Sunday, November 25, 2007

The past week in New Zealand

Sorry it's been a week since I last updated! However, I have been hearing from mum and dad almost daily so have lots to tell you now.

Monday 19th November

A glass bottom boat was the setting for today's trip. They ate fish and chips "to die for" - apparently blue snapper is far tastier than cod! It was 72 degrees and mum got a bit burnt but she assures me she then bought some suncream - bit late for that, methinks!! The day was finished nicely with tea out on the deck which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday 20th November

Mum and dad woke up to clear blue skies and the day was spent at Rapaura Water Gardens and Coromandel Town. Breakfast was eaten al fresco in the same style as tea last night. The evening was spent at the Eco Sanctuary where they took part in the Glow Worm tour, complete with miners' lamps. It involved walking through the words and turning off the lamps when they reached the stream which was all lit up by the glow worms.

Wednesday 21st November

Today's entry on the itinerary says "Lord of the Rings and Waitomi caves". They got to see Hobbiton and apparently the little houses are all very cute. Dinner consisted of steak and chipcs which cost just £6!

Thursday 22nd November

This was the first day of a two night stay in Rotorua including a caving expedition in the morning. Mum described it as an "absolutely brill day" topped off by a very enjoyable evening with their hosts, where dad got tipsy "again" lol!!

Friday 23rd November

Mum and dad went to see the geysers today but I have very little info about them to give you! The only other comment is that mum has been walking so much, she is "like a little mountain goat". The mind boggles!

Saturday 24th November

Not had a detailed description of this day yet but I know the evening was spent at a Maori dinner show which was very good. I would know more except I had fallen asleep before mum phoned at 10.15 last night and as such can't recall a whole lot of the conversation due to not being with it - oops!

Well, I hope that keeps you all going for now - all I know is that I'm very jealous!

And on a final, actually crafty, note - I finished the large chipboard letters for Amelia's room today. Will get them photographed and post the pics up here asap :D

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Foo Fighters and The Lion Man!

Well, what a busy weekend the family have had.

It was Carl's birthday yesterday and I bought him tickets to see The Foo Fighters at the O2 Arena. We went last night, picking Mark and Sophie up at 5pm and getting there about 5.45. Firstly I was amazed at how much was in there!! We counted at least 2 clubs (complete with doormen), numerous bars and restaurants, the Tutankhamun exhibition and a massive cinema alongside the Arena itself. Inside the arena it wasn't as big as Madison Square Gardens but the top tier didn't half look steep! We had standing tickets and spent quite a while sitting on the cold stone floor inbetween the acts, and they had the air conditioning on the whole time which was a bit too much earlier in the evening.

The first support act were good, I think they were called Bradley Cole...not sure as they came on while I went to the toilet! Then Serj Tankian from System of a Down played and was fantastic live - I'm not a fan of System of a Down normally but he was great.

And finally the Foos came on! We were standing about halfway back and on the edge but soon discovered this was a mistake. Everyone kept crowding in front and alongside of us, and lots of people were arguing with the stewards who were trying to keep the aisle clear. There was very little that Sophie and I could see as all the really tall people kept pushing and standing right in front of us! About twenty minutes in we decided to go and stand near the back (we were also finding being covered in beer that was thrown was not particularly appealing!) and we could see far more. We also found this to be the perfect spot for when they came down and did their acoustic set - we were so close at that point!

All the tracks they played were fantastic, with the tracks from the new album sounding particularly fresh. Would definitely go and see them again but might go for close up seats next time!

Oh, and kudos for the special guests!!

Now onto mum and dad.

In my last update I told you that they had landed in New Zealand. On their first night mum learned a new expression. Apparently it is Australian and means you had a good meal - it is "Swizzle on the dizzle!"

Yesterday (their Sunday) they went to Zion Park, which is where the TV show The Lion Man is filmed. They saw Zion, the main lion who portrayed Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia and had a behind the scenes tour. Craig (the Lion Man himself!) stopped working on a digger to talk to them for a while and mum had her photo taken with him. The highlight of their visit was a 20 minute one-on-one with two 10-month old white lion cubs. Apparently there are lots of lovely photos and I can't wait to see them! Oh, and that day they also had fresh bread and butter pudding for breakfast, straight out of the oven lol.

