Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Thoughts from the Washing Line : Chronicle of A Typical Monday

So, yesterday was a typical sort of Monday... and this morning, I was wondering how it is that I am so tired; then I remembered all that I did yesterday and of course, then it was obvious! 
I'm sure everyone has a busy day in their week and sometimes several; I know we all have extra-busy days sometimes.  So, I'm not writing this post as a way of moaning, or making it look as if my life is busier than anyone else's.  I just thought it would be an interesting exercise, to chronicle my day... 
Monday 28th April

5am:  Woke up feeling thirsty.  Got a drink.  Of course, I was now awake and it was getting light... but I wanted to be asleep.  Played a quick game of "patience" on my little ipod touch. Amazing how quickly that makes me sleepy... Remembered to turn off the ipod before I fell asleep again.

6am:  Mr LizzieMade got up and went for a shower.  Heard him pottering in the bathroom, but kind-of stayed asleep...zzzmmmzzzz...

6:45am : Woken by Mr LizzieMade getting his bag ready to go out, at the bottom of the stairs.  Time I was waking anyway - the alarm is due to go off.

7am: Downstairs (in my dressing gown!).  Feed the guinea pigs. Make breakfasts. Make J's packed lunch.  Start some laundry. 

7:25am: The Boy is still upstairs... Teenage faffing about, no doubt... Call up to him that he should be down now.  Boy appears, looking drowsy...  Feed the starving Teenager, who miraculously awakens as the food disappears!

7:30am: Sit down to eat my breakfast.  Chat with James until it's time for him to go out.  He goes to clean his teeth & get ready, while I tidy up our breakfast stuff.  (He usually helps with the jobs in the morning, but is running late today). 

7:45am: James trots off to get his bus.  Hug him and wish him a good day, then go to sort out some jobs.  Find the empty carrier bags from last week's shopping delivery.  Tidy and clean in the kitchen.

8am: Sort out the dishwasher.  The shopping delivery arrives just as I press the "On" button - good timing!  Delivery man leaves the shopping in the kitchen.  Unpack the shopping and put it away in the fridge, freezer & cupboards.  Re-pack the items that are for my mum.

8:30am:  Decide I really should get washed & dressed (!!).  Shower, clean teeth, get dressed, brush hair etc etc...  Find some spring shoes that I forgot I had (how can I forget from one year to the next?) and decide to wear them, but with trouser-socks, so my feet don't freeze. 

9am:  Pack up a parcel for the Post Office.  Check e-mails and have a sneaky peek at Facebook and my blog comments...   Read the nice comments about the prize draw I was running on my blog / Facebook page.  :-)

9:20am: Pack up the car with parcel and shopping, then head for the Post Office.  Sort out the parcel, then collect my mum's pension for this week - also for next Monday, as it's a bank holiday (she gets muddled if the routine is upset, so this way, she can still have the money on time next week). 

9:40am: Arrive at my mum's.  We are off to the dr's in a bit, so get started on the important jobs;  unload her shopping & put it away, hang out the wet washing in the garden.  Stop for a quick warm drink before we go out.

10:10am: Help mum with her coat, collect her bag, chair cushions etc and help her into the car.   Drive to town, as we have to visit the town branch of the practice today - the dr. we are seeing doesn't come over to my mum's village. 

10:30am: Arrive at the dr's.  Sort out some forms to register my mum for online prescription requests (to save me having to take a paper request form to the village practice, which is then sent to town the next day, for the pharmacy to collect on the 3rd day.... It should make the delivery a day quicker and save me remembering to deliver the slip - last week I forgot until Wednesday and had to drive to town to deliver it & sweet-talk them into treating it as urgent!). 

10:45am: Mum's appointment.  She sees a very nice lady doctor, who looks at the weird scab on her leg & decides to refer her to a dermatologist, just to make sure it's nothing more than a normal overactive area of skin....  Help shaken (shaking!) and anxious mother to the car, then explain that; Yes, the dr did say "Urgent", but that's because if she didn't ask for an urgent appointment, it would be over 6 months before my mum got seen.... No, it probably isn't anything serious, but the doctor wants a specialist dermatologist to see it, so they can be sure of what the problem is.... Yes, she is probably covered by her health insurance, which means she can be seen quickly at the little local hospital...  Phew!!! 
11:10am: Arrive back at my mum's.  As we are getting out of the car, we see a van that my mum thinks may belong to an engineer who's due (in the afternoon!), to repair her stair-lift.  Sure enough, sitting in the van is the engineer, who is writing her a note to say he's sorry to have missed her.  The engineer comes in with us and my mum sets about explaining the problem.

