best part of the day. A huge run and babble of excitement and cuddles as I find out the adventures of the day. A hunt for the car in the car park and the joy of finding Pooh bear in the seat waiting. The journey home where we notice the cars around us or each having a little day-dream time to reflect upon our day or our thoughts. 

And then we get home and take off our shoes and put our coats away and have a sneaky snack in front of the TV before Daddy comes home. Such simple little things, but they allow me to enjoy the days when I really don't get to spend that much time with her. 

So Todays lesson is - Enjoy all the parts of the day.

4 Sep 2014

LSNED Lesson #3

Todays Lesson is a bit more of an achievement celebration. With the arrival of The New Freezer, I have been inspired again to make my lunches so they are healthy and cheap. So off I toddled at lunchtime to get some food, brought far too much and then came home to cook it all. In one evening. And watch Bake Off.

But actually I didn't. I cooked some for tea and had some spare, and created a lovely new recipe and alternatives. I steamed some vegetables and make the house smell absolutely vile. And I made some stilton and brocoli soup. Just one thing. But it was really good to be able to just potter about, and know that at the end of it, I had 5 portions of 2 different lunches, plus some other food ready cooked to play with on Friday evening. No big drama, no big rush, and still a result.


And this is something that I am finding is happening more and more. I have learnt to take my time and assess what time is actually available to me and to use it in the best way. Which means sometimes that I do sit down and watch TV rather than rushing about all over the place. I am learning to recognise times when I shouldn't start in-depth discussions with OH because neither of us are in the mood to deal with the subject at hand. And this makes for a quiet and peaceful and contented life which is really all I'm looking for.

So Todays lesson is Do as much you feel like doing.


My other lessons of the day

1) - When you want to book your child into a pre-school, put his/her name down when you have your 12 month scan
2) - Children will pick the most random things to be absolutely excited about. Currently Pickle Pants is obsessed with Launch Pad from Duck Tales, and has taken to referring to him as "Daddy Duck". I don't know how that reflects on OH but its very amusing to hear her shouting "Daddy Duck" at top volume at the TV.

3 Sep 2014

LSNED Lesson #2

Today's prompt is about people who have taught us things but today I have had a pretty full on day of being Mummy. I do look at Pickle Pants sometimes and wonder what I am teaching her, consciously or otherwise. 

We did some cooking today, which is a skill that I want her to learn and so I am taking the time and effort to teach her and be patient when she makes a mess or take over when she doesn't do things in a quick and efficient way. 

 
My mum recently told me that she didn't like cooking with us as she didn't have the patience but I remember differently and it was always a treat to get to bake a cake with her.

But today was dominated by the arrival of The Second Freezer and acquisition of a huge cardboard box. This is a special and magical time for a toddler and I wanted to make the most of the experience. 

And let me tell you that the panic that a blank sheet of 12x12 can create is NOTHING to the terror of trying to decide what to make from a large cardboard box.

In the end we made a car and I feel that I acquitted myself well in the production of windscreen, door and working steering wheel. 
It certainly killed 2 whole hours of the afternoon which, in toddler language, is the mark of a job well done.

So Todays Lesson is Take the plunge to teach things that are important to you, even if they are incredibly messy!

2 Sep 2014

LSNED 2014 The Plan and Lesson #1

Hi all.

It's September again! Hooray! I think that I might be in my last year of being able to enjoy it neither as a student or a parent, so I'm going to make the most of it. (aside from a scary dream I had on Sunday night of having to take Pickle Pants to her new Pre-School by way of a gym which needs to be accessed by massive travelators - DON'T ASK, I don't know what the subconscious text behind that is!)

I don't have a clue about what I might learn this year. But there is one thing that I know I would like to try and learn. Which is to learn to play more with Pickle Pants. I am not as good at OH as getting into the moment and sitting down to play a game, whether or not it is trains or chase or bouncing the balloon or just running madly about like a loon. I always feel so self-conscious so I don't do it, and now that Daddy seems to be Numero Uno, I wonder if that is because he is better at Play time. 

I'm not going to get into a long winded thing about all the things that I don't do vs all that I manage to do, because at the end of the day I know that I am Managing Just Fine. I just would love to get caught up in the moment and forget about all the Mummy stuff for a bit because it looks like so much fun. But we will see how well I manage over the month.

