Monday, 27 August 2012

Week 5 - Summer Holidays 2012

One member of the family had a fabulous week whilst the rest of us pined for him (including the dog!). Archie spent Saturday to Saturday at the Essex International Jamboree. Until we got there last Saturday I hadn't quite appreciated just how large it was .... it was MASSIVE. I think I was expecting something a little larger than the normal Scout Camp, but how wrong was I. Jamborees are big, really big, involving thousands with a proper outdoor live stage and tents everywhere.

Archie came home with a lot of scarves, not quite sure what we will do with a scarf and half a duck on it but I'm sure we will find a use for it if only to serve as a visual reminder of what a brilliant time he had.

He was sharing a tent with three of his very, very good mates and unbelievably this is a picture of the inside. What I want to know is how do the leaders get them to do this .... I mean really HOW do they get them to do this?

On Wednesday the Jamboree had an open day so Granny, Oscar and one of his friends and I went over to see Archie and to have a wander around the site. We were so impressed with the number of activities and organisation and the boys got to try zorbing and had a go in a police simulator. If we'd had a bit more time and I wasn't with two queue adverse people (Granny & Oscar) they could have tried loads more activities.

I was just so pleased to see him, if only briefly, having missed him like mad and so I was a bit sad to have to leave him and go home but he couldn't have cared one bit and was quite relaxed about us going.

He finally came home on Saturday much earlier than expected as they had taken the tents down on Friday night because they thought it would rain on Saturday. I couldn't wait to get there and we had a lovely journey home hearing all about his adventures. He loved it all and got to experience so many things even a fake wound.

Of course I'm just glad he's home .... and with so few dirty clothes to wash! In fact as we were unpacking there was a big pile of clean/unused clothes and only about four garments he had worn. Don't you just love ten year old boys!?!?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Summer Evening

Last Sunday I sat in the garden after everyone else had gone in appreciating the moment of quiet time and savouring the last of our summer. I could hear the faint hum of a combine, the beep beep beep of a forklift in a yard and birds singing. It was very peaceful.

I had picked some flowers to bring indoors and so along with the harvest sounds could smell sweet peas. Wonderful.

This Sunday is much more autumnal and there is quite a different light so I'm looking at these photos wondering if we will get any more afternoons/early evenings like this?

I'm not keen on Autumn and already the boys are asking how many days until we they have to go back to school so I know summer is nearly at an end. 

No New Clothes Challenge - Months 6 & 7

I hope this is OK as part of this challenge because I have got a new dress but I did make it - is that alright I wonder? I've often wanted to buy a Clothkits kit and when I saw this dress in the sale I thought the time had come to snap up a bargain. Unbelievably good service from Clothkits as I ordered it on Thursday and the package arrived on Friday, beautifully wrapped too.

I happened to have a rare afternoon free on Saturday and so set to work. Cutting out was easy without all those silly paper patterns that quite honestly frighten the life out of me and the instructions are perfect for a beginner like me. The other joy of Clothkits is that you get the thread and matching zip too so no faffing around having to buy extra bits.

Once all the pieces were cut out it was time to start sewing and after several (!) phone calls to my mum I was in the swing of it and sewing away beautifully ....  well I say beautifully the dress would not stand up to close scrutiny by an expert but it looks fine from a distance.

And here is the finished article ..... I don't actually plan to wear it as a dress though as I'll feel much happier wearing it as a tunic which is why it is so short in case you think I'd got a bit scissor happy with the hem ;-)

I'm thrilled with it and it has given me a bit more confidence to tackle the paper pattern I have. 

Things I learnt. The special little up/down button on my sewing machine is the key to getting the bobbin to catch. I need to be a bit more accurate with the sizing as although I put a zip in the dress I really don't need it and can slip the dress on without undoing it which makes me think I was a little over cautious in the sizing. The zipper foot I have is wrong. I need to be able to visualise 1.5cm more accurately! 

I would definitely buy again from Clothkits and will look out again for anything that comes up in the sale.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Personalised Hen Party Bunting

It's always a good sign when a new product gets an order the very first day of going live and that's what happened with my Personalised Hen Party Bunting and so I'm glad I finally got round to sorting it out.

I always get a lot of hen party bunting orders through my Bespoke Bunting but wanted to have a specific Hen Party one and offer the alternative of having small, medium and large. Initially I came up with a different design and I'd done the prototypes months ago but only got round to taking photos last week and then set it up on notonthehighstreet but I knew that the ordering system was just too complicated and it wasn't quite right. Then suddenly I realised what I needed to do and had done the design, photos and description in the space of a morning!

I've got another four orders going out today so I'm happy that I've made the right choice and got rid of the other complicated ordering one that would have had customers confused before they got anywhere near buying some! It's funny how sometimes you just have to look at things slightly differently and realise when you've got scrap something and start again.