Saturday, 25 August 2012

Charming Chartwell

Today is not as hot as last Saturday but we have still had pretty good weather all week. It is due to rain a little over the bank holiday weekend but there are sunny bits in between so I can't complain. During the summer I have visited a few National Trust properties on my "Thursdays off work" with my parents. Last week we went to Chartwell in Kent, home of  Sir Winston Churchill. I am a member the NT so I have visited this lovely house on many occasions and I never tire of all it offers. Even the grounds are spectacular.
There are acres to explore and it's fun to see the outside swimming pool (more a pond in my books) and also the lakes above, one is where the resident Black Swan resides.

I'm not sure I would fancy swimming here, would you but it is a fantastic setting. As you can see the rain we had all summer has paid dividends, the gardens were the most lush in the summer that I have ever seen them.

The Black Swan is very protective of his lady and kept fluffing up his feathers at us. He is very amusing to watch but I would not get too near!

There is a wonderful walled garden, Churchill built all the walls himself. He took brickwork lessons to do so. The National Trust grows flower and vegetables which it sells and uses in the restaurant.

There are timed tickets for the actual house so we spent an enjoyable few hours eating our picnic and exploring the gorgeous grounds.

It even has it's own croquet lawn...a really fabulous place. Now I don't have room in my tiny garden for a croquet lawn the thought of croquet and a Bank Holiday weekend it will be Pimms O'Clock at some point, just like last weekend at my house.

Now interestingly it turns out that Pimm's seems to be a very English drink. I had some questions and emails from my blogging friends over the pond about it so I decided to do a little bit of research. It turns out that Pimms was first made in 1823 by none other than a James Pimm who owned an Oyster bar in London. It was created as a tonic and had a secret recipe to which he added gin. The first variety (Number 1 cup)  was a gin based fruit cup. Over the years he made 2 other variations of fruit cups with brandy and scotch added. These were called Pimm's Number 2 cup  and Number 3 cup.

His drink was a sensation in London. By the 1960s this fame had spread country wide and there were new varieties including vodka.  There were eventually 6 different vairieties.

In the 1970 and 80 Pimms became less fashionable and only No 1, 3 and 6 continued to be made.
Number 3 is used as a Winter Warmer but I have not been able to get this recently. The supermarkets usually only stock No 1. In recent years Pimm's  has gained huge popularity with a clever series of adverts called "Pimm's O' clock". Check them out on U Tube they are great fun. I have loved drinking Pimm's in the summer since I was a teenager and it's obligatory for me to have a glass at Wimbledon whenever I have been lucky enough to get tickets. My husband and I enjoy making up a jug on a hot sunny afternoon at the weekends.  It is best served as 1 part Pimm's, 3 parts R White's lemonade (the only lemonade in my books ;0), any fresh fruit (strawberries, lemon, orange, lime, apple etc etc, I even love cucumber in it), ice and fresh mint. I have plenty in my garden and it just makes it! Mmmmmm

So there we are I hope that explains my favourite summer tipple!

Onto my card challenge for today. I have used one of my Saturated Canary stamps by Krista Smith. I love this one called "Dorothy". I find these images have a wonderful retro feel to them, it's the eyes that do it for me. It takes me back to my teenage years of Betsy Clark etc...wonderful

I coloured her with my Promarkers and shaded with my Prismcolor pencils. I added lots of details including lace and buttons and a Tim Holtz tag and a lovely textile corner that my dear card blogging friend Brenda sent me (thank you again Brenda you are so generous). The sentiment is Lili of the Valley.

I did put her into my Etsy shop but she sold in 12 hours! I have added a different Saturated Canary card here

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges.

Saturated Canary photo inspiration challenge #24
Sassy Cheryl Happy Birthday #129
Bearly Mine Anything Goes #49
Whimsy Stamps Lots of layers #50
Totally Papercrafts Zesty summer colours #131
Divas by Design Anything Goes #49
Paper Crafting Journey anything goes

I hope everyone in the UK enjoys the last bank holiday before Christmas (yes there are 122 days left) and I know that I will have to peel Vivienne off the ceiling after saying that ;0) We are off to Southampton to see the newly weds on Monday and hear all about their wonderful honeymoon to the West coast of the USA. Milly even found me 2 Martha Stewart punches near LA, they are more or less dollars for pounds in cost so much cheaper than here. She found a shop called Michael's and she said if I had been there I would probably still be there now; it was crafting heaven.

