Thursday, 27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving America

To all my American readers I hope you enjoy your turkey or tofu which ever you go for.

It's just plain ole Thursday here in the UK but that does mean that tomorrow is another very lovely Friday and that means weekend Yay! It seems that we are going to be busy every weekend until Christmas now. This Saturday we are Christmas shopping through the day and then in the evening we are going to a charity event my sister has organised at a local pub for a children's hospice, Sunday we are going back to the Christkindelmarkt with some other friends and then later to the pub quiz. The weekend after we are having our pub quiz team annual Christmas dinner. This year as we are all exceptionally poor as most of us have got married this year except one couple who are getting married on the 13th December so we are all putting in a fiver and having the meal at a friends house, it should be fun. The Friday will have been my Jewellery party. The next week is the afore mentioned couples wedding on the Saturday and overspill Christmas shopping on the Sunday. Then on the 20th we are having a Christmas Party at our house and sleeping all day Sunday. I also have to fit in jewellery time around the 40 hours at work! I have to say though, tiring as that might all be, I know it will be great fun!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Mmmm Bean Sprouts

Anyway, as planned we went to Country Baskets on Monday night for the paper bags but we came away with much more. Mum bought a clutch bag (I know, from a floristry wholesalers?) and some Christmas gift bags and I bought some small gift boxes, some lovely blue and green striped carriers and a pack of small black envelopes. The kind that those little florists cards go in. Anyway I just figured that earrings would go nicely into them. The choice of paper bags was poor. They had white ones which were an off white - dirty colour and brown ones. Neither were nice enough. I will post some piccies soon. Before I really got into the jewellery I used to make greetings cards and honestly if you live near a branch get yourself there cause the choice is amazing.

I really need to make some jewellery tonight, I haven't made much recently and I need to make as much as possible for the party next Friday. I just haven't felt inspired this week. I think it might be because I'm low on really nice beads. Sure I have nice beads but no really nice beads, sadly I have no money to rectify this.

So I joined Twitter last week. Seems okay, I went on a mass following spree today and now I haven't got time to reply to all the direct messages. I will, but it may take a while. It's essentially another marketing tool, another way to get your name out there. Sadly I'm not the first to discover this. It's also great from a personal perspective. It's interesting to see glimpses of peoples lives. I'm a big blog reader even if I don't always comment, I love to read about the regular, what some would call, mundane parts of life. I also love to read crafty and creative blogs, there is a wealth of information out there that some generous bloggers are willing to share.

If you have visited through a link I posted on Twitter I would really appreciate it if you left me a comment.

Oh, and I have a severe craving for bean sprouts right now!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Supply shopping

Tonight mum and I are going paper bag shopping to a local floristry warehouse called Country Baskets. I worked there for a while when I first left Uni. I didn't particularly enjoy the job but the people were really nice and they sell some amazing products. I'm going to buy some little bags for my impending jewellery party on the 5th December. It's at my house so it's friends and family who are coming. I like holding these parties but I really don't want to take advantage of their kindness. The are all hugely supportive and I really appreciate that but I don't want to take their money all the time. I tend to have these parties twice a year and always just before Christmas. This time I think people will really be able to see the new techniques I have learnt and how my work has developed.

The main problem with shopping at CB is the range of products they sell. Honestly the place is massive and they sell dried and silk flowers, baskets, glassware, kitchenware, candles, Christmas decorations, floristry supplies, party products, pottery, dolls house furniture. They also sell beads but they tend to be plastic so I don't bother with them. I don't have a lot of money to spend with Christmas fast approaching so I will have to resist the temptation tonight!
Any money I make is going towards another order but this time I'm only ordering sterling silver. I don't think I'll really use plated much in the future. I also need to buy some sort of display equipment at the moment I have cork boards with velvet on them and Jewellery holders from Ikea which are great.

19/30 rubbish score!

