Sunday, 31 January 2010

Grinding to a halt...

I need wiring. Not a lot, just enough to extend my upstairs lights from the middle of the house to the lower level where my socket strip will be. I don't want to have to spend £4.80 on 50 yards of wire when I'll only need maybe 24". I was watching a roll of wire on Ebay, I bid on it and just got outbid. With postage, the winning bidder is paying £4.30. Not a huge saving.

The worst part? Somewhere in this house I have some leftover lengths of wire. I'm sure I wouldn't have thrown them out, but I cannot find them anywhere. Ugh! So, do any of my UK blog buddies have any dollhouse wire to spare? I'm happy to pay for the wire and postage, I just don't want to have to spend £4.80. Let me know, please, so that I can get the Arthur's wallpaper done in the bedroom and bathroom, and get the interior finished and ready for the furniture to be unpacked!
Otherwise, I'll have tons of wiring left if anybody else needs it a later stage, lol!

PS I did get my table cleared for the mini-shoot, and I'm SOOOO excited to share the pics but you'll have to wait until 14 February to see them ;-)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Back on Track

The irony hasn't escaped me that most of my followers started following my blog because of my dollhouse. And it's been simply ages since I started building it, and things had completely ground to a halt and I've submitted you all to the boring ordinary things that occupy my mind. Well, guess what? I'm back on track!

I was going to show you this picture as a "look how much I got done today" update.

But actually, look how much I got done today!! I painted and sanded the stairs and skirting boards. I glued the floorboards down, and varnished them. And then I bravely cut some of the beautiful wallpaper Mercedes sent me and papered the walls too! I need to give the floor another coat, then I can glue the skirting boards and stairs. Unfortunately, the stairs don't sit completely level and I cannot figure out how to drop them on the left. You can only really see it if you look at them straight on, so it's not the end of the world, but I wish they were level.

And just look at the state of that dining table! I need it for a mini photo shoot on Saturday, I'd better get it tidied up tomorrow, lol.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

First You See It, Then You Don't...

Remember back when we had all our snow Holly got her first wobbly tooth? Well, yesterday, through a combination of her ham sandwich and her pizza dinner, her tooth suddenly got a lot looser. She panicked a bit in the bath (largely due to my reaction, no doubt...I freaked out at the sight!) and then wouldn't close her mouth, wouldn't swallow, and was too scared to go to bed in case she swallowed it.

So, we rang her best friend who's lost lots of teeth already, who reassured Holly that she's got a couple of days at least before it falls out completely. I was so sure of it being secure enough to stay put for a day or two more that I bet her £10 it wouldn't fall out during the night. Humph!

5:30am I get woken up with a giggling 7 year old. Look Mommy, she said, my tooth fell out!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Playing Around

I'm playing around with new blog templates. Bear with me, things might change, as I figure out what it all means and how to do what I want!

On a side note, I don't know if you have visited Wee Cute Tresures at all. I met Carol through her peg dolls, and she met me through my Arthur pics on Flickr, and then we put two and two together and realised who each other was, lol! Anyway, she is busy shopping for a dollhouse, and sent me links to some really cute houses, and now I'm all fired up - I want a new house and I haven't even finished my Arthur yet. Just look at this one, it's called the Manchester, it was made by Duracraft who are now no longer producing dollhouses, so basically, when the stocks sells out, that's it.
There's a UK company that sells it, so I'm not even looking at shipping costs. The postage would cost £4.50! Oh, but the house is £139. Yeah, that's where it gets complicated. I don't have £143.50. Maybe that's a good thing, I can't imagine having the time for another project now.

But look at that lovely interior space! Of course, the alternative is to completely build my own house from scratch, using all the elements I love from each and every house I love. And finish the Arthur before I even think of another house, lol. For now, I'll just figure out all this html code and get my blog looking pretty.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

My First Blog Award!