Cheers everyone whether you have a holiday or not and thanks as always for your lovely visits and comments. It's always lovely to see you. Do remember that my giveaway is still running here. It will finish at  4pm (GMT) on 31st August. Please remember to mention the giveaway in your comment if you would like your name to go in the hat.

Bye for now,

Jane x

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Summer sunshine

What a glorious day today. It is now 30c in my sheltered back garden and after gardening all morning it is now time to sit in the shade.
This was the view that greeted me this morning. Just bliss.
My pots have done really well this year and the beauty of all the rain we had is that I have only started to water them this week.  I have saved hours of work.

I really like the colour of this mini dahlia, as my blog friend Vivienne would say...very zingy!

An interesting yellow gazania I grew this year with some white and blue lobelia.

Sweet mini petunia and my absolute favourites........................................

Fuchsia.............these have been spectacular this year....

This variety is called Blackie ;0)
And this is Billy ;0), which actually survived all winter in it's hanging basket. I went to tip out the basket and saw it had some green shoots so I waited. I am so pleased I did. And talking of Blackie and Billy here they are...
Billy obviously has his own cushion but he graciously allows little stray Blackie to be safe in his garden ;0)

and when Billy's back is turned, naughty Blackie likes to try out the cushion too!

OK so a card challenge for today...well it just has to be inspired by my sunny garden.

It's another of my fave Lili of the Valley  stamps called Love Grows which has been coloured with my Promarkers and highlighted with Prismacolor pencils. I love the strawberry backing paper. I used a fern MS punch for the edge and some gorgeous green gingham ribbon and red pearls.  This card really sums up today for me!
I would like to enter it into the following card challenges.

Lili's Little Fairies Oh so girlie
Sassy Cheryl's Digi stamp challenge #128 Favourite colour combination
2 Sister's In the garden #105
Party Time Tuesdays  #81 Garden delights
Crafting for all seasons Bright colours #33
Ribbon Girls Bingo challenge, my line is Ribbon, pearls, image Bingo!
Divas by Design Sketch #48

So it's now far too hot to do anything else than relax and soon it will be........
Pimm's  O'Clock of course. Yes I know there is martini glass there too! I took this photo last weekend and as you can see most had been enjoyed by then. I just love adding home grown mint to it and whatever else is at hand. Last weekend it was apple, cucumber and lemon but I spy some strawberries that have ripened so they are going in to today's.....
Happy weekend everyone, enjoy whatever you are doing. The Lovebirds fly home from LA today after nearly 3 weeks driving 3,000 miles to and from LA, visiting all the amazing sights en route. I can't wait to catch up with my darling daughter and my new Son In Law ;0)

Right,  it's time for the sun lounger for me!


Bye for now,

Jane x (and Billy ;0)

My 2nd Bloggerversary giveaway is still running here . If you would like to enter remember to leave a colour/theme request for the bag charm you would like me to create for you for the 2nd prize.The closing date is 31 August, good luck to all of those who have already entered.
******NB; You MUST mention the giveaway in your comment on that post for me to assume that you would like to be included in the draw******If you forgot to do this, do go back and add another comment. I do not use a random number's just names in a hat for me!!

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Golden Olympics and my giveaway

The 2012 Olympics came to a close on Sunday and what an incredible games it was. I am so very proud of how GB hosted the games and also how our amazing athletes came away with so many medals.

 29 gold
 17 silver
 19 bronze.

What an achievement this was and we came 3rd overall in the medals table.

Well done team GB, your performance will not be forgotten. There is a victory parade planned in London is September and rightly so. I am glad you all enjoyed my visit to the games in my last post.
We have a local girl, Joanna Rowsell who is one of the gold medallist cyclists. She was born at our local hospital. This young lady is a particular inspiration as she has alopecia and lost all her hair around the age of  11. My son's girlfriend knows her as they both used to swim for Surrey. She really is a most remarkable girl and a huge inspiration to people who suffer from such a distressing condition.

To honour all our team GB medallists the Post Office decided to paint a post box gold where these champions were born. So we have a  local post box  which has been painted gold in honour of  Joanna's gold medal.

How cool is that! It has caused quite a stir and many people have stopped to take a photo of it.

Those of you who were unable to visit the Olympics liked the "inside" photos I shared last week.  I promised that I would show you the mementos I bought there.

I  bought a new mug which was only available inside the Olympic Park. It reads "I was at the London 2012 Olympics" and is made by Royal Doulton so is lovely quality too. I actually have a cup of tea in it as I type this!