Na we didn't win despite being a team of eight this week. Still we had fun, it was great to see everyone, it's ages since we last went. It's even longer since we last won!

the weather has been a little unpredictable today. This morning it was lovely and sunny, then around lunch time it clouded over and started snowing and now it's sunny again! What's going on?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Gluhwein und Haggis

As predicted we had a great time at the German market last night. It was soooo cold though, I must buy some gloves soon or my fingers will leave home.We all had some Gluhwein and I stole the mugs as promised (I will post photo soon) A couple of us had German Sausage with a bread handle. The sausages were about 18inch long and came with a 4 inch bun!! Jimmy and Cathy had crepes.
Then we all had a go on the Carousel, it was ace! My horse was called James and he was the fastest, I won.

After the market we went back to our friends house and had haggis tatties and neeps for tea and stayed over. Over all a great time. Now we are getting ready to go to the pub quiz so I must dash. I'll let you know the score tomorrow.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Frohe Fritag!

It is a lovely sunny day here in Yorkshire, the sun has a warm golden glow to it and I’ve got that Friday feeling. I’m going to watch the Quantum of Solace tonight and I’m looking forward to it. It will be nice to go out somewhere with Jimmy and not think about the dodgy gas pipe or the old electrics.

Mr washing machine repairman came to my house yesterday and magiced my washer-dryer better. He even upgraded my thermostats!

Tomorrow James and I are going to indulge in some Glüwein at the German Christkindelmarkt at Millennium Square in Leeds it’s a great Christmas market, one of the biggest in the UK, the atmosphere is amazing and you get to ride the carousel which is great fun.
There is bar/restaurant called Frankfurter Scheune and it’s great. You get your Glüwein in a cute little mug, you have to pay a deposit of £2 but you can keep the mug if you don’t want your money back. I got a really lovely one last year but it’s lonely and wants a friend so I’ll get another this year. They also serve great food. I usually stick to the frankfurters but I might be a little more adventurous this year.
Here is the menu

Hot Drinks
Café, Coffee £ 2.00
Cappuccino £ 2.00
Kakao, Hot Chocolate Drink with Cream £ 2.50
"Lady´s Dream", Kakao, Baileys & Cream £ 3.50
"Men´s Dream", Kakao, Rum & Cream £ 3.50
"Santa´s Dream", Kakao, Amaretto & Cream £ 3.50
Tee, Tea £ 1.50
Glühwein, Mulledwine £ 3.00
"White Dream", White Mulledwine £ 3.00
"Hot Love", Mulledwine with Rum £ 4.00
"Flirt", Mulledwine with Amaretto £ 4.00
"Snowman", Mulledwine with Amaretto, Rum and Cream £ 4.00
"Bratapfelglühwein", Roast Apple Mulledwine £ 3.00
Himbeerwein, Mulled Raspberry Wine £ 3.00
"Himbi", Raspberrywine with Raspberryschnaps £ 4.00
Kirschwein, Mulled Cherry Wine £ 3.00
"Kirschi", Cherrywine with Cherryschnaps £ 4.00
Blaubeerwein, Mulled Blueberry Wine £ 3.00
"Heidi", Blueberrywine with Blueberryschnaps £ 4.00
"Hot Dream", Mulledwine with honey £ 3.00
Kinderpunsch, Children Mulledwine £ 1.50

Gulaschsuppe / Goulash Soup £ 3.00
Kartoffelsuppe / Potato Soup £ 2.00
Tomatensuppe / Tomato Soup £ 2.00

Small Dishes
Käsewurst / Cheese Sausage £ 2.50
Feuerschlucker / Hot Spicy Sausage £ 2.50
Krakauer/ Krakauer Sausage £ 2.50
Pommes frites / Chips £ 1.50

Omi´s Blechkuchen / Grandma´s yeastcake £ 2.00
Sahnetorte / Cream Tart £ 2.50
Nusstorte / Nut Tart £ 2.50
Biskuit Roulade/ Sponge Cake £ 2.50
Apfelstrudel / Apple Strudel £ 2.00
Apfelkuchen / Apple Cake £ 2.00
Pfirsichkuchen / Peaches Cake £ 2.00
Obstkuchen / Fruit Cake £ 2.00
Marzipanstollen, Marzipan Fruit Bread, 1000g £ 4.50
Butter Mandel Stollen, Almond Fruit Bread, 750g £ 4.50
Slice of Fruit Bread £ 0.50

