Monday, 28 February 2011

Postscript to my Boy's Birthday

Thank you everyone for leaving such kind messages for Matt's special day. We had a really fun family tea party and I thought I would just share a few more photos...however there is one small camera broke on Wednesday morning....eeeeekkk! I have never realised how much I rely on it. I took a few with my phone camera but the quality is not brilliant and I cannot find the download cable so you will have to imagine our family party on Thursday evening. Thank goodness I had already photographed the plaque for the birthday cake.
The good news is that my dear Hb has decided to give me my birthday present new camera arrived on Friday and I have been playing with it over the needs some getting used to but boy is it an improvement!! Here is a sneak peak of few quick practice shots....

 I took this of dear Billy having a snooze. I can really get great close ups now..
Here is another, of the flowers on the table...

Yes my beloved daffadowndillies!

and lastly one to show all that was left of the cake by the time my new camera arrived.....

I shall go back to good old fashioned  writing and describe the fun we had at Matt's birthday party. We had a real old  fashioned birthday tea with food including cheese and pineapple on sticks, cocktail sausages, pizza, dips, salad, crisps, cheeses and bread. I even made jelly and everyone had jelly and ice cream for pudding.We played pin the tale on the donkey and charades and everyone was in fits of laughter. It's so good to have times like this with the family. Both Milly and Tom joined us together with my Mum and Dad and Matt's darling girlfriend. Great times and they give us such fond memories.

The photos at the end of this post had been put on the computer before my old camera broke.
I also forgot to show you the card I made for Matt's birthday...
Once again I commissioned the talented Vita to paint me a special ACEO that can then be framed or used as a special bookmark. Matt has always love giraffes since he was tiny. He loves giraffes like I love pigs! A friend of mine bought him a yellow velour giraffe on the day he was born which became Matt's special soft toy...everyone has one! His was called Yellow Horsie and he is still around in Matt's room if you look closely ;0)

I used this delightful painting for the focal of the card

I chose some bold backing papers, one with numbers the other with balloons to create a really bold colourful card.
He was delighted with it.

I had also taken a few photos of some other cards I made recently and I thought now would be a good opportunity to share them.
I bought some very beautiful limited edition cat prints which I used as keepsakes for Matt's girlfriend's card last October....
And this one below was for a friend's birthday in December.
As you can guess they are real cat fans and loved these images.

So there we are, another birthday over for my Boy, it was great one. Cheers to Matt!

I will now start to have more of a play with my camera and I look forward to sharing some new photos with you all.

Bye for now,

Jane x

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

My Birthday Boy, past and present

It is nearly time for the next celebration in our family. This time it is my son's birthday which is on Thursday. He will be 22 and I honestly don't know where those years have gone. I know he does not read my blog so I can safely talk here! He has grown from my darling baby boy into a fully grown man in what seems like a matter of  a few years. How time flies by so fast. Although he is an adult and does his own thing he is still very much a home bird and prefers to have an old fashioned birthday family tea at home rather than go out to dinner etc on the day of his actual  birthday. Obviously at the weekend it is a very different matter... he celebrates with his friends and surfaces at some point on the Sunday morning (?sometimes afternoon!) after a hard night partying! 

For many years both my children had such fun birthday parties. We have so many fond memories of them. When they were tiny we would have them at home and in later years in a tiny local hall which could hold all their schoolfriends. We chose a theme each year and for many years it was the "character of the moment". One of my most vivid memories was when Matt was approaching his 4th birthday. He loved Noddy at the time and I made Noddy serviettes, party bags etc . Now up until to now on my blog I have not confessed to another of my crafty hobbies, as these days I do not have the time to do it very much. Well I will confess now...............I also enjoy cake decorating. I have also found out recently how to scan my old photos and upload them so I thought I would share with you some of my old memories.