The album itself will hopefully be a 6x8 PL album making use of the 2x 3x4 & 1 4x6 pocket protector and my Amy Tangerine Cut & Paste Mini Kit that I REALLY wanted for my birthday. It makes it much easier then. Just 1 landscape 4x6 photo. 1 3x4 with the Lesson on it and the other 3x4 as either more journalling or just a filler page. And because I have the kit already I can get started without waiting for supplies and just get the album and pocket protectors later when I am ready! Mwahahahaha, just one more reason why Project Life is taking over my world! (In a good way!)

As far as my blog posts go, the post for the previous day will hopefully go up every day. So today is Tuesday 2nd but today's post is all about the lesson I learnt on Monday 1st. This is for 2 reasons

1) I was still trying to finish off my little rant about stories and albums
2) It gives me a fighting chance to keep up to date and post at a reasonable time of day. 

So as per Monday mornings prompt
My name is Elliefantasy and today marks the start of Learn Something New 2014. 
This September I am most excited to Learn How to Play

And Mondays Lesson is.....
Sometimes Mummy is the one who wants to get ALL the bath toys out to play with!

I'd love to see your LSN lessons if you want to share.

See you tomorrow

Elliefantasy xx

1 Sep 2014

Stories and Albums - The Resolution. Sort of.


Hi All

So after 2 days thought, here is a roundup of my feelings about how I put my albums together.

1) I am not totally wedded to Project Life but I do like having photos in the little pockets
2) I don't like trying to print photos to the small 3x4 size so I'm not going to bother. I have a punch to cut them down with so I shall just use that where I think I can.
3) Most of my thoughts tend to appear as my facebook status's so I need to design some 3x4 cards that I like and get them printed up ready for me to write down my statuses if I like them enough.
4) I need to take more photos. I used to take loads of photos of Pickle Pants when she was a tiny baby and didn't do much. There are loads of her in her bouncer in babygrows, so many that it is difficult to tell which week it was as they all look identical. But now she is an active and bonkers toddler, I seem to hardly take any at all.

5) Some photos don't need scrapping twice. But some do. Just because it is in the Photobook doesn't mean that I can't scrap it in an album. But I will try not to scrap them in more than 1 album, I just need to identify the reason that I am scrapping my story and that will dictate the album that I put it into.

6) I might need to get some more albums which have designated story purposes. Some include My Story, Our Story (just for OH and me), My Family. Happy Campers. This fills the gaps that I think are missing and then when looked at as a whole collection, all the parts I want to scrap are there.
7) I can take photos of my craft/house achievements and put them into my Project Life albums. They are my life at the moment, and I want to record this time when I was very interested in these things.
8) My yearly albums don't have to be the same format every year. A method that works for this year wont work for other years and that is OK. 

Not Einstein or Shakespeare but pretty revealing. Especially point 5. Which seemed to me to be the thing that was really holding me up. So I spent some time on Friday night just pulling out photos to print whether or not I had printed them and had loads more to do. This made me happy.

I also had a quick look at the actual PL site. There is some advice there on how to set up your album, which can be quickly done, especially if you only have design A pocket protectors. You identify the Title 4x6 cards (I didn't realise that's what they were), pop them in with a load of 3x4 cards and then just add photos. I had a go with my Strawberry kit for 2013's album but got a bit annoyed with putting in the 3x4's as I just didn't know what I was going to end up with Photowise. So I took them out. But if you are looking for a really simple solution to getting started then its good advice.

I spent Saturday and Sunday re-organising my craft room (This is not a mandatory step, it just happened as part of the preparations for Freezer Day). I had some photo albums that were taking up space, and as I looked through them I realised that I had a load of photos that needed to go into my Friends PL album. So Sunday evening I spent ages putting photos in page protectors, punching out 3x4's and adding in journalling cards. I haven't written anything down as its the sort of thing that I can do when I'm playing in the Living Room with Pickle Pants. 

My Big Room Change also means that I now have a much more accessible place for all my albums to go which was a bit of a bug bear for me, and now sorted I am much happier. The room is a tip, I have loads of stuff I want to put into my albums and I'm in serious trouble of running out of page protectors but these are problems that I feel that I can overcome, and that the initial roadblock has been removed. 

So, its been a messy struggle but I think that we are there. I'm hoping that this bumbling week of mine has maybe been some help to someone as I don't believe that all crafting and organising problems are dealt with in a very structured and organised fashion in the real world. If you have had a problem that you have solved in a scrappy way (ha ha, pun not intended) then why not share?