Main Dishes
Rindergulasch mit Semmelknödel
Goulash and bread dumplings £ 6.00

Käsespätzle mit Röstzwiebeln
Swabian Noodel, melted cheese and fried onions £ 4.50

Semmelknödel mit Pilzsoße
Bread dumplings with mushroom sauce £ 4.50

Rinderbraten mit Spätzle
Roasted Beef with swabian noodles £ 6.00

Spießbraten mit Kartoffelsalat
Spit roasted pork & Mashed potatoes £ 6.00

Gegrillter Schweinenacken mit Kartoffelknödel und Blaukraut
Pork steak with potato dumpling and red cabbage £ 6.00

Krustenbraten mit Sauerkraut und Semmelknödel
Crackling roast pork with pickled cabbage and bread
dumpling £ 6.00

Surbraten mit Sauerkraut und Kartoffelpüree
Gammon pork with pickled cabbage and
mashed potatoes £ 6.50

Surbraten mit Knödel
Braised joint of pork with potato dumpling £ 6.50

¼ Ente mit Blaukraut und Kartoffelknödel
¼ Duck with red cabbage and potato dumpling £ 7.00

½ Schweinehaxe mit Sauerkraut
½ knuckle of pork with pickled cabbage £ 5.50

Spareribs mit Pommes
Spare ribs with chips £ 4.50

Zwiebelsteak mit Kartoffelpüree,
Pork steak with onions and mashed potatoes £ 5.50

Gefüllter Schweinebauch mit Brezelfüllung
Pork breast with pretzel filling £ 6.50

I think we are going to be taking a few trips because a few people have asked us to go with them. I’ve not been feeling the whole "it’s Christmas" thing yet this year. It’s still a little early for me. I love Christmas and usually I’ll be the first to be all Christmassy but I am sick of it by boxing day. I think the market will light my Christmas spark! I’ll try and remember to take some photographs.

Now that the washer-dryer is repaired (Yay!) I can catch up on the laundry and make some Jewellery on Sunday and then hopefully it’s off to the pub quiz in the evening. I have missed our outings to the quiz, we haven’t been for a while for one reason or another and I miss it. I enjoy my two pints of Speckled Hen and the company.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Breakdowns and Buses

Do they always have to come in threes? My shower no longer heats the water and having Epilepsy I have to be supervised in the bath so I can only have on on an evening and I will not have a cold shower, bring on the deodorant!! The heating element on our washer-drier went a few months ago but we just used an airer and the radiators and then last night we noticed that the drum wasn't spinning on the wash cycle. So I looked through the manual and followed all the fault finding and that didn't help. So I have had to purchase an insurance plan and they are coming to repair it tomorrow morning and luckily mum and dad have the week off and will sit in my house and wait for the engineer. So I'm waiting for the third thing now.

Our local council have been installing free cavity wall and loft insulation in every home in the district which is great and they came to do ours last Friday. Unfortunately we had to pull the gas cooker out for them to improve a vent that was behind it. I have never pulled the cooker out before and ugh! It took me ages to clean it. Now, I work in the gas industry and seeing our gas pipe (the green pipe) has me worried. It is embedded in the wall when it should be held free of the wall with clips to prevent corrosion. It is suffering heavily from verdigris and is corroded in some areas.
I do like my house but had I worked in this industry when I first viewed it I would never have bought it. It's a mid terrace stone and brick house built in 1900. The central heating system is 35 years old and even though it works fine it is inefficient and we can't make any cosmetic improvements to the house until the big messy jobs are done. So that's the old system and immersion heater ripping out, new copper piping all over the house and like everything else the price has soared recently, new rads and a boiler. The electrics are as old as the heating so they need totally replacing. New kitchen and bathroom are really needed and the solid floor is really uneven in the kitchen and needs leveling, unless it's stone in which case we'll just pretty it up but I have a feeling it will be concrete. And then of course every room has yukky raised pattern wallpaper that will probably be hiding cracked uneven walls and after having the electrics done there will probably be several holes that need covering. Hopefully being an old house there will be conduits running to the light switches for the cables and we wont need to chip the walls out. So yeah, re plaster every room and then we can get on with the cosmetic side of things, that's the bit I will enjoy.