Imagine my surprise to have been awarded the sunshine blog award by new-found friend, Carol, at Wee Cute Treasures! I've never received an award before, and while I realise there's quite a few going around and you don't need to do much to receive one, it's quite fun none the less to find your name and blog link on someone else's blog! So, to pass it on to another blog that make me feel sunny, I'm going to say Mercedes, at Liberty Biberty! I could list a lot more blogs, but I'm afraid while I follow their blogs and visit often, I don't think they come to mine quite as often, so I'll leave it at this but add that all the blogs I link to on the left are well worth a visit. Thanks Carol, isn't it fun how quickly you can find and make friends through our blogs?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

What France means to me...

Patricia over at Papillon Bleu is hosting a bit of a French party this week. She's invited bloggers from all over to share a bit of what France means to them, and it's been wonderful to see everyone's take. France holds a very special place in my heart. I arrived in Paris, CDG airport a few days before Christmas in 1995, a very young, very naive and very shy 22 year old, on my way to become a jeune fille au pair for a family with a little girl, 6, and a little handicapped boy, 10.
I left Paris from Orly airport in March 1997, a bit older, a lot wiser and so much more confident in myself with a lifetime of wonderful memories.

The family lived in St Tropez, in a beautiful, character filled old farmhouse called la Ferme de la Moutte. La plage de la Moutte was down the lane...and it was a nudist beach - Imagine! These are snapshots from my photo album. I thought of scanning pictures , but I didn't think the quality would be much better than this and this way you get to see more. My room was set apart from the main house, that's my window in the top left pic. My folks visited while I was out there, which was lovely.

I met some of the most amazing girls from all over the world in St Tropez, and while our charges were at school, we would met up and go to the beach, or into town to the farmer's market on the square. On our nights off, we'd hit the bars and clubs in town, and hopefully meet a few mecs who'd pay for us to get in to Papagayo! Here I am with Tammy from the UK, Louise and Claire from South Africa, and my hair the longest it's ever been. (And we won't say anything about how much less I weighed back in those days!)

The family I worked for had a boat, which we would often go out on for the weekend to the nearby islands. Port Cros was one, and Porquerolles another. I only have to hear Vangelis's Conquest of Paradise to take me straight back to those days, with Jacques at the helm and the music playing full blast, as we raced back to St Trop, crashing over the waves at top speeds!

I left the family in July, and headed to Paris for the remainder of my stay. I was incredibly lucky to have my French teacher from SA in Paris at the time I arrived, and Aude was instrumental in getting me there safely and set up with job applications and metro tickets. I managed to get a job at Planet Hollywood on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, which was fantastic fun. I bumped shoulders with George Clooney (really, and he apologised!), saw Geena Davis, Jean-Claude van Damme and Samuel L. Jackson, and got up to all sorts of mischief and fun with some wonderful people, again, from all over the world. I stayed at the YWCA in the 8th arr. and metro Villiers was my stop. This little market lane was just off from the metro, and the shops sold the most amazing bread, and cheese, and meat, and wine! The bottom pics are the Avenue des Champs-Élysées at night, at Christmas time.

When I first arrived, I stayed in the grandparents apartment at the Pont de la Tournelle. They had the top floor with a roof garden, and the view over the Notre Dame was breathtaking. This is me on a later holiday to Paris, in 2004, just in front of their apartment building.

Thank you Patricia, for giving me an excuse to share these old photographs, and for reminding me of what a wonderful country it is. I love France with all my heart.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

You'd think we actually miss the snow and ice...

But actually, it's just the new season of Dancing on Ice that got the kids nagging! I've never taken them ice-skating before. Liam's always been a bit too little, but suddenly, when they asked this week, I realised that they would probably both cope just fine with it. So we rang the Spectrum, found out about times and prices, and hit the rink this morning. The kids did brilliantly, from being very scared and wobbly when we started, to doing it hands-free by the end of the session! I've promised them we can go more often now, so they don't forget how to skate. In actual fact though, skating is a bit like riding a bicycle ... you don't completely forget how! And yes, in a very rare occurance, that's me in front of the camera instead of being behind it ;-)

*ETA* This is what they looked like later that day!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

All That's Left...