I'm going to end with a quick apology as I've offered yet another long post that is just text. I'm going to go back through in the next week or 2 when I'm free to put some photos in and tag my recent posts up so its a bit less heavy and easy to navigate. The reason that I haven't is that I really wanted to get writing and publishing again and so made the decision to take the plunge and start up whilst leaving tarting up till later on. This blog is going to descend into 30 days of #LSNED and I'm going quick and dirty on that so it should leave lots of time! 

See you tomorrow 

Elliefantasy xx


28 Aug 2014

These people have stories. Or Plans.

So, as promised, here are my inspirations for my story-hunting. 

Shimelle Laine
I love Shimelle's blog and her view on all aspects of Scrapbooking. I first noticed her in Papercraft Inspirations and I then stumbled across her blog and have taken a few classes, 2 of which inspired the creation of my blog. I follow her on Facebook and Twitter and became overly excited in 2010 when she actually replied to a tweet of mine. A Scrapbooking Celebrity replying to MY tweet! Gosh, how exciting. I even love the episodes that she appears on the Rountable, especially as she is representing the UK in a largely American market and its nice to know that we have some people flying our flag. So it's not really surprising that I would pick her for inspiration. 

But the main reason is that her attitude is to keep things very simple so that we are more likely to keep up with them. She is a real-life scrapper so she understands the problems. Yes she has loads more pages already then I will probably ever make but the ideas and principles are basically the same.
So her specific advice can be found here but if you click on this link it should take you to all the places that she mentions her album organisation if that is more your thing.

Paperclipping.
So here is a good segway over to the Rountable, or rather to Paperclipping and Noell Hyman. I found Paperclipping through Shimelle's blog and once I found it I just haven't ever looked back. It is just the perfect accompaniment to scrapping or crafting, especially if you can't actually be doing it at the time you listen. 

And it is from here that I decided to have a shot at Project Life because Noell (& Izzy) managed to explain the system to me in a way that was clear and excited me to try it as an alternative to the unachievable workload that I had set myself. Now I am still trying to find a starting point with it, but even now (literally right now!), just going back to the posts that they have (here, here and here) has helped me find a possible staring point. If you want to see what they have to say then I would go to the website and search for posts about Project Life, because there really are loads.

Scrapbookers Inner Circle

This is where I have brought a lot of my Project Life supplies from (They are great, they have good delivery and good prices.) And I was clicking about the website and found that Tammy does a course. So I clicked on the button and signed up. Now for me this is a work in progress, I'm only just starting out on this course, and the first 4 months were about stashbusting. But 1- its free. Really is free so you aren't going to lose anything right? And 2 - The first 4 videos/transcripts about stashbusting contain really good advice! So if you fancy a look then have a go, I can't really say anything more but its extra information that might just be the thing that you need.

Big Picture Classes -> Stacy Julian's Library of Memories.

So you can't listen to Paperclipping for more than a few weeks without hearing from Stacy Julian. And in fact you can't listen to a single episode of Paperclipping without finding out about Big Picture. But just like I love the episodes that Shimelle appears on, I love those that Stacy is on. And Stacy has done a Proper System of Album Organisation called Library of Memories. There have been classes on it at Big Picture but annoyingly it is not being run at the moment. But she has an E-Book called  "Photo Freedom" which details it all out. This is not free, its $15.00 USD (currently about £9-10) and 

I have not yet tried it. But I have heard a lot about it from people on the Roundtable who use it and find it to be a good system. These are people who work in the scrapbooking industry who have a LOT of pages to store, but also the people who seem to want to have a story to their lives which they are making though their scrapbook pages. And not all the people on the Roundtable are that kind of scrapbooker. They do have a lot of different people (which is what makes it such a good show; there is a proper cross section to all the guests so no one way is made out to be The Right Way) As I said before, these are the people whose methods and philosophy particularly resonate with mine.

And before I finish, if you fancy it, then take a look about the classes. And  if  you decide to buy any then go through the Roundtable as you get 10% off.

So here is my external inspiration. I am still thinking but so far I haven't had any Eureka moments. 
Maybe pudding will help. Either way I will be back on Saturday to try and wrap this week of posts up

See you then

Love Elliefantasy

xxx

26 Aug 2014

My Albums are here, but not my Story

I have quite a few different albums which cover different topics. None are finished, Some are not meant to be and some aren't far off.