11:20am: Persuade my mum to have a sit-down and relax for a few minutes, while I make her a drink and a snack.  Make a drink for each of us and sit down too.  

11:25am: Sort out the list of items I had brought from the shopping; add up the total cost, which my mum gives me back.  Help mum sort out her weekly budget - money to be paid into the bank, for bills, rent etc, money to be saved up for other items - carer, cleaner, fish-man, hairdresser, bin-man, window cleaner, birthday presents, charity donations, essential new clothing etc etc... 
Also field queries form the repair man and help mum find the form from the recent service of the stair-lift.

11:40am:  The postman arrives and leaves some letters.  We go upstairs to sort out some jobs.  I re-make my mum's bed and take the old sheets downstairs, so they can go home with me for washing.  Stop to fuss the cat, who's sleeping on the bedroom chair...

11:50am: The repair man leaves, after telling us he has ordered parts to repair the stair-lift. Continue sorting out jobs in the house.  We have a bit of a sit-down to rest and start finding the information for the health insurance people, so my mum can phone them.

12:10pm: The Administrator arrives from the housing Trust.  My mother has some things to discuss with her, so I sit and listen, help with clarifying what she wants to say etc.  (Sometimes it is difficult for my mum to get the words to sort themselves out. I think it's a left-over from her stroke, combined with the neurological problem she already had. She has a stammer-type thing, which can be frustrating for her. Still, it doesn't stop her from getting on with things!). 

12:40pm:  The Administrator has left.  We call the health insurance company, to check the cover for the planned dermatology appointment. 

1:05pm: Lunch is late!  I go and put a piece of pie in the oven to warm up, then get potatoes & veg ready.  

1:25pm: Lunch is ready... but the pie turns out to be un-eatable.  It is very salty, my mum says (I tasted it when I got into the kitchen - she was right - what a waste!).  She can't go without a decent lunch, especially after such a busy and stressful morning.  Luckily there are plenty of frozen meals in the freezer (I make them up in batches, then we freeze them in individual portions, in margarine containers - how useful those are!).  So, she has chicken stew instead of pie and all is well.  There's a nice raspberry trifle in the fridge, because I bought it as a treat when I was in the local shop on Sunday.  Good idea for dessert!

1:50pm:  My mum has finished lunch and is looking more relaxed.   The washing is still out on the line, so I go and get it, then fold it and put it away in the airing cupboard.  Tidy the kitchen and check all is well. 

2pm: Phew! I can go home now... My mother says she will make her own tea, as she thinks I'm looking very tired (wonder why!).  I'm not sure, as she is more tired than me... still, she wants to try.  So she takes some ham out of the freezer to defrost and promises to call me, if she feels she won't be able to manage after all.

2:15pm: Arrive home... Head for the kitchen and find some food!  Make myself nice sandwiches and a cool drink, also some coffee.  Snacks for the guinea pigs too - they squeak in excitement whenever they hear a salad bag rustle!

2:30pm: Sit down to eat my lunch and read a book... While I'm eating, the doorbell rings.  It's the neighbour, to ask if I can take in a parcel on Wednesday morning (no, I have to take my mum to the nurse, then go to the osteopath...).   Finish my lunch and slouch a bit with the book...

3pm: Get out my laptop and start checking for shop messages & e-mails etc.  Answer a few e-mails, sort out some financial bits & bobs...

3:30pm: Feeling lazy... start sneaking around on the computer, looking at goodies on Etsy, Folksy and Facebook... 

3:45pm: The doorbell - it's James, home from school.  Chat about his day, then he goes up to change.  I offer to make him a snack, but he wants to do this himself.  He asks to use the computer for some homework and disappears upstairs again.

4pm: I'm tired. It's a while til dinner time and I don't have to go over to my mum's.  I decide to skive off my jobs and play a computer game ;-)

4:50pm: Phonecall.  My poor mum has spilt a glass of sticky juice on her sitting-room carpet.  She wonders if it'll be alright until Wednesday, when I could clean it for her?  She can't get down on her knees now, as she gets stuck - we discussed it only last week, so I know this.  I tell her I think I should come and help her now, as we don't want her carpet to be spoiled. 

4:55pm: Go upstairs to ask James if he'll start our dinner at 5:30 or so.  We have a visitor due in the evening, so we need to eat on time.