I also have my tickets which I treasure. I am thinking of making a small scrapbook if I get time to put these things in as they are so lovely to look back on. I even have a special "Olympic" travel ticket which was included with the ticket cost.

As you know I do like pin badges and I found a couple of beauties. One is 1 of 1 as it was made from a photo that was taken of me.....holding no less than a real Olympic torch. Coca Cola ran this shop within the Olympic park

The photo was taken and then I handed it in. The badge only took a few moments to make. It was so impressive as unlike most handmade badges it is a proper enamel one.

How about that for a rather unique badge. I have worn this lots and had lots of double takes where people see it is me on the badge! This really is one to keep.

I also bought another limited edition Coca Cola 2012 Olympics badge

and 2 Venue only badges from the Aquatics Centre where we saw the springboard semi finals last Tuesday. So you may be asking why 2 they were hard to find. of them is the first prize for my promised 2nd Bloggerversary giveaway. This is a little overdue as it happened on 26 July but with the wedding etc I did not have a chance to sort this out.

As it is 2 years since I started blogging I am offering a 2nd prize too. The 2nd prize winner will win a bag charm of their choice! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post and let me know the colour/theme you would like and I will try to make something appropriate. There are lots of "sold" or for sale bag charms in my  Etsy shop here and here are a couple of recent commissions to wet your appetite;

A pair for an owl lover...

and one for a Sewing Queen!!

Yes I have even started on my Christmas stock ;0)

My giveaways are always open to everyone.
You do not need to be a follower but it is really lovely to see how many new friends have joined me recently.  You are all so welcome here.

So for my card challenge today; again I wanted something joyful to sing out the happiness that I have experienced during the Olympics and also for 2 wonderful years of blogging.

This is one of my all time favourite Lili of the Valley stamps called Dandelion Clock. This card is up for sale in my Etsy shop here

I love using blue and pink together. I coloured her using my Promarker pens and highlighted using my Prismacolor pencils. I used papers from my stash.All the sentiments including the tags are from Lili of the Valley. I also used blue ribbon and a pink bow. There are 2 Prima paper flowers secured with a brad and I add some bling to her headdress and flower with Stickles glitter glue.

I would like to enter my card in the following challenges;

Divas by Design #47 for a female
Papercrafting Journey anything goes
Make it Monday Linky party #102
4 Crafty chicks #102 up, up and away
Cute Card Thursday #229 tag you're it
Whimsy Stamps Inspirations Challenge #49 summer fun
Penny Black and more August challenge, whiskers and/or wings

There is lots of treasure here in my post and I hope to share some of it with you too. Remember to add in your comment what colour and theme you would like to have for your bag charm if you would like to enter my giveaway. It will close on the last day of the month, 31 August. Do feel free to come back and leave a choice as a second comment once you have had a think about it. I am a "names in the hat girl" so it will not affect the numbers as I will put one name in for each person who wants to enter.Just make sure you do this by 31 August.

Thank you everyone who visits me here at Jane's Journal  for 2 wonderful years of blogging fun. I really love reading your comments and visiting you too and I have made some really great friends. People who do not blog never ever understand how and why people blog but I know just how much love there is out there ;0)

Bye for now,

Jane x

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Our Olympic Adventure

What a day we had yesterday at the Olympics. We were so looking forward to finally experiencing the 2012 Olympic Games in person. I don't know about you but I have been glued to the television since they started. Saturday night was a night I will never forget. Team GB won us no less than 3 golds in the athletics. My Hb and I were screaming at the TV by the end of Mo Farrow's 10,000km run, how amazing was that? I am just so proud of our staging of the games; I really think they are world class and team GB must be buoyed up by all the support everyone is giving them. As I type we have beaten  our previous medal record set in Beijing and now have 22 golds, 13 silver and 13 bronze. How incredible for such a small country. The cyclists and rowers have also swept the boards; what an achievement. The motto of these games has been "Inspiring a Generation". As a physiotherapist I truly hope these games do. The general public really do need to wake up to the dangers of a lack of activity and exercise. So many diseases are caused by us being far too sedentary. I really hope youngsters do get on their bikes, run, jump and feel they want to continue this magical experience. I hope the legacy is to inspire them to as physically fit as they can possibly be.  Enough of my preaching...I am sure you want to hear all about "Inside the Games" ;0)

The day started for us quite early as we intended to get to the Olympic Park by 8am so that we could get through security quickly and explore a little before our event. We had seats for the mens' 3m springboard diving semi finals which started at 10am. We had no problems getting there and we were actually inside the Park only 1 1/2 hours after leaving home!