Last night James and I were so miserable, it was just getting on top of us, we work 80 hours a week between us and have no money, it hardly seems fair. We can't afford a car and James travels for two hours each way on the bus to work so he is hardly at home and when he is things like this happen. We both need a holiday I think, just time off work. I shouldn't complain really because there are so many people worse off than us, at least I have a home and a job!!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Mixed feelings

Yesterday was a great day, it was my little nephew Joshua's christening. He was so good, didn't cry once even when he was covered in freeing cold holy water!

Reading about Baby P in the news has me so angry. When I hold Joshua all I want to do is protect him and keep him safe. He is so precious, not just because he is the cutest most beautifulest little boy in the world but because he is a helpless little child. So innocent and pure, so vulnerable and fragile. A new life, and there is nothing more wonderful and awe inspiring than that. We "normal" human beings will never be able to understand how anyone could hurt someone like that. Least of all a child. All the people in this world who go through years of IVF treatment, people who long for a baby and people out there who commit such atrocities. It hardly seems fair does it?

Friday, 14 November 2008

Making craft and music

It would appear that craft and music go hand in hand, whether that is musical skill or just a strong appreciation for it they seem to be linked. I have always loved music, my I Pod goes everywhere with me and I sing all the time, I probably drive everyone around me mad.

So why is this, why do so many musicians also craft? Does the appreciation for all things aesthetically beautiful bring with it an appreciation for audible beauty? I've wanted to be a singer for as long as I can remember but I've tended to go with folk, country, blues and Jazz rather than pop or rock.

Here are just a few examples

Kate Rusby is an lovely utterly creative folk singer who I had the pleasure of seeing in concert last year. We had a lovely day, it was an open air concert, we had a picnic and watched her weave her magical melodies sat on the grass on a perfect summer evening.

Frank is a lovely young lady I had the pleasure of working with a couple of years ago. Although I hated the job I enjoyed her company and the music we'd play when the manager was out. She writes and sings the most beautiful melodies and she is also a wonderful artist. She is one of a kind, not someone who just tries to be different, don't those people annoy you? Frank just is who she is. I hope she doesn't mind me telling you this but She was the Supervisor and I was the Assistant Manager. If the manager was ever unhappy with someone I had the unhappy task of delivering the message. Frank was always humming, I enjoyed listening to the humming, it wasn't like she was humming spice girls tunes badly, they were delicate, sweet little melodies. The manager made me tell her to stop humming and I hated her for it. I suppose the humming did interfere with the Robbie Williams CD playing in the background! As I type I am listening to Dragonflies I recommend that you do the same.

And of course there is Eva Cassidy. Now I don't care what people say about her being too popular now. I don't form my musical opinions based on popularity. Her music and artwork are beautiful. Her arrangement of Over the Rainbow is still one of my favourite songs and listening to I wandered by a brook side makes me feel like I'm floating.

And then there's little ole me. I can't paint (I really wish I could) and I still have only covers on here, I really must pull my finger out and get some of my original music up there.

I was obsessed by music for a long time and then my jewellery kind of took over but today having looked up the ladies above I once again feel inspired. That's what a true artist does to you, they inspire you. Every day I visit the people on my blog list and everyday they rejuvenate me.

So why is it? Is my musical ability in some way responsible for my ability to string beads onto tigertail? Do I see the beauty in todays dark and opressive sky because I like folk music and do my colleagues laugh at me and call me stupid for it because they listen to the Pussycat dolls?

No, the leafless trees and the charcoal clouds are beautiful, and the gentle picking of a guitar accompanying a tale of love and tragedy sung with honesty are beautiful. There is so much magic and wonder out there, you just have to pay attention.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Oooooh I love Etsy

It's so much fun over there on the forums. I have yet to sell an item but I will. I don't think I have put enough groundwork in yet.