The year Matt wanted his Noddy themed party I thought to myself, "Now that will be nice and straight forward for the cake, I can make a Noddy plaque". However my darling boy had very different ideas. No, he wanted a Noddy figure in his car driving and he wanted everything made in fondant icing too! So I set to work making the car and Noddy followed by Skittle figures, toadstall candle holders etc and this was my creation in 1993

We have had fun looking at the photos of my old cakes. They are not very good quality photos, as digital cameras were unheard of then. You can click on them to enlarge the detail. Here are a few more which I thought I would share...

Below was his Christening cake  I made in 1989. It featured some hand made sugar flowers I made from petal icing and a piped icing crib. I also used some ribbon insertion around the sides.
By 1991 (aged 2) he was a huge Thomas the Tank Engine fan and I made a cake using the train models which I bought for him and which he was then able to keep and play with. The cake was a butter iced Number 2 figure sponge.
By the time he was 5 he joined the "dinosaur" frenzy which all lads seem to go through and a blue dino cake was the order of the day, together with swampy candle holders.

As he reached his 9th birthday he had found the passion in his life, which he still has today....

Yes golf............he has actually now got a handicap pretty near to the one on the bag too!

Age 11 he owned a Game boy and then computer games became a feature in his life - he loved the old retro Pac Man game.....
And over the years many other cakes have been made and eaten. As my life got even more busier and I returned to work I stopped making fully iced cakes and just made plaques to put on top. They still look very effective and are so much quicker to make. I still always make the sponge cake with  different  flavour variations; jam with butter cream, chocolate and lemon are the favourites. In fact none of us are that fond of eating fondant icing so we used to peel a lot of it off anyway.
Last year was his 21st birthday and he had become a budding guitar player so above was the plaque I made for the occasion. It was complete with a miniature guitar which I bought and he was able to keep. It is very similar to the guitar he plays very loudly in his room now!  Here is the completed cake at the table before his family party began..
So tomorrow he hits 22...would you like to see a peek of this year's creation....

I am making the cake (lemon sponge with lemon buttercream filling; Matt's favourite) tomorrow so I can't show a photo of it completed but as you can see I have made a fondant icing  plaque of the back of a shirt of his beloved football team.....Tottenham Hotspur....or Spurs as most people call them.

So Happy Birthday to my dearest Matt, a party awaits him after work on Thursday... I can't wait...and yes there will even be some jelly and ice cream ;0)

Bye for now,

Jane x

Friday, 18 February 2011

What a difference a month makes

In January I wrote this post and reported spotting the first snowdrops in my Mum and Dad's garden.
Here there are much bigger. I complained in that post that I have never been able to successfully grow them in my own garden.

Well ,not only have my parents' grown a great deal but I can tell you with great excitement that for the FIRST time ever I have snowdrops in my own garden. Just look...
I mentioned to my Dad last year about my lack of success growing snowdrops and he told me that I should try taking some of his "in the green" and putting them straight into my garden. I waited until his had stopped flowering last spring and dug up 3 clumps...I am so happy that each clump has produced flowers in my front garden.

My hellebore are also in flower, these flambouyant plants provide such a welcome show at this time of the year.

I also showed photos in my January post of my bulbs beginning to poke their way up in my raised bed.

This photo to the left shows how they looked 10 days ago....

And this is the view I had outside my back door  this morning.......
They have grown so quickly over the last few weeks.
What I also found to my total delight is my very FIRST outdoor daffodil in flower...just look..

This is the dainty miniature variety called Tete a Tete and I have also spotted a nearly ready to open bud on one of my full size daffodils shown below. I am actually quite surprised to see them as we had so  much snow last December I thought my bulbs would be very delayed this year.

Here she is tightly curled inside her bud ready to burst into colour. It is my son's birthday next week and every single year since his birth I have had a daffodil in bloom in my garden in time for that day - 24th February. Although we can often have snow the week of his birthday some years have been quite mild. My daffs have never let me down although one year a few years back I only had 1 open on the actual day of his birthday.I have vivid memories of my daughter bringing me in hospital a bunch of daffodils from the garden the day he was born. She was not quite 3 years old then and had picked them from the garden with her Nan.