5pm: Drive off to mum's.  The spillage isn't too bad and my mum isn't upset, so all is well.  Mop up and clean the carpet, then drive home again.

5:30pm: James is making the dinner.  I make some drinks and help him to serve up the meal etc.  We put some aside for his dad, as Dave is due home at around 6.30pm.  We sit down to eat... nice dinner...

6pm: Phone call from Dave, to say he has only just got out of work and is on the way home; he will be late.

6:15pm: Phone call again... This time it's Jeff, our builder, who's due at 7pm for a meeting about the architect's drawings.  He is also running late and wonders if 7:30 would be ok, so he can eat some dinner?  That is fine with me (!), so he will be here at 7:30...

6:45pm: We finish our dinner and tidy up.  Put some coffee on to brew, tidy the table so we can use it for our meeting, find my laptop...

7pm: James is relaxing upstairs (painting models, no doubt!).  I sit down to play with my jigsaw puzzle... 

7:30pm: Jeff arrives and we chat while we get settled down.  He did the bedroom extension for us, in 2009, so we are glad to see him again.  Dave arrives home and eats his dinner, then we all get down to business.

9pm: Jeff goes home, after we've sorted out some of the details of the building work and set a provisional start date (May 16th !!!).

9:15pm: James goes up to bed.  Me & Dave sit down with the computer, to sort out some stuff for his business; he works for himself, but is now starting a Limited Company - we need a new bank account...

10:30pm: We are tired... bed seems like a welcome idea...

11pm: Falling asleep over my book... light off... zzzzzz

* * *

So, actually, I'm not surprised that I felt tired this morning...  That was a fairly typical Monday, though the evening meeting was a bit unusual.  Normally on a Monday evening, James has a trampoline club, but just now it's not running, as they are looking for a new coach.  At least the meeting was at home, instead of at the sports club!

What does everyone else do on their busiest day?  I'm sure many people fit in loads more than I do - at least I managed a couple of slouching sessions!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

National Stationery Week - Prizes, Prizes - Who Won the Prizes?

Okay, so here are the Results of the Prize Draw for National Stationery Week!

Last weekend I posted that the week was called National Stationery Week - goodness knows who decided this, but it seemed to be widely accepted as true... so who am I to object?

And, as I Make Stationery (after all, what are books - especially notebooks & journals?), it seemed only right to have a small celebration of this event.  So, I offered three little prizes - each one a different notebook, each with Kraft card covers and presented in its own little kraft envelope.

Kraft notebooks in envelopes.
Prize #1 - a "Red Line" Notebook - cream paper in a kraft card cover, stitched with a fine red linen thread. 

Prize #2 - Rainbow Notebook - a kraft card cover, with a rainbow of text paper inside

Prize #3 - Pastel Rainbow Notebook - a kraft card cover, filled with multi colours of pastel paper
* * *
Of course, you'll want to know who won the prizes?  Well, alright... I'm late with the draw anyway, so now it's high time I got on with it!

I used the "True Random Number Generator" at website Random.Org (if you're wondering about this, there's an explanation at the top of the home page.  They also offer various facilities for recorded prize drawings, plus things like coin-flipper, card-shuffler,  dice roller etc... Very handy).
There were 38 entries in the blog comments, so I wrote all the names out in the order the comments were left, numbered them in order and drew three numbers between 1 - 38.
* * *
PRIZE #1 - Red Line Notebook
The first draw was Number 3 - This was JULES (of JuJu and Bubba fame... see her blog here, or her Facebook page here
PRIZE #2 - Rainbow Notebook
Second was Number 28 - BEARSFOOTPRINTS - her blog is here and her Facebook page here
PRIZE #3 - Pastel Rainbow Notebook
And Third was Number 18 - Maria Ontiveros (better known to us as RINDA!) - find her blog over here
 * * *
So, Congratulations to the three prize winners; Commiserations to all the unsuccessful entrants - but I would like you to know that I really appreciated you all joining in and the very nice comments that many of you left for me. 
I will try to contact each of the winners, but if you see your name here on the prize list, it would be good if you'd contact me, either by e-mail (lizziemade at aol dot com) or a message on Facebook (Liz Gillum is my personal profile).  I'll need your address, so I can post your prize - which I hope to do in the next couple of days.
Thanks All!
* * *

Sunday, 21 April 2013

National Stationery Week - Prizes, prizes, we must have prizes!

This week is "National Stationery Week" - or so I am reliably informed, by at least two of my Facebook friends. 