We were amazed by the sheer size of the was huge. It took more than half an hour to walk from one side to the other!

The Aquatics Centre was near the entrance and at 9am we walked across the bridge to take some photos.

It was day 11 of the Olympics and we bought a copy of the Daily Record. This is full of great stats and a super souvenir of the games.

The Aquatics Centre is a gorgeous building both from the inside and outside.

We were lucky to get this photo before the hoards of spectators arrived.

Above is the amazing view back towards the Olympic Stadium and The Orbit. We were very lucky with the weather, its was warm but overcast in the morning and brightened up during the day.Perfect for spending 13 hours on our feet! At 9.30am we were able to go inside the Aquatics Center and wow how impressive were the swimming and diving pools.

Diving pool, the competitors were warming up.

The swimming pool where Phelps made swimming history.

The atmosphere was amazing and as the divers began the excitement could really be felt. Each diver had 6 dives and those who achieved the top 12 scores went through to the finals in the evening.

 Their dives were astounding.

I cannot imagine how they remember
where the water is. It was such a fun 1 1/2 hours watching these semi finals.
At the end the scores were all calculated and it was so good to see that our GB lad got through to the next round, he came 9th. The applause for him was deafening.

At 1.30pm we had tickets to ride The Orbit. This is the tall structure next to the Stadium. A lift takes you up to a viewing platform high above the Olympic Park. You can take the lift down our walk..we did..all 400+ steps! The viewing platform is the large rounded part to the left and the walk down is the "helta skelter" part.
The lift runs up the middle.There were only limited tickets sold in advance for this so were were so lucky to have got them.

From the viewing platform we had extraordinary views into the Olympic Stadium, we were able to see the track, seating etc. We could also see out across the rest of the Olympic Park; in the distance was the Velodrome. We could also see a 360o view of the whole of the London was breath taking.

I had fun zooming in on what was going on down below!

After our Orbit experience we explored the whole of the park and wore our little legs down. There were great shops too and of course I came home with a souvenir or too ;0)

Everywhere had been planted up so beautifully, all very natural planting with swathes of wild flowers everywhere and plenty of places to sit and relax if you wanted to. I thought it strange that tickets were sold for the Olympic Park only but really it was a lovely place to be with or without tickets to the events.
Everyone was so pleased to be there, it was such a positive atmosphere.

There was lots of water everywhere too so there was a feeling of this being an oasis in the heart of such a busy city.

How incredible that this was just waste land when we won the bid just 7 years ago.

A really remarkable transformation.

I will come back to show you some of my treasures I bought in my next post and yes , I have not forgotten my promised giveaway. Watch this space.

So my challenge card for today had to be something to celebrate such a fantastic day. I think this fits perfectly.
This fun stamp is a digi stamp which was one of my very first winnings some months ago. I coloured it in with my Promarkers and highlighted with my Prismacolor pencils.

I used some bold backing papers featuring ladybirds and spots and used the super Lili of the Valley tag stamps to add my sentiments.I finished off with a polka dot black satin ribbon.

Yesterday really was a time to "celebrate happy times".

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges.

Cupcake Craftroom Fresh and summery August Challenge
Papertake Weekly Anything Goes
Make it Monday Weekly linky party
Crafting for all seasons Bright colours #33
Sir Stampalot Take flight
Ladybug Crafts Ink summer fun

I am getting ready for another evening of excitement on the TV watching the Games...Usain Bolt starts his quest  for the 200m gold by running the semi finals. He hopes to add to his 100m victory. He really is the fastest man on earth and so compelling to watch. Brenda has also reminded me that Mo ran the 5,000m heat and won. GO MO!!

I also want to mention here that the Ribbon Girl are having a great giveaway of some fab GOLD ribbons on their blog. Do pop over and join the fun. They feel just as I do, so proud of team GB and the medals they have won. We may even add a few more before the closing ceremony this weekend.

I shall be back next week with details of my 2nd bloggerversary giveaway so do come back. Can I also thank you all for the wonderful wishes you sent me and my family for Milly and Tom's recent wedding. They are staying at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on their honeymoon at the moment, having been out to the see the Grand and Bryce Canyons. Next stop Death Valley ;0) They are having a ball.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x