Archive for March, 2012

Free Pattern Giveaway

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

One of my friends set up a little Etsy store a while ago. She sells a bit of a random assortment of items – there’s some pretty jewellery, some cute mini aliens, some rather nice crochet, knit and cross-stitch patterns and other things too :) Right now she’s offering a free pattern to anyone who buys anything!

My little bear was made with her pattern:

As was my Aces cloth (pattern):

Patterns at Celeena Cree Creations

If you write a blog, getting a free pattern is even easier! :) Write her a little post like this one, send her a link to the post with your pattern choice and you’ll get a free pattern :) I’m personally looking forward to making that cute little robot :)

Musical Outings

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Two concerts over 3 evenings results in a sore throat and rather achey legs! :) However, much musical enjoyment :)

Friday night we went down to Wolverhampton to see Presidents of the United States of America (POTUSA from here otherwise my fingers will get worn out!) Their support band were the Straight Lines:

They had a good tshirt, so I wanted to like them more than I did. They were a little generic… nothing really stood out about them to make me want to spend money on their merchandise. Not to say they weren’t good and an enjoyable band. They were nice and chatty with the audience, they just didn’t grab me.

The main act of Friday night, POTUSA, are a band I’ve been aware of for a very long time. Oddly enough, Chris too :)

As you can tell from my photos, we were rather close… which turned out not to be a great idea! Apparently, POTUSA fans are rather, urm, crazy! I can cope with jumping around and enjoying the music… but it was all getting a bit vicious and dangerous. After a few manic songs of jumping with the crowd, some stomped on toes, and a fear of losing my glasses, we moved back a little which was much safer!

They’re a very silly group and quite chatty and enjoyed letting us all do the singing a few times :) A good night out other than the bruises!

Then on Sunday night we travelled up to Manchester to see Three Doors Down, supported by Seether :) I love it when you know and like the support acts, since it’s like getting two concerts for the price of one, rather than having to stand through randoms.

After the battering on Friday night we hung back a bit on Sunday. Seether were good, though clearly I need to buy their latest album as there were a number of songs everyone else seemed to know which I didn’t! Still, I thoroughly enjoyed singing and bouncing along to the ones I did (and still bouncing to the ones I didn’t!) :) It’s the second time I’ve seen them as a support act… maybe one day I’ll see them as the main act!

We managed to sneak a bit closer and more central before Three Doors Down came on. It seemed to take forever for them to make an appearance, which given it was a Sunday night and we were an hour from home, was making us a little grumbly! Again, I seem to be an album behind! So I need to go and buy more music (such a shame!) :) However, they played all the well known older ones too, so there was lots of singing along :)

He was nicely chatty with the audience and clearly happy we all knew the words! Though I really didn’t want to know that he flunked out of school and wrote the lyrics to some of my favourite songs at age 15 instead of paying attention in maths lessons! :( Fairly sure a band shouldn’t be advocating ignoring your education and aiming for stardom!

At one point he had the audience singing Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins a cappella – a little bizarre!

One slight upset is that because of the late start, they managed to get kicked off before playing Kryptonite! Nyargh! They came back for an encore and played some random new song most people didn’t know instead of the one everyone was expecting. So obviously that was the first track on once back to the car with my pretty new tshirt :)

Parchment Craft

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Some time ago, Nikki and I went to a craft show where we saw parchment craft for the first time. I was inspired by the delicate designs, by the fact it looked very similar to the embossing techniques I already love, and I wanted to try. Alas, the foolish people had no beginners set, no deal for a newbie to get the basics, no temptation to spend.

I was a little sad to leave the show without the new craft, but fear not! Nikki found a beginners kit in Hobbycraft shortly after and it was soon gifted my way :)

Then it sat. Forgotten in a corner for quite some time. Till Chris turned on Create & Craft TV and got me wanting to spend money on my card making again. Then I remembered I already had a lovely new thing to try :)

Finally last night I got out the kit, sat down for a couple of hours, and made this…


It was fun and fairly fast and created something rather lovely :) It’s a bit wrinkly and needs sticking to some card to flatten it down some! But it’s pretty :)

Tonight I made an actual card…


I think it’s a really lovely effect and I’m looking forward to making the rest of the patterns in the kit and then designing my own :)

What do you think? Have you ever tried parchment craft? What’s your favourite card making technique?