...of our snowman! We woke up to the most glorious sight his morning. Green, glorious green! The rain came, and melted the snow overnight. How I love the rain now!

Stark contrast to the shot of the kids playing in the street a week and a half ago. Come on spring, we're ready for you ;-)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Fabulous New Shoes

I decided to go into town on Tuesday, just to feel normal again, having been house bound for a whole week with the snow and the kids. I used the opportunity to get new brake pads fitted on my car, and then had just over two hours to browse while they were busy with the car. It was lovely, I had no agenda, no time limit, NO KIDS! and I did have money to spend! But, I didn't find any new jeans at the Gap (their sales are usually pretty good). Next had just the dregs left, and although I did get the shoes Liam really wanted in the next size up, and his anti-itch cream, I didn't find anything for myself. So, with time to kill I decided to hike up to the top of the High Street to Mickey D's (yes, my guilty pleasure is a Happy Meal!) and I popped into the charity shop next door. And just look what I found...

Aren't they gorgeous? I first thought they looked bigger than my size (UK 6) but on turning them around I saw they were a six. So I tried them on, and you'll have to take my word for it, but they are so cute on! They are the perfect heel height, I love their square toe, and the little flowers just add the perfect touch. And can you see, they're new? Brand spanking new, never been worn before. In a charity store. But the cherry on top?

The price! Can you see what it says? Yes, indeed. Four quid. For a brand new gorgeously cute pair of Faith Shoes. Heaven. And Faith are not known for affordable footwear.

On a different note altogether, yesterday's new snow day gave me the opportunity to try out the lights in the Arthur. I've lightly taped them in place, to see if we like the amount of light each fitting gives in each room. And I took this picture to check the scale of a peg doll against a 1:12 inch house. And I liked it, so I thought I'd post it here.

I did toy with the idea of switching the kitchen and bathroom lights, but the pendant one hangs really low, so I'd have to shorten the chain quite a bit in order to hang it downstairs. And that might detract from the light's overall effect. So I think they'll stay like this. I love the lounge light, it's perfectly bright for the room. And speaking of the Arthur, it's name is set to change. Holly hasn't decided between "The Brambles" or "Holly Cottage". Both very English, both very common/popular in England, and both relevant to us in name (our road is called Bramble something and Holly's name, well, that's self-explanatory!) I'm leaning toward the former. What do you think?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

What to do when you have a snow day...

1. Paint a picture of your holiday in Tenby with the kids.

2. Make happy lunches.

3. Steal the snowman's hat.

4.And take more pictures of the snow. Actually, these were taken on the weekend still, I hadn't uploaded them yet. This is Liam down our back garden path.

And this is the snow on the branches down the path.

And a close up of the branch. I liked how the sun was shining through the ice.

My poor jasmine. I think jasmine is another of those plants that just don't grow in England. Well, that's what I tell myself, because mine either drown or freeze to death. And how I love the smell of jasmine as you walk out the door. Sigh.

Can you guess what this is? We have leaky gutters. Where ours join our neighbours on both sides, we have drips. It can get pretty close to Chinese water torture during a heavy rainstorm, and we have got a roofer coming to fix them as soon as the weather improves, but for now, we have very drippy gutters. And this is what happens to those drips during a big freeze. They freeze, over the hose-pipe, and garden tools, and watering can.

This became Liam's ice wand for a good game of wizards with his dad. Then he ate it.

Actually, the painting we started this morning is looking fantastic. I drew the outlines, the kids painted all the flat colour bits, and then I started outlining it with a black sharpie. Holly then took over from me, and has added people sunbathing, swimmers frolicking, fishermen, sailors, kite flyers, families... it looks super. I'll take a picture of it when she's done and add it in here. Liam drew the sun and himself. It's super cute. Come back later to see.

Ta Da! Aren't we clever? Can you spot Liam's little dude? I love him, and the happy sun, and all of Holly's amazing additions! Click to see it bigger!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

I'm a Gleek!