Daffodils are my absolute favourite flowers. I love their shape, colours and most of all the sheer promise of spring which comes with seeing them. I also think my love of daffodils also came from learning a poem at primary school written by A.A.Milne and taken from the "When we were very Young" book of verse. I loved these poems and my Mum even bought me my own copy in paperback. I still  have a lovely blue cover 1960s is in the loft at the moment as we are still decorating the dining room and most of our books are stored away. The poem is called


I can still recite this off by heart.........

She wore her yellow sunbonnet,
She wore her greenest gown,
She turned to the South wind and curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head
And whispered to her neighbour
"Winter is dead"

After all these years whenever I see my first daffodil in flower outside, this sweet poem returns to me. I believe every daffodil wears her best sunbonnet and  her very greenest gown. Just magical flowers!

The days are getting lighter here every single day, let's hope that spring is just around the corner and that winter is very nearly dead. In another month it really will be so.

Have a great weekend, enjoy spotting the daffodowndillies if they are coming into flower near you. Perhaps you can also listen to what they may be whispering .....?? ;0)

Bye for now,

Jane x

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A wonderful wet afternoon in London

I am sure you think that is a rather strange title for a post but last Thursday really was a wonderful afternoon, despite the rain, as I went bridal gown browsing for the first time with my daughter..............
She had an afternoon off from work and had booked a "trying on" appointment at a wedding dress shop just off Oxford Street at 3.30pm. As any Mum of a grown up daughter knows it is always important to meet up first for tea and cake! We had arranged to meet at the John Lewis department store for afternoon tea at 2.30pm. As I don't work on a Thursday I thought it would also be ideal for me to nip up to Carnaby Street before hand and pay a visit to the shop where I buy many of my silver findings and semi precious stones from.

It was a very wet afternoon but I thought it would be fun to take my trusty camera with me and take you all with me on my journey. I really love seeing photos of places I have not visited before on other peoples blogs and I realise that what is almost ordinary for me is not for other people, especially my friends overseas.

So here we go, this was my journey. I have lived either in or just outside of London my whole life. Our house in Surrey is only a 25 minute journey to Victoria Station in London where I can jump on to the tube and actually be standing in Oxford Street in 45 minutes from leaving home. I love it.... My Hb works in London and commutes there every weekday.

I have an Oyster card which I swipe for all the parts of my journey. To explain to those of my friends who are abroad this is a "Pay as you go" system for all the transport modes in and around London...buses, train, trams and the tube. I can swipe in at my local train station and keep swiping all the time on buses, tubes etc and only have to pay a maximum capped fare. It is a very efficient system. Now usually Oyster cards are just boring with writing on but I have this one......

I bought it several years ago when the Tutankhamen exhibition was at the O2 exhibition centre. It came as part of a deal with the entrance ticket. I did not realise how rare it one else, sometimes even ticket inspectors seem to be aware of its existence! It is fun to own...I just top it up with money when it runs low. My Hb owns one too and I have not seen any others although there must be a few more out there?

I travel up to Victoria Rail station from my local railway station ...Victoria is a busy London station...this is the platform I arrive at..

From Victoria I jumped on the tube, it is always a bustle and is busy at any time of the day. I love crowds though and people watching. Everyone is busy trying to get somewhere else. The good thing is that the underground trains arrive every few minutes so if you cannot squeeze onto one there is always one right behind!

Above is the entrance to the tube at Victoria, luckily it is inside the station so I could keep dry.

This is actually quite a quiet time would you believe!
I took the tube to Oxford Circus which is the nearest stop for both Carnaby Street and John Lewis.

Oxford Circus now has a rather interesting crossing where you are able to cross in any direction and it is now really easy to just walk diagonally across to Regent Street.

You can see on the left one of the last "Bendy buses" which are going to be phased out when the new Route Master buses are launched. I can remember travelling to school every day on the old Route Master buses. They were so easy to jump on and off as there was no door in those days, just a platform. There was no Oyster payment system, a conductor took your real money and gave you a ticket. I can remember sitting on the seats and my little legs did not quite reach the floor when I was small.