And, what do I make?
Which are Stationery of course!

Sooo, in honour of the occasion, I thought a little Giveaway is in order!

* * *

Three nice little prizes - one of each:

One of my Kraft-covered "Moleskine" style notebooks, in its own little envelope...
#1: A "Red Line" pocket notebook size 6"x4", filled with cream paper & bound with red linen thread.
#2: A Rainbow pocket notebook, also 6"x4", filled with a rainbow of coloured text-weight paper.

Like this, see?

#3: Pastel Rainbow notebook - the same idea, but filled with pastel rainbow paper.

And, because I'm very nice, I will add a little shaped label to your book, in whichever position you choose - just like those above!
* * *
Are you In?  Would you like one of these notebooks? 
If so, please leave a comment on this blog post, to let me know you want to be in the draw. 
I'll draw three names at random, at the end of this week (sometime on Saturday evening, I hope), then I'll post the results for you to see.
Good Luck!
* * *
PS. Just adding a footnote, to say that the prize draw is open to Everyone, irrespective of location.  I don't mind posting a small book to any place that my blog friends are in the world!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Wednesday Worktable 17th April 2013 - Wool and Feathers!

This post is part of "WOYWW" at Julia's Stamping Ground.  Why not pop over there to see who else is busy this week? After you have read my post, of course!!

So, I am Still Making Books! Of course, it's what I do... but sometimes I do make scrap pages, cards or other crafty stuff....

My Crochet Basket contains a project with a variety of crochet squares. I hope I'll be able to show the finished project soon!
But of course, there are still books! Today I finished a Guest Book, with covers of a very lovely paper, which has been so popular with customers of my shops.  It has a collage design, with a French Country feel, with a lovely bird, colourful butterflies and details of letters & envelopes, plus designs such as you'd see on Provencal tiles.  I love it - so does everyone else, it seems, as I have sold loads of books with this paper on the covers.
Here's a preview, though these photos were taken in artificial light, so they are not particularly good.  At least you can say you saw it here first!
Front cover of the guest book I finished this evening.
It has a fancy binding, in deep aqua-turquoise thread (I'm very keen on this binding style right now!)
Inside the back cover - the covers are lined with a soft aqua Canson art paper.  The pages are a gorgeous cream laid text paper, called "Character".  There are 32 pages, bound in eight sets of four.  This is designed as a guest book, so there are not loads of pages - but it would be equally good as a special sketchbook or a journal.  I just love the cover paper and I'm sure it will find a good home soon.
So I hope you enjoyed seeing what has been on my work table today.  If you are curious about others' projects, hop over to Julia's blog and see what else is happening! 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Fun on Fursday (on Friday) - Simon's Cat strikes again!

Another new Simon's Cat film is out - this time, featuring the Kitten too!
I couldn't resist showing it to you; it will make you laugh - and cringe...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Story Telling Sunday April 2013 - Our Very Special Place

We’re back in Wells for a holiday!  Wells-Next-the-Sea in Norfolk is our very special place to be – if we could afford to, we’d live here.  Instead, we have to be content with a visit whenever we can manage – usually at least one a year.


It’s a lovely small town by the sea, with a great atmosphere, nice people and plenty of beautiful scenery all around.  The town has been carefully kept free of many of the things that make many seaside towns seem too alike and too commercialised.  There are amusement arcades, but they’re quite small and there are only two.  There are shops, but most are “normal” shops, such as you’d find in any nice small town or large village; some sell souvenirs – even the plastic ones, but many items are local and efforts have been made to keep them varied and interesting, as well as relevant to the area.  Some stuff is expensive, but there’s also plenty of inexpensive thing to balance it out, without descending to the totally tacky! There are fish & chip shops, but only a couple; restaurants are small and well-run, popular with locals and visitors alike. 

Many people come here to holiday – it’s very popular – but the town has a good permanent population and a full and thriving life of its own, which enhances the visitors’ experience, rather than being swamped by too many holiday-makers.  There seems to be a good balance here, between the residents and their lives and the visitors – both regular and occasional.  They seem to compliment each other; the visitors add to the town’s revenue, but the town provides a lovely place for a holiday, where people will be happy to spend time (and money), relax and enjoy themselves.  Wells is busy, full, popular, but not spoiled.

So we are here for the week, staying in a really lovely cottage, which is in a lane just off the main quayside road.  We can literally step out of our door, take a few steps and look straight out over the harbour – it’s great! 