Are you a Glee fan? Is England one of the last countries to have Glee hit our telly's? I've been waiting for ages for it, it made such a storm in the US when it launched, and it sounded right up my alley way. Well, my wait is over, and I was treated to a back to back episode one and two special last night AND I LOVE IT! It is fabulous! Seriously, if you're in the UK, try and see if E4 do re-runs through the week. And if not, buy episodes 1&2 on iTunes and watch next week at 9pm, E4. And then tell me you don't love it too.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Frozen England

These pictures were on the BBC weather website. I love this one of the hedge shaped like a heart. How fantastic for Lucy Savage to have found that, it's beautiful!

And this is a site not often seen - the entire UK, covered in white. We are well and truly caught in the middle of a very cold winter. How we long for spring now.

You can find the frozen UK image here ... Click!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Fun in the Sun, uh, I mean, snow!

This morning, I decided to try heading out for supplies. We have no bread, and while we're okay for milk, I thought I'd get some more ahead of this weekend's new heavy snowfall. I tried going up the hill to our local Tesco, but couldn't get up. So I swung around and went back down, and then couldn't stop at the bottom. Thank goodness for snow drifts to stop in! So we made our way very slowly to the little Co-Op, got there fine, but no bread, no milk and no delivery's scheduled this weekend at all. If our milkman doesn't make it through in the morning we'll have to head further afield in search of some supplies. How much snow are we still in for this weekend? Yikes!

Yesterday's snow fun. I had a look on Ebay at sledges. The plastic ones are currently going for £30-odd, the wooden ones anything from £40 to £70! We really need to get one, and after playing with this one of our neighbours, I think wood is really the way to go.

Trust Liam to act like a monkey!

Aw, sweet!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow Angel (with a wobbly tooth!)

Another snow day! What I love about the second day of snow is that the sun usually comes out, so I get much nicer photos than trying to take shots while it's still snowing on the first day. I took loads today, we borrowed a toboggan from our neighbours, and had loads of fun zooming up and down the road. I'll post those later. Here's my wobbly toothed girl making a snow angel. She's 7 years and 2 months old and this is her first wobbly tooth. I don't know who's more excited, me or her - just think of the scrapbook page I could do!

And here's what her snow angel looks like from Liam's window! When we looked out this morning and saw this patch of snow without a single foot print on it, we just knew it would be perfect for a snow angel. How on earth had all the kids missed it yesterday?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Happy New Year!

We are bringing in the new decade with the coldest winter England has had in over 100 years. Great. When it snowed our first winter here (2007), everyone told us to enjoy it, as it was not usual for this area to get snow at all. So we did, playing in the snow, building snowmen and making snow angels with all the neighbourhood kids. But then it snowed the next winter again (2008), and then the following winter (2009) saw the biggest snowfall in over 30 years, and now this winter, we've had snow twice already, and it's not even February. I think they were lying to us back in 2007, maybe trying to make us South Africans feel a little less daunted by the English winters!

But, nothing can take away the magic of waking up to a carpet of white. Where even the most mundane, ordinary neighbourhood scenes are transformed into beautiful, picture book images. We've made a snowman, and helped the kids up the road build an igloo. I used my Little Miss Sunshine hand-warmer, and she was lovely! We decided though that the thought of hot chocolate with marshmallows was far more appealing than staying out any longer, so we came back in. I'm not sure I'm going to want to go out again tomorrow, so lets hope the schools stay closed another day or two ;-)

My sister in law gave me this set of teacups for Christmas. I have six of each in the cup, saucer and side plate. They are so pretty, and the perfect size for giving the kids their hot chocolate in. The funniest was looking underneath for their makers mark. They say NHS 1972!

The view outside my window. Snow has started falling quite heavily again, so I wonder what the morning will look like? Brrr, I hope it doesn't stay cold for too long.

About Me

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Mother, wife, photographer, crafter, scrapbooker, painter of murals, dabbler. Sometimes in that order, sometimes reversed! Trying to juggle all of them and having a ball in the process.

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