I have 2 post-bound albums of traditional 12x12 pockets dedicated to my nephew covering him from 0-2. I have no albums for him later, nor ones for my neice due to the arrival of Pickle Pants.

I have 2 post-bound albums of traditional 12x12 pockets for DPS of all the weddings that I have been to. They are divided into friends and family weddings. These both have layouts that need finishing but they are very straightforward and I am happy with them.

I have a few family layouts that are currently album-less. An American crafts d-ring with 4" square divided pockets for doing JYC which only has one year in. Plus my ephemera book which is a bound Paperchase kraft book that stuff just can be stuck in to if it is too bulky or the wrong size for pocket protectors.

For Pickle Pants I have 3 albums. 1 post-bound Forever Friends12x12 for her 1st month.1 DCWV Once Upon a Time album for her first 2 years. And an American Crafts d-ring for photos of us together. I also do Photobox photobooks for the everyday moments between each birthday which is where my problem is starting.

I have 2 Project Life folders, one to tell the story of my friends and I up to the end of 2012 and another to hold proper Project Life pages for 2013 and 2014.

But when you strip out the photos that relate to Pickle Pants, and the ephemera that doesn't fit, there are not many everyday moments left. And it is the day to day events or little moments and observations that litter up the desk and the mind especially as I don't know where they should go.

And overriding all of this is, when taken as a whole, the albums don't show a picture of who I am and how we are living (Unless to illustrate the bitty-ness that I am currently experiencing)

When I looked for the sites that I knew shared information on how to organise your albums (sorry, will follow tomorrow) they all point to having this over-arching story. None say that this is The Way It Must Be Done but I obviously wish to do it like this or I would not have noticed the advice to turn back to. But I still cannot find a way to get myself and my albums to identify the story of me.

Tomorrow I will share the advice and see how the systems work in order to see where I might shape and adapt them to help me. Hopefully.

See you then

Xx

Stories and Albums

This week is all about telling My Story through my albums. But it starts by saying that I'm not managing it very well at the moment.

We're Pickle Pants free this week which has afforded me some time to clear my desk and stick things in albums. So I have put things in my ephemera book, put pictures in my divided page protectors and put other things in the recycling pile.

And that left me with a pile of bits that I wasn't sure what to do with. Things from this year and last year and 2012. Things that remind me of moments I want to scrap but are totally unsuitable for putting in an album. Or things that by themselves are fairly insignificant but serve as a reminder of 3 or 4 potential stories that could appear in 3 different albums.

Over lunchtime I sat down with The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt which is an amazing novel created in the form of a scrapbook which shows the progression of a life by means of ephemera and magazine cutouts.

Now I am not saying that I want to use this as an instruction manual for my books but it does show up the fact that I don't have a clear way to show my life (or the parts of it that I want to document) and my current system is bitty, with both macro and micro albums, none of which are finished.

I have some books that I love and some that have the vision decided upon, just needing photos and time to get them done. But there is no system to my albums that allows me to document events and thoughts in a quick and easy way, in the right place and with the right story so that I can make the most of the time available to scrap.

This week I will be trying to fix this issue and I hope you will follow me on this journey, especially if you are having similar problems. Tomorrow's post will list out the albums that I have and look at some sites that I know offer advice on this topic to see what kind of solutions are available.

Xxx

22 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 4 - All the Other Stuff

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Today's final Post is on All the Other Stuff. Which is normally the part that ends up driving me round the bend. So let's sit and tackle it together.

Location. Best idea is have it at someone else's house. They sort out the decor and music and they have to deal with the mess. But if you can't then take the following advice.

  • Try for a summer party and keep everyone outdoors. Put up a flag and some blow up Swords (which can be found on Amazon) and that looks pretty festive.
  • If you have kids coming and some of them are your friends kids and they live close enough then arrange for them to help you with bringing over some outdoor toys. Paddling pools and sandpits are in keeping with the theme and are lots of fun. Just remember to remind parents to bring swimming costumes.
  • Have gazeebo's (preferably waterproof ones) If you barbeque in the summer then it WILL rain.
  • Don't worry particularly about Pirate Music, people will chat over it. But if you must then Amazon have a selection and all the Pirates of the Carribean soundtracks are on Spotify. Just in case.
  •  Here is a link for more decoration ideas. Try them if you want.
Food. Again, get someone else to do it. No, seriously YOU CAN ASK FOR HELP! We all wanted to spread the cost so we all brought something. Those who wanted to spend more did, those who were on a budget could still contribute and those that were hosting didn't end up feeding everyone, which was fair as it really was my idea! Some of it was pirate themed, some of it was Carribean themed (I did Pulled Pork), some of it was not. But its more important to have really good un-themed food than rubbish but well themed food. That goes for any party. And if in doubt fill your guests up with Chocolate coins!