I walked down Regent Street under my brolly and nipped round the back of  Liberty's. The back entrance of this wonderful shop is just as interesting as the rest of this very beautiful building - but in the rain we tend to just hurry by.
My destination in Carnaby Street was a small Mall which has lots of specialist shops arranged on 3 levels around an open cafe area.

I also had to walk past one of my favourite shoe shops!!

After picking up my jewellery findings I made my way back up to John Lewis for our afternoon tea.

John Lewis is my Mum and my favourite shop and we have spent many hours over the years in here. When I was pregnant I used to meet my Mum in the coffee shop and then go to the baby department...that was nearly 25 years ago now.  Over the years the shop has been completely refurbished and hardly looks like the store I knew in the late 60s early 70s. It is now so light and airy, a real pleasure to shop there.

I met my daughter on time and we made our way to the cafe to share a cream tea......tea, freshly baked scone, raspberry jam and clotted cream. Mmmmmmmmmmm- I'm afraid we had already eaten if before I thought of taking a photo but believe me it was delicious!

It was then time for the appointment at the wedding dress shop. I cannot give much away as this part of her wedding plans is obviously secret ,but when my daughter came out from behind the curtain in the first dress I got the lump in the throat that only a Mum can get when she sees her darling daughter in a wedding dress. Yes she looked totally beautiful. I was really delighted. She tried lots of different designs on and there are other places to look at too but it was a wonderful start to this journey towards her wedding next year! It was a really wonderful wet afternoon in London.
We finished off our afternoon by meeting my Hb from work and the 3 of us enjoyed an Italian meal in Farringdon..... perfect!
I hope you enjoyed a trip around a very rainy Oxford Street, London too!
Bye for now,

Jane x

Thursday, 10 February 2011

♥♥♥ Love is all around us ♥♥♥

♥ Yes it's that time of year when us old romantics like to celebrate. It's also a good excuse for a post Christmas celebration. It is 31 years on Monday since my Hb proposed to me...gosh that is such a long time. I wish I had some digital photos from then, they would be fun to see! ♥

I thought I would share with you my card creation for the occasion....
If you recognise the backing paper, yes it's the last pieces of the paper I used for my daughter and her fiance's engagement card last November. Us crafters never waste anything so I used the almost last part to make this card too which I put into my Etsy shop.

On the love heart theme I also want to show you some new very pretty, feminine Fimo pendants I bought from the USA...

I really like these and decided to make up a design of me for to wear  using some pretty seed beads I have used recently.
This is my necklace below, I will probably make the other 2 focals into necklaces as I think they will sell well at my Open Houses/Parties.

As Valentine's Day falls on a Monday this year we are attending a Valentine Dinner/Dance on Saturday night at National Trust Property in Surrey. Also on Tuesday night our Dance School is hosting a Valentine's Ball. It is a black tie event and should be great fun.

Having mentioned at the beginning of this post that I wish I had some digital photos I remembered that my Hb has an old album of photos from when we first met (1979). I only started keeping scrapbooks from our Wedding (1981) so I don't have any photos of our engagement. After a little searching this morning I manged to find his album and laughed  and smiled when I looked at the contents! He had a beard (long gone) and I had very long hair (cut in 1982!). I had to photograph the photos in their album through the protective plastic so they are not that clear but thought I would share the smile with you.....
This is us cutting our cake!
In the photo above I think I was dancing around here the day after our party showing off my new engagement ring. (Hmm yes remember I was only 19!)  Now I know everyone will what on earth do I look like compared to that photo 31 years ago...well OK I don't really do photos of me on my blog as it is about what I do rather than what I look like but I decided to break that rule and show your one of  me with 2 other "special men in my life" aka my 21 year old son Matt and my Dad. These was taken last September at my Dad's 78th Birthday party...

Same ring but rather older hands now-LOL! Mind you it's been such an adventure these last 31 years and my hands have made SO many different things and treated so many patients!

So Happy Engagement Anniversary to my dear Hb and sending everyone out there in blog land lots and lots of really is all around you ♥♥♥
Billy sends some too....

I am meeting my dear daughter up in London this afternoon for her first try on of Wedding exciting.

 Bye for now,