I've listed some lovely 9ct Gold and Swarovski Crystal earrings today which I think are a bargain at $30 US, that's about £20 ish. They are the first piece of gold jewellery that I have ever made and I really want to keep them but that is not the aim of this little venture.
This is a lovely necklace using Lampwork glass beads. It's bold but I love it. I think it looks like a little country garden

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Lest we forget

Anyone got any spare inspiration?

I don't know what to write today, I'm a little stuck. I feel like I need to find some inspiration, I want to go for a walk in the countryside or see the ocean, I need something. I also think I need time off work, this year has been a hectic one. I took two weeks off in May for our wedding which was wonderful but not entirely relaxing and then I took two weeks off in August for my honeymoon but that was preceded by two weeks off sick after having five particularly violent epileptic seizures. All in all I haven't relaxed much this year and given that I have used my entire 20 day annual holiday allowance I'm not going to until Christmas. Don't get me wrong I'm not overworked or particularly stressed, my batteries just need recharging, that's all. The weekends go so quickly and the closer you get to Christmas the more weekends are taken up leaving you with less time for yourself. Maybe I just feel like this today because I am tired and not feeling so great, maybe I just feel whiny today!
Jimmy in Korcula, an Island off Croatia

Me (looking well dodgy) and Jimmy on a Gondola in Venice

My Grandad used to say that there is no country more beautiful than England. Having travelled a little I have to say that I have seen so much natural beauty in so many places that I could never say that but looking at the picture below of Derwentwter in the lake District I can see why he thought that

There are so many beautiful places I would love to see, Canada, America, New Zealand, Austria, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Iceland and many many more.

Monday, 10 November 2008


My head hurts. I've been a little sick today and I feel like crap. Me no likey.

Friday, 7 November 2008

New Items on Etsy

I've finally got some new items on Etsy. Even though I have yet to have a sale I'm really excited. I think I priced my items too high initially so I've reduced them dramatically and added some more modestly priced items.

I got absoloutley drenched this morning on my way to work. I have an aversion to umbrellas, I do quite like walking in the rain, it's spending the rest of the day soggy that I don't like. I'm glad I didn't bother to straighten my hair this morning. However just two hours later the skies are blue. It is forcast to rain again this afternoon, probably at 5pm!

See, no need for lights...

On a totally random note, someone told me I look like a blow up doll in this pic, do I?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Skies over the M62

I took these pictures last Friday from my office window just as the sun was setting. It was a beautiful sun set and much lovelier in real life.

Today however things are different. This picture was taken at 1pm today. The street lights are on!

I think to an extent everyone suffers from SAD. People in my office are a little down, not as happy as usual, they blame it on the weather. I don't like to have my office lights on. I prefer to work in natural light but not today

So to cheer us up here's some pretties to look at

Are you kidding me?

Over night I received 3 emails harshly criticising my last post. Only yesterday I visited Yvonne's blog and read her wonderfully written post about freedom of opinion and speech. I thought her post was dignified and concise. I however will not be so polite. If you don't like my blog, don't read it.

I will not sensor my opinions, nor would I ask anyone Else to. Yes I whole heartedly support equal rights. I always have and I always will. I will not judge you because you are a republican or religious or black or asian or white or green with orange polka dots. But I will judge you if you are racist, sexist, homophobic or if you tell me I cannot believe what i like. You cannot change my opinions with hateful emails you will only strengthen my conviction.

This post will not stay up for long. This blog is a place for beauty and friendship not hate.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Thank you America

On the 1st December 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man, 53 years later the United States of America voted to instate their first African American President. Today is a great day for all those who have fought for equality. Racial, sexual or otherwise. For those who have sacrificed their lives for their beliefs and for freedom from oppression, for the good of others. I saw a picture of Rev Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes and it brought tears to mine. Obama is a good man who in my opinion has won the hearts of America and the world not because of the colour of his skin, but because of the content of his character.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

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