Authenticity. When I was originally thinking of doing this party 3 years ago I got very bogged down in things being properly authentic. Which kind of misses the point. But if being accurate is your thing, here are some links to pirate stuff. Plus a funny name generator.

Ships parts
Nautical Terms
Treasure Chest Construction
Pirate Maps
Name Generator

Plus I cannot push the website for International Talk Like a Pirate Day enough, there is so much good stuff on there.

Divide and Conquer. If you can, get help planning. Its ok to ask. People like to help, really they do! Planning the Games was my responsibility. And it was a lot of fun when I wasn't worrying about food or decor or how clean my house was. I had so much to do before the party anyway that if I'd had it at mine then it wouldn't have happened.

Selecting what to Play. I wanted my evening to be reasonably flexible so catergorised my games into "Runny Roundy" and "Sitting Downy". I had my list and could then judge the mood of the moment to suggest the correct game. True we did a lot of "sitting downy" but on a different day with more people we may have managed at least 1 "Runny Roundy". I am also pretty sure that every game that I planned could have been turned into a drinking game. If you wanted. Just saying.....

Preparation is the Key. I had my list of games as mentioned above. Then I copied out all the rules into 1 word document and themed them. Next I listed next to each game what I needed for that game, which helped me whittle out the ones that were going to be too much or too expensive to worry about. At that point I started to gather my bits and pieces into 1 bag so that all I had on my overall packing list for the weekend was "Pirate Game Stuff". This process helped me easily identify more games that we wouldn't bother playing, plus write the shopping list for the things that I felt would be cheap enough to buy or could be re-purposed later if we didn't use them. So on the night I wasn't stressed because I knew I had everything I needed.

Ask People What they Want to do. If you want people to have a good time then making them play stuff that they don't want to play isn't really a good way to acheive it. Bear in mind that at an adult party adults like to sit and drink and TALK. So will you if you haven't seen these friends for a while. So all games must be optional and just available to give the party a nudge in the right direction if there is a suitable pause and people seem interested. When we knew that we were just going to be sitting, I gave a few examples of the sitting games and we picked the ones that we wanted to play and everyone had fun. And it is a good idea to bear this in mind when you are planning so that you match the time that you spend on organising the games accordingly. Otherwise you just end up resenting everyone and that isn't much fun either.

Some people don't want to play. So let them off politely at the time (and talk about them later) 

Oh and something about having fun. Apparantly that is de rigeur at parties.

So I hope that you found this all useful. I have posted it at a point when I have planned a LOT of parties but only just managed to acheive a good balance between planning and what happens on the night. I did forget stuff, it just happens, and maybe 20% of what I did could have been left off the list. But I get a lot of fun from the planning which is why I offer to do it, and I know a few more things now for some parties that I could hold in the future so its not really wasted knowledge. And I came to the end of this specific party with no resentment that things weren't used, the feeling that people had enjoyed the theme and that I had enjoyed it, which is the most important. 

Plus I never have to do it again if I don't want to.

Lots of Love
The Crazy Housewife xx




21 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 3 - Games Pt 2

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Today is another Games Post. 
And before I start on the specific links, I would just like to put in a comment on why I picked the sorts of games I did, even though we didn't play them all.

My friendship group for this specific party consists of some just 31 somethings and some nearly 30 somethings. Some have kids and some don't. We have all been friends for an extraordinarily long time and so don't have to worry about ice breakers. Unless its to break some ice. But we tend to buy it bagged now. And even though we are all pretty up to date with the world we still like to play what are affectionately known as "parlour games" because often these are the funniest and take the least amount of effort to plan. Plus they are easily adapted to most themes and can be good ice breakers if you need them. The reason that we didn't play many of them this time was that we had 2 rounds of BBQ food and pudding to get through and that tends to slow people down.