Right, I've waffled on for far too long but talking of photos, as soon as we upload them from Carl's phone I will post any that are half decent here - I'm hoping to have a couple so I can do a LO!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Landed in New Zealand

Had a text from mum to say that they had landed about 4.30, which means it is 4.30 in the morning over there! Wonder how the jet lag will work?!

They enjoyed their last few hours in San Francisco: mum was stuffed after eating half the largest slice of carrot cake in the world at the Cheesecake Factory, lol. They also loved the Christmas decorations in Macys and have photos of them - I believe mum may even feature in one of them, so that is the real miracle of Christmas!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Union Square Christmas Tree

This morning mum and dad were sat in Union Square watching the christmas tree being put up. They were sunbathing as the temperature was in the 70s!! Apparently the tree is 86 feet tall and the one at Fisherman's Wharf was also pretty big.

Right about now they should be into their shopping....and mum said she wasn't going to do any shopping until she got to LA!

Tomorrow they fly to New Zealand and effectively lose Thursday because of the time difference...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mum and Dad...

...are having a whale of a time in San Francisco! Yesterday they went to Alcatraz in the afternoon and today they are in Yosemite. Tomorrow is their last day there before flying to New Zealand and apparently they are planning to look round the local shops including Bloomingdales, Disney Store and Cheesecake Factory.

I'm green with jealousy over that last one - can't believe I have to wait til 2009 before I get back to a Cheesecake Factory - I'm almost drooling right now!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This is the LO I created after going to the Chipboard Chatters class at Scrapbook Sisters. There I used UTEE for the first time, despite having owned some for over a year! The chipboard shapes are painted and inked then embossed three times. I added rubons, some doodling and journalling, along with a Making Memories jewell brad to finish it off.

I love this photo of Oscar and the way he is framed by the blurred outline of his play gym. I used fairly old papers as well as some bits and pieces from a QVC kit. The chipboard flowers have been covered and then doodled on, and there is hidden journalling on a tag under the photo.

This is a LO I did about 6 weeks ago and in theory it is the first LO in my recipe scrapbook! The recipe is for Carl's paella which is absolutely delicious :D

And one last update from mum and dad - the room service at their hotel is great: a huge burger, chips and salad for a fiver!!

Mum and Dad arrived

Just a post for anyone who wants to be updated on my Mum and Dad's progress around the US and New Zealand:

I had a text at midnight (4pm San Francisco time) to say they were in their limo, so we know they arrived safely :)

Will update about their trip whenever I get news from them!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Long Overdue Update!

I have been really lax at updating recently - firstly because I haven't got round to photographing anything I've done recently but secondly because I sent my last three LOs off to The Scrapbook Magazine without photographing them at all! I figured I'd have a shot at entering their competition although I'm not 100% certain if I'm eligible as they paid me for a LO earlier this year! So apologies for the lack of updates (especially to Karen!!).

Anyway, I have one new LO that I will photograph and upload asap - it's using the chipboard accents that I learnt how to make at the Chipboard Chatters class at Scrapbook Sisters and uses photos of my cousin's wedding.

I'll also be using my blog to update anyone who may be vaguely interested in my mum and dad's progress during their tour of San Francisco-New Zealand-LA! Right now they are somwhere above the Atlantic and we believe their flight actually took off on schedule :D

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've been tagged..... Babs (Magic Lady) :D Hey Babs, hope you're well!

Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged: 1. Link to your tagger and post these rules. 2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird. 3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them). 4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

7 Facts about me:

1.) Depending on which horoscope you read I could be Capricorn, Aquarius or neither!

2.) I hate feet.

3.) In my final year at University I appeared in all five shows produced by Music Theatre Warwick. I can't remember when I did any work.

4.)I had chicken kievs and salad for my dinner tonight.

5.)I am going to France for one day in half term as I now have my new passport.

6.) My new passport photo is worse than my last one which I didn't think was going to be possible. I look like a convict.