See – right by the quay!

So we can walk round the town and enjoy shopping and the scenery. 

And we can take the little train, or walk along the long pathway to the pinewoods and the beach beyond.



Of course, you can’t expect a 15-year-old to have his photo taken, while keeping a straight face… He’s at that stage that Abi recently complained of, where he pulls a face if you show him a camera lens.  At least he let me Take the photo!

We had a Sunday afternoon walk – just me & James – to the Beach. 


Wells beach – sunshine, blue skies – and an Easterly wind that cut like a knife! It was about 5 degrees Celsius, but with the wind blowing directly across the North Sea, it felt more like Minus 5 degrees! 

We’d already been cold after our walk along the walkway by the harbour, which was exposed to the full chill of the wind.  We walked along the beach for about five minutes, then made our retreat up here, into the pine woods, where we could find a bit of shelter!


We had a nice time rambling about in the woods, then walked back to the camp-site, where we got on the little train and headed for home. 


The little engine being run along the siding, to re-couple it at the front of the train…


…so we could ride home again.  James even managed to smile for the camera!

We were glad of a hot drink when we got back.  A fairly exhilarating – and very cold – walk.

* * *

Thanks for reading today – this post is part of Sian’s special series, Story Telling Sunday.  This year, the theme is “Pick Your Precious”, all about the little things that are special to us.  I know Wells is a rather, well, Large thing… but it’s so special to our family, so as we were here on the first Sunday of April, I had to join in. 

In fact, this is the first Story Telling Sunday post that I’ve managed in 2013, so I’m quite pleased with myself.  Being on holiday has given me time to start catching up with blogging again – both my own posts, and reading those of others.  My Blog Friends should watch out for a rash of commenting from Lizzie!

Meanwhile, do follow the link above, to read this month’s posts, which are linked into Sian’s blog via a Linky.  The second link above will take you to the summary page and links to all months’ posts.  Why not write a little post of your own and join in?  Sian leaves the Linky open for a week, so you have until Saturday 13th to join in with April’s posts.  Leave me a link to your post in my comments here – I’d like to read it too!

* * *

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Music to my Ears

James has been playing the guitar since he was 7 years old.  He started having lessons while he was at Lower School and has continued enthusiastically since then. 

He's pretty good; in fact, he has a bit of a gift for it and loves to play pieces of all kinds, as well as composing his own music. 

He had the opportunity to play some of his own compositions, while he was at Middle School, though since he went to his Upper School, there hasn't been so much chance to perform in concerts, since they prefer groups, orchestra and bands - if they offered one solo slot, they'd have to offer lots and they don't think there is time in a concert.  It is a very large school, so they're probably right, but James has been saying he feels like the poor relation of the music world. 

He does at least have the opportunity to play and compose, as part of his Music GCSE studies.  The group play together and also perform for each other, so it gives him the chance to make music with other people.    

He has started to learn the Double Bass now, which has meant he has more involvement in the music groups at school - in fact, he was so much in demand as an accompanist, that he had to choose one group and stick to that, turning down several other requests because he just doesn't have time.

I posted about how James got a Double Bass - the instrument is a bit old and battered, so it's currently at the repairer's, having new strings and a replacement bridge. 

It'll cost us a fair bit - new strings start at £70 and go up into the hundreds; a new bridge starts at around £50 and also goes up & up.... As it's a student instrument, the shop recommended that we had a basic-but-good set of strings and a basic bridge, rather than spend a very large amount on professional-standard items. 
We have already spent £55 on having the better of the two bows re-strung. It was in a very sad way, with strings coming off and all tatty - completely unusable - so it's great that it is now repaired; it's quite a good bow, made of a nice quality wood - whereas the other bow is plastic and wood.  The quality of the bow makes a difference to the quality of sound achieved, just as the instrument itself will do.  At least a good bow will help James to make the best of his instrument, even if it isn't a particularly high-quality bass. 

Meanwhile, I am regularly treated to a serenade, while I'm busy about the house - especially in the evening, when I'm making dinner in the kitchen.

James is learning a new piece just now.  He's been working very hard at it and already it's sounding lovely.
I feel very lucky to have a child who can play so well - it's lovely to have music played to me every day.  I never get tired of listening to that guitar humming away in the dining room, while I stir up something nice for dinner! 
I'm proud of James - he works so hard at his music and enjoys it very much.  For him, music is the ideal way to relax and unwind; he plays with all his heart and it really is a pleasure to hear him. 


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