So, the games that I picked..

The other game that we did play that wasn't mentioned yesterday was a good round of Drawing Consequences. We split up the parts of a pirate into 8 (which is harder than you think!), Draw, cover and pass it on. So long as you are clear in your instructions and don't mind repeating them every round, it is blooming good fun. 

Now here are 2 links for sites that had Pirate Specific themed games

http://www.professorparadox.co.uk/pirate-party-games/  

http://arrrr.net/# - Not a game as such but if you can bear to copy and paste them off onto a word doc then they make good cracker replacements!

And here are links to sites that had General Party games, which with a little thought could be suited to any theme really.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10428382/Perfectly-silly-party-games.html

http://www.partycurrent.com/funny-party-games.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_elephant_gift_exchang

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/party/games.cfm

http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Mafia

http://www.queen-of-theme-party-games.com/funny-party-games.html

http://www.queen-of-theme-party-games.com/minute-to-win-it-party.html

Minute to Win It is an American TV show where contestants have a minute to do certain things. I had a look through the suggested games and basically adapted or swapped them out with the kids style games, which if adults were made to do in a short set time would be quite amusing.

Mafia is a long winded game that I think I would like to play if I can finish working out the rules and have enough time to theme it to my taste. But it would certainly work for this social group.

I also used the answers to the Pirate Bingo as mentioned yesterday as possible Charades words. Easy to do, easy to plan.

I hope that these games give you some good ideas for parties, if you need some more then all I really searched for was Party Game Ideas and had so many websites to choose from.

Tomorrow is the last post in the series and will deal with All the Other Stuff. 

20 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 2 - Games Pt 1

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Again, here is a link to the Pirate Pintrest Board. .


Todays Post is all about Games.

These are the pirate specific games that I picked out

Estimation Station. You can see on the board the one posted on someone's blog and the box that I used. Its one of the cardboardy ones from Hobbycraft that I painted brown and edged with a thick gold pen. I couldn't find plastic gold coins so I ended up using some poker chips. In the end so long as people  have something to look at it doesn't really matter what you use. I had a box of 100 chips but because I wanted to play too then I just shook in a random number. I cut up some squares of paper for people to write their names and answers down on and then just left it to the end of the night. No one came up with the right answer so we just played that the winner was the nearest number whether too high or too low.

Pin the Patch on the Pirate. I am very proud of my Pirate Man as it took a week of fairly careful painting, and only in the evenings when Pickle Pants wasn't around to try and help or want to get all the paints out and make a big splodgy mess (The first time I did it, that was what happened, hence evening painting!) I just googled some pirate pictures and drew a rough shape out and painted. When I had finished I cut out, and coloured with pen, an eye patch and then various parts of the pirate that we could use for the grown up version, to be done at speed. It's easier to do the small bits once you have done the main pirate as you can do them to scale!

I did a sword toss game, picture below. I cut out a sword from cardboard and covered it with tin foil and stuck it in the slit of an Amazon box with duct tape. Then covered the rest of the box with brown paper. I could not find proper plastic rings for love nor money so ended up cutting them out from cardboard too which was fine in the end, though they did get a bit dented. It also had the benefit of being completely free and recyclable at the end of the day, same for Pin the Patch

We did use a Pirate Name generator in the run up but one that we found on the Internet. But if you wanted then you could make it a poster for when people come in and make stickers available for them to make a badge. Makes for a good ice breaker.

Bingo was a huge success. I found a site that had some long story jokes, copied them into Word and then read back through them and picked out some relevant words. When searching on how to set out a bingo card I found a lot of sites that generate it for you, I used this one, very good for going back in and fiddling with. I already have a Sex and the City bingo night planned based on the ease of this game.

So that wraps up the Pintrest Board for things that we actually did. The Shark looks good but is probably a bit too much effort for the effect. The posters are just fun and get you in the mood for planning. 

Come back tomorrow for links to the other games that I found.

19 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 1 - Outfits.

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Firstly, here is a link to the Pirate Pintrest Board. This was my collection of hints and ideas to help with the planning when I finally got down to the nitty gritty of what I wanted to do.

Todays Post is all about Costume. 

I wanted to have a really good outfit. But a lot of the good "ready to buy" pirate costumes are pretty inappropriate for a party where kids will be. In fact they are mostly useless for anything other than standing and posing in them. Or maybe making "mini-pirates" if you catch my meaning. Funds were a bit tight so I had a Google and a Pin and seemed to come up with a fairly good outfit based on stuff that I already had. 