7.) I'm going to my cousin's wedding in Wales on Saturday.

I am going to tag:
Jeni Hall
Carly (I need your blog addy!)

Will try to link to their blogs and leave comments later but at the moment the laptop is on a go slow!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

An Exciting Weekend

Well, it's all go this weekend!

Not only is it the Masterchef final, with my LO (with link to the class) being featured on A Spoonful of Sprinkles but Scrapbook Sisters have put the first of my pieces of work on their blog.

The new, larger shop is looking fantastic and it's a great thrill to see my LO on the wall! I also completed another LO today, which I took in to the girls this afternoon. I still have enough left in my kit to do another 2 LOs and hopefully a card as well :D

Last night was the first of the two Music Hall concerts at the theatre and we have the second one tonight. Carl got a great photo of me in my chimney sweep costume last night but have remembered to put my camera in my bag to get some more photos tonight, lol! As usual I opted for dressing as a boy because it just makes life so much easier :D

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Cybercrop Class for Masterchef

OK, so I can't show you my LO for the final round of Masterchef as it is all top secret until the classes go live at the mini cybercrop on Carolinez Craftz forums.

Even though it is the same weekend as the UKS crop and the grand re-opening of Scrapbook Sisters I hope you might be able to pop over and take a look.

I still have lots of the kit left so I'm hoping to complete one or two of the classes designed by the other girls in the final :D

I've also been a busy bee working on projects for Scrapbook Sisters as I'm a guest on their DT this month, which has been great fun - at the moment they are keeping them secret to go on display in the new part of the shop :D

On other matters I will finally be finished with my run of shows at the theatre after this weekend - the play had its last performance on Saturday and this weekend (I know, another thing this weekend and I also have to go to Bluewater to get something to wear at my cousin's wedding - eek!!!!) we have two concert performances and then I'm done. Phew, thank goodness for that!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Efforts from Saturday's Crop

So here are the LOs I completed at the crop on Saturday. Really pleased with the fact I got 4 completed alongside covering the 8" chipboard letters for Amelia's room. They just need their final decoration now. The last LO (the one of me and Carl) is based on Cheryl’s sketch in the latest Scrapbook Inspirations. Today I've been working on some other projects and they will be online before too long - will link you to them when they're available :D

On other notes, it's going to be a busy week - with Revellers rehearsal tomorrow, the extra performance of the play for the Mayor on Tuesday and prizegiving on Wednesday, it means I'm out every day this week - eek! I think I might need to sleep all day next Sunday lol!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Masterchef Round 5 - the mini book

Well, I estimate I worked on this for about 9 hours but I really think the end result was worth it!

I decided to create a baby proof mini book made totally from fabric and other soft, squidgy materials. Everything in here was hand sewn using running stitch, back stitch, and the occasional cross stitch. I used 5" fabric squares as the base of the book and stitched them back to back before turning them inside out to get lovely neat edges. I then stuffed them with wadding to get a padded effect and secured all the pages together with ribbon, having first punched the holes with my cropadile (it's first use!). I printed the photos onto Calico fabric which I attached to cardstock with temporary Herma adhesive, having previously run it through the printer to check where the photos would print.

Thanks for looking - please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Masterchef - and so it continues!

So, I've made it through to another round and this time there are only 7 of us left. Our next challenge is to create an innovative mini book using any materials we want. I have a great idea but I'm not sure I can get hold of the materials in time. I also have a second idea, which is possibly more "do-able" in the time I've got, but not as creative and innovative!

But I figured I can now finally put all my entries on my blog as the competition is no longer anonymous - enjoy!

On a completely different note, I'm also back at school. It feels so different this year, and I'm much more relaxed about it. Let's see how I feel come half term, lol!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Masterchef Round 3 - Voting now open

Just a quick message to let you all know that voting is now open over at Carolinez Craftz forumz. You can see all the entries on A Spoonful of Sprinkles - just scroll down until you see the Masterchef Round 3 Gallery on the right hand side. Then look through the pics, choose your favourite, and head on over to the forums to vote in the poll :D

The poll is in two parts - 1-7 are listed in Part One and 8-14 are listed in Part Two - you can only vote once though!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Other Class LOs from the Summer UKS Cybercrop

Class 1

Class 2 by Paula from A Spoonful of Sprinkles

Class by Scrappydo

Class by Anna at Bumblebee Crafts

Class by Persephone

So, these are my other class LOs :D Thanks to all the designers, and to Fi (Scrappybunny) as I had a great time adapting the sketches and techniques so they worked for me!