A Proposal

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

No, not a proposal for you, dear readers ;)

There’s one day, every four years, when tradition allows a reversal of roles. There had been hinting from Chris that he thought this a fabulous day, and I had been contemplating for a while whether I should go for it and take the pressure of “that perfect romantic moment” away from him.

Then along came Gü asking for any ladies thinking of asking the question as they wanted to make it extra special. It piqued my interest so I replied and then forgot about it for a while.

On the 21st an email appeared from them with the offer of a Gü chocolate heart filled with truffles, and a message of my choice iced on top. So I thought and I contemplated and I figured even if I didn’t go through with it, yay for chocolate! :) I chatted with Laura and arranged the message and delivery for the 28th and then I started wondering what would make that “perfect moment”.

A quick google later and I’d found a lovely looking 5 star hotel and spa just 20 minutes away! I was amazed there could be somewhere so close which would fit my requirements, so I sent them an email to check that the recent bad review on Trip Advisor wasn’t normal. Lucy assured me it was just a grumpy man who’d tried to cancel his 12 month gym membership and not taken kindly to having to pay for the full 12 months… since I wasn’t intending to join the gym this was fine by me ;) Lucy and Laura were the only people who knew of my plan beforehand and were both very encouraging :) Lucy arranged for a complimentary bottle of wine to help calm my nerves for the big question :)

Then, the challenge of a gift. We have an attachment to toucans, those of you who know me well have probably seen the toucan on my bracelet, so I decided he should have a toucan to match. I googled around some more, looking for a toucan (key)ring seemed appropriate. I finally found something I thought might work, and it turned out despite being on eBay, it was actually in a shop just down the road! I let fate guide me and headed over there that afternoon to buy it :)

Planning all sorted, I just had to wait for the day, and then manage to drag Chris away from his desk ;)

After a little tour of the facilities and our welcome juice, we went for a walk around the grounds. The sun had come out and the skies had cleared. It was warm enough to walk just in our tshirts through their little wooded area :)

After this point, there aren’t many photos because we discovered there was no signal on our phones! Absolutely no service whatsoever across the whole place! Something of a surprise, but actually very nice to escape from work completely for 24 hours :) So we mostly didn’t take our phones with us and hence no camera!

We spent the afternoon making use of the spa facilities – sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and a swimming pool :) Much relaxation and warmth :) Then back to our room for a little while before dinner. We weren’t sure what to expect of the 5 star dinner, whilst the menu had sounded fine I had been wary that it might be tiny gourmet foods, so had packed lots of snacks. I needn’t have worried, there was lots of food and we were stuffed afterwards! I had the silliest crispy shredded duck pancake ever – it was in fact a Staffordshire oatcake rather than a pancake :D Now I want to make my own that way too :) Whilst Chris started with some garlic mushroom bruschetta which was most tasty. For mains I had some pork with the yummiest crackling *ever* and Chris had a tasty steak :) His steak came with triple cooked chips – why 3 times? We don’t know… but they tasted good :)

We shared a bottle of rather tasty wine over dinner too :) By this point it was almost all gone and we were rather full. How could we possibly resist dessert though, after the first 2 courses had been so good?! ;) Chris had a warm chocolate and almond tart served with custard and chocolate ice cream. I had a hot chocolate cake with mint choc chip ice cream :) Both were must yummy :D

We headed back to the room, now rather inebriated, and I decided I had better actually ask the question before I ran out of day! I had been considering doing it over dinner, but the restaurant was a little too busy, and we’re not the kind of people to want a public spectacle! So I ask :) Presenting him with the (key)ring and chocolates, and obviously he says yes :D (Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post, now would I?!) :)

The next morning there was more sunshine, a little more spa usage, and a yummy chocolate back massage :) Followed by a hunt for a ring! We tried Longton (as we were driving through) and then Hanley, and when that failed headed back to cuddle the kitties for a while before heading up to the Trafford Centre. We walked round all the jewellers, and finally narrowed it down to three rings. We took photos and then had some dinner (mmmm, barburrito!) whilst we contemplated. Then we went and bought a ring :)

This is just a temporary ring whilst we choose a diamond ring, but it didn’t feel right that I was engaged and didn’t have a ring :) It’s white gold with tanzanite and is very pretty :) Conveniently, my ring finger on my right hand is the same size, so it will still get lots of wearing once we finally choose a “proper” ring ;)

Now to do that wedding planning thing! :D