It consisted of The Hat and Scarf, Shirt with vest underneath and bodice round acting as a belt, Petticoat with belt over, over white 3/4 capri leggings and basically bare feet. In winter I would have worn knee high boots.

I have marked up all the parts that are mine but please note this website which is where I found out how to make my shirt. I found the bodice instructions here on a great website for making corsets. My total outfit cost was £14, £12 on trims, which I only used half of (but its my local sewing shop and i'll use the rest for other projects) and £2 on the shirt and gold scarf from barnardos. The rest I had and it was quite exciting to be able to riffle through all my stuff and find things that would really work. Makes up for all the times that I can never find the right thing. The only slightly odd thing was that the leather fabric was from my nan, so all day all I could smell was Nanny's house. Bit odd when you are running about like a pirate! 

There are a couple of other ideas pins for outfits. The red coat was just a luxury thing. On a hot day like we had there is no way it would have been worn, but good for Winter Pirates. The makeup tutorial for smokey eyes looked very good, for a daytime party maybe a little heavy though.

This is the outfit that I picked for Pickle Pants and she looked pretty darned adorable in it. She only wore the dress and the belt but its all one outfit, pretty good make and its going to do double duty for Halloween this year so I'm very happy about the cost.

So that is my round up on Outfits. Tomorrow's post will be about the games that I pinned.



18 Aug 2014

AAAARRRRR! Pirate Party

Wow, we did it! We had the pirate party that has been 3 years in the planning but only about 3 weeks in the actual organizing. 

The Crazy Housewife will be posting details for where to get the stuff and ideas for games and hopefully link up to the Pintrest Board (which will be updated for things that we actually did as well as the ideas) But one of the reasons that I am happy that it is Done and In The Past is that I Planned Accordingly.

I only ended up being in charge of entertainment (which is a definite benefit of having the party at someone else's house) for a party in 2 halves. 1 half for the afternoon where kids will be involved and then a Post 6pm party which is just for grown ups. 

Part 1 is actually easy to plan for because basically you don't. I have learnt very quickly that children, and toddlers in particular, have no respect for timetables and carefully scheduled activities. So you make sure that there are a few games that you can get out in case of emergency and let them get on with it. Especially when there is a paddling pool so they won't even be dressed up in their carefully chosen outfit for more than 1/2 the party anyway.

Grown ups are a different matter. Some thought has to be put in, but actually the same kinds of principles do apply. You need to leave time for eating (Lots of time!) and for chatting. But actually most kids party games can be tailored to any theme and adults enjoy them too as they aren't too taxing on the brain. 

I did 2 types of games, running around and sitting about. Some bad pirate jokes to act as a during mealtime entertainment. And a guessing game which they could play at any time. This sort of game is the best kind as it's set up early and minimal effort. As I had forseen, the running about games didn't get a look in. Especially after 2 rounds of BBQ and pudding still to come. But we had a game of bingo and a game of consequences which was highly amusing. 

The only difference between adults and kids though is that adults ask questions about EVERYTHING! So make sure that you are fully prepared as teeny tiny mistakes will get picked up and debated for 20 minutes with a lot of repetition afterwards. You have been warned.

So I pillaged the internet, changed a couple of words to suit my theme, got all my stuff together and set off to the party. On the night I read the mood, ate far too much, did the games that were applicable at the time and just let the others go. And I had a very very relaxing evening, albeit dressed up a bit odd. Which is apparently how my parties should have been all along.

14 Aug 2014

Why make 43 when you can just make 1??

I seem to be an expert in making a project into a chore. Not a skill I enjoy but one that is rapidly developing.

There are so many wonderful things out there in the world to make and I have beautiful ideas sparkling and shimmering in front of my eyes whenever I see something that grabs my attention. And they do grab for my attention with the same intensity that Pickle Pants will grab my hand and drag me places, shouting "Come on Mummy!  Let's Go!"

So I look and get just as excited. Think about telling others. Then think about how much they would like one too. And so would someone else. I can't leave thingy out either. But now I haven't got the time. Oh wow, that is going to cost a lot to make. Should I put it on the blog? Wouldn't it be nice to have a tutorial? That will take ages to do. I really need to do some other posts first. Plus some work. And some chores. Oh well, can't do it then.