Woo Woo - winning LO


As promised, this is the LO which Kelly from Mojoholder Scraplift blog chose as the winner for their class. Thanks Kelly :D I am really pleased with it too, although I've just noticed how apparent the similarity is between Robin and my dad!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Still in Masterchef...Round 3

I'm a happy bunny today as I completed my entry for the latest round of Masterchef and it is my favourite that I have done for the competition so far.

Unfortunately I can't share it with you as then it wouldn't be anonymous but if you'd like to vote in the competition you can see the entries at A Spoonful of Sprinkles and then you can register as a member of Carolinez Craftz Forumz in order to cast your vote :D

I'm also pleased as Kelly from the Mojo Holder Scraplift Blog chose me as the winning LO for their class in the recent UKS Summer Cybercrop. I haven't uploaded it to this laptop yet but will post a photo when I do :D

Tomorrow Carl and I are giong with Mum and Dad to the Chapel Down Vineyard. We want them to taste the sparkling wines with us as we want to get a couple of bottle for our pre-reception in 2009. When we were there last time they told us the non-vintage would be perfect to drink in two years so that works out wonderfully! Plus we get to eat lunch in the fab restaurant again - fingers crossed it doesn't rain though.

And finally, Jen has accepted the Rockin' Girl Blogger status so now I'm going to tag Willow (if her computer is finally working!).

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm a Rocking Girl Blogger

I've been nominated as a Rocking Girl Blogger by Tracy (winterbaby) - thanks hun!

The Rockin' Girl Blogger idea originated from Roberta Flanaghan . It works like this ... you have to give her credit, put up the badge and finally, add 5 other rockin' girl bloggers to the list.

So firstly I am going to tag Jen Hall - you're it :D

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Underwater Photographer

Underwater Photographer
Originally uploaded by Scrap_Vamp
Inspired by the article on water LOs in Scrapbook Inspiration I finally got around to scrapping some non-dolphin photos from our trip to Discovery Cove last year.

After reading a tip on The DIBB we went to Walmart on the night we arrived and purchased some underwater disposable cameras. They only cost us about $12 for all three (about £7 at the exchange rate then) and we're so pleased we did. AT DC they were selling very similar cameras for about $15 each!!!

It was great fun being able to take photos under the water while we were snorkelling, even if I was completely hopeless with using my snorkel lol.

I had all but finished the LO, using wave shaped pieces of pp, and diamond glaze on the word "underwater" for part of the title but I couldn't decide how to finish off the other word for the title. So I took a trip to Scrapbook Sisters and spotted these fab KI Memories stamps - all my other stamps were too big or too small but these were perfect. I stamped the word directly onto the LO and heat embossed it, which had the alarming effect of making the cardstock curl at first - eek! But once it cooled it settled back down into the right shape, i.e. flat!

I'm also really pleased that I used the gold sea charms on this LO - I bought them when I started scrapping three years ago, safe in the knowledge that I would use them one day - and now I have.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sketch No.3

Here (finally!) is another sketch for you to use as you please! It would be great if you could link to any LOs you create in the comments section as I would love to see them :)

I'm hoping to post one sketch a week now I'm off for the summer holidays, so fingers crossed that's what will happen!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What kind of smart are you?

Naturally Smart

You're a naturally smart person. Your intelligence comes to you naturally, rather than from instruction - and you are better with applied or more real-world things... which comes in handy, here in the real world.

40% applied intelligence
40% natural intelligence

Take this quiz at

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New arrival

Well, after weeks of expectation, he's finally here!

Oscar Terry Boyns was born at 6.01am after a three hour labour weighing 8lbs 9oz. His middle name is after my dad which made my mum cry!