And so my excitement to play quickly fizzes out and stands looking as dejected as Pickle Pants does when Mummy says "Not now baby, Mummy has to do this first."

But I have had an idea. A fizzy sparkling little idea that I have for a bag that I going to do. Just for me. All Mine. I might post about it, I might not. It might never again be mentioned until I go "Ta Dah! , I made THIS! " I am not going to make a tutorial as I only ever intend on making ONE.

And at the weekend Pickle Pants and I are going to go and dig in the mud.

Come on! Let's Go!

26 Feb 2014

Many types of Me

I managed to achieve something today that I think deserves to be documented as it is something POSITIVE and that I have been trying to do for a LONG time. So, drumroll please. ................ I went swimming! 

Now I realise that this isn't a groundbreaking experience but in the midst of a fairly crazy and hormonal time I feel proud that I have managed to manage my time to do something that I have wanted to do for a while.

Now to some people the thought of going out for some exercise is not a big deal and to others I imagine that it seems like a terrifying prospect. For myself sport or exercise has just never really featured in my "favourite things to do" list. I like to swim. I like to use some machines in the gym. I quite liked zumba when I tried it and I don't mind doing the wii fit at home so long as I stay away from muscle-y things. But I am not one of nature's sportswomen so to go out of an evening just for the sole purpose of swimming entails much more effort for me than others.

Then when balanced against all the other things I have to do and want to do, the effort required is nearly quadrupled. How on earth could I go swimming,  I have to make cakes and sew cushions and a million other things that I have promised to others that I will do for them and now can't wait? And its favourite counter argument, I have spent all day working hard and doing what I have to do, I now just want to do what I want to do.

I have noticed that since Pickle Pants is about I have had to fit myself into a few more versions of Me, depending who I am with and what I am doing. Today I was Mummy, Pickle Pants' mummy asking about nursery things, colleague, friend, staff, customer, wife, hungry dieter. All things that need a different approach, but also all that need decisions to be made. And weighed up, and then actioned.  Something that I am struggling with again at the moment.

I am currently still being treated for PND and annoyingly this can be made worse by PMS which is where my problem lies (I am currently having more than my fair share) I find that I am getting overwhelmed with the vast amount of decisions and resulting actions that seem to be flowing my way. Some of these are time related, and some to imminent changes in our daily life. But I am also worrying about longer term issues, some that might not ever exist. And nearly all these decisions are things that as an adult/parent I should expect to have to deal with. So surely the decision to start a new exercise habit that will need a conscious and concentrared effort to maintain seems like a bad thing to try and squeeze in on top of this.

Well actually, no. I managed today much better than yesterday with getting stuff done because for a lot of what I did, the decision to do it had already been made. I put away the recycling because I had already decided yesterday that it needed to be done. Same for emptying the suitcase. At work I did what I had to based on time decisions made for me. I ordered my wool as I need to finish off a project and knew I couldn't get what I wanted from hobbycraft as I went at lunchtime. And I went swimming because I knew that Wednesday was the best day of the week to go and i was already a member so didn't have to worry about paying.

So I can now see the benefits of actioning some of my decisions that are currently just waiting for me to get round to them, in order to free up some space to deal with the next batch. And I can also see that one of the people that I need to be is "looking after myself" Me and that person is allowed to go swimming on Wednesdays. But she isn't allowed to use the vending machines.

30 Jan 2014

New look, new plan

Hi all

Just a quicky post as I have spent all evening re-designing the blog. Hope you all love the vintage-y feel. Tomorrow when I get sorted, I will post up the blog that provided me with the images, don't they look cool!

Along with the new look is a new plan-ish thing. As I'm now doing a lot of crochet and sewing as well as my scrapping, I've decided to include these into the blog as they are part of my world. As well as some other bits and pieces.

All home type posts are going to come under my alter ego of The Crazy Housewife. You know, that person who lives in your head who thinks that you have loads of time to make stock from scratch and have a spotless house whilst holding down a job and looking after a toddler. So from time to time, she will take over and expand and explain her crazy.

I'm hoping that I can arrange it so that I have set topics per day, I've done a lot of bits and pieces for the last couple of months that I would like to blog so when I arrange a schedule I'll let you know.

Hope that you are all feeling lovely and creative, what have you guys been up to?

Love from
Elliefantasy xxxx