He was coming out nicely but then his shoulders got stuck so they had about 8 midwives in the room at that point apparently. It is very spooky, though, as this is the same thing Mark did when he was born! Like father like son. He also has long hands and feet which is funny as neither Mark or Sophie are tall.

Anyway, just wanted to share that with you :D

Now I really hope Umbrella is not No.1 for the day he was born :-O

From a very proud Auntie x

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


...for Oscar to arrive - his head has been engaged since Friday!
...for my dad to retire - only two days to go.
...for the moment we can book our wedding - 14 months to go.
...for "The BreakUp" to end - I'm not sure why we just spent two hours watching that film.
...waiting for the sun to return so dad's birthday isn't a washout.
...for the final Harry Potter book and the fifth film.
...for Hairspray and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
...for other people in this area to realise the amount of waste they produce is unacceptable.
...for my brain to stop fighting the urge to stay awake and just go to bed.
...for the end of term when I know there will be no more reports to write for another year!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sketch 2

And here's the second sketch for today :)
The first is a fairly literal interpretation of the sketch apart from the adition of the "slice" of text-based patterned paper. The second LO was rotated and adapted to use larger "small" photos and only one main one.
I hope you enjoy playing with this one too :)

Here it is - the First Sketch!

So here is my first sketch and the two LOs that I created from it. As you can see, they are both very different!
The first LO (Family) sticks fairly closely to the Sketch but for the second one I turned it round by 90 degrees. I also decided to replace the strips of patterned paper with dry embossing which I then highlighted with chalks. I could have created an even more subtle effect by leaving the embossed areas blank, so the detail is only visible when looking closely.
Please feel free to use this sketch as you wish - I'd love to see what you create :D
Keep your eyes peeled for more sketches over the course of this weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don't get too excited...

...but I'm hoping to put some of my sketches online tomorrow :D

I will finally have some time to make up some examples and I've been holding off posting the sketches until I had the LOs to go with them, having made sure they worked lol!

Please feel free to use the sketches in any way you like. If you post your creations online, please leave a post with a link as I would love to see them.

I hope you find what I've done to be of some inspiration, even if only a tiny little bit!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Reasons to feel proud of myself

For the longest time after I left university I felt I didn't have very much to be proud about. I didn't really know what I wanted to do - auditioning for drama school proved expensive in itself, let alone what the fees would have been had I actually been accepted, and working in an office left me thoroughly disillusioned.

Then I met Carl and, shortly after, I found scrapbooking. Scrapbooking let me be creative again, and reminded me how much of a practical person I am. Carl encouraged me to do things that I enjoyed, and I found myself teaching drama and singing. He encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher, when I finally realised that was what I wanted to do. He was on my case when I lost confidence, as were all my friends from the scrapping community.

Getting established in the school was a struggle in the early stages and, at times, I got quite down. But again, everyone was there to help me along.

In the last six months I feel I have had more to be proud of myself for than ever before. Today the lightbulbs appearing (metaphorically!) above my year 8 students' heads made me beam with pride. Being told that I was making a difference to the form that I took over at Christmas made me feel really good about myself too.

And to cap it all off, I was featured in the sketch challenge in Scrapbook Inspirations this month - my work was actually requested!! You can see the LO above.

Sorry if this post seems self indulgent but those who know me well will tell you just how critical I can be, in fact overly critical of myself. This is me finally being able to say yes, I am doing things right, and I deserve to feel good about myself!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shoes Upon The Table...

OK, finally blogging again after a month lol.

Today's blog prompt is about superstitions and OCD-type tendencies. Well, there's definitely one or two of those in my life! I think the main one is that every time I say "touch wood", I HAVE to do it - even if it is only to touch my head ;) Also, I have to do it if I think it - not just say it aloud. The same goes for "fingers crossed". When I was younger I had a major thing for making everything symmetrical - this even included word and number patterns in my head, although I never let anyone know about it....until now, as, obviously, I've just told you lol. Possibly the only other thing is the fact that I'm totally anal retentive about everything going right and leaving on time for work in the mornings. If one thing goes wrong and we leave late, it seriously stresses me out - I can't stand the thought of not having enough time to do things.

Onto superstitions and most of mine are theatrical - things like only saying "The Scottish play" (although having done a production of Macbeth with Year 7 and 8 pupils for the Shakespeare Schools' Festival this one has more or less stopped for me!). Of course there is also no whistling backstage or in the dressing room, and the rituals that have to be completed if either of those are not observed. Oh, and not forgetting "Break a leg" instead of good luck. I find it fascinating as all of these come from totally logical backgrounds, and it just goes to show how strange we theatre folk are!

So, to explain a couple:
  • Macbeth was thought to be bad luck because it was the play that was put on whenever a theatre was suffering low audiences - it was a guaranteed crowd pleaser but when announced, the company knew they would not be getting paid for this next production as the theatre was clearly running low on money.
  • Break a leg refers to a part of the mechanism that used to be used to raise and lower the curtain - if the opening night audience were enthusiastic then the curtain would need to be raised and lowered many times, and this could cause the "leg" to break - so if the leg breaks, it means the show should be a great success.
  • And, finally, the whistling comes from the fact that most backstage workers in the theatre used to come from a naval/shipping background - whistling was used as codes for moving ropes and shifting scenery - whistling at random could cause accidents therefore it would not be allowed anywhere at all backstage.

Well, I hope you have found those as interesting as I do!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Laughter - Amelia's doll

Laughter - Amelia's doll
Originally uploaded by Scrap_Vamp.
I love these photos of Amelia, taken on Christmas Day. I can't believe that was already a month ago :o

This weekend she was pulling herself up into a proper crawling position but she still goes back down to floor level and drags herself along when she wants to move!

She is into lots of tactile things at the moment - if it feels good, then that is great, and if it makes a noise that is even better :D

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Guess what?!

Had a good day today. Can I say something positive?I LOVE MY JOB!!Yes, there are rubbish moments, frustrating moments, and downright awful moments, but when things are going well, as they mostly are at the moment, and some of the kids really seem to be making progress, it makes me really happy! I'm shattered but in a good way. It won't all be good news, and there'll be more times when I cry, but I can honestly say, I love my job

Monday, January 01, 2007

Highlights of 2006

I'm going to combine two prompts into one here.

The first asked what am I doing now that I could not have imagined doing a year ago. Well, that is easy - I'm teaching full time! Although I realised almost three years ago that I wanted to be a teacher, I was afraid of taking the plunge and doing anything about it. I got my CV ready, I talked about it all the time. But I was comfortable (in a strange way) in my dull, repetitive and extremely easy job.

All of a sudden I was galvanised into action in May of 2006 - I stopped talking and sent my CV to the Council. They set me up with a meeting at the school and by June I was offered a position to do the GTP, working as an unqualified teacher. I left my job at the beginning of July and spent the last two weeks of term in school.

As we speak I am one day away from the end of my Christmas holidays. I still get scared and have doubts in myself and my abilities - am I teaching things right? Are the kids learning all they need to? But when it comes down to it I am really enjoying myself - every day is different and challenging, I am NEVER bored, and I am finally using my brain and my talents for a good purpose. I can't believe I am one third of the way through this first year already, and I couldn't have imagined, this time last year, that 2006 would finally be the year I would take the plunge!

The other highlights of my year absolutely have to include becoming an Auntie for the first time, and my trip to Walt DisneyWorld in Florida with Carl. Special moments of that trip were celebrating our anniversary at Discovery Cove, where we swam with dolphins, and then eating at the California Grill, where we had a window table to watch the Wishes fireworks and the staff went out of the way to make it the most special evening of our lives. We also got to meet up with my scrapping friend Diana, and her husband Brad, and we spent a wonderful afternoon at Downtown Disney - lunch at the Earl of Sandwich and margaritas at the House of Blues - absolutely wonderful :D

I can honestly say that 2006 has been a fantastic year for us - it has had its ups and downs but overwhelmingly the ups have been the greatest. Our first full year in our own home has been everything we hoped it would be and more! The photographs represent just a few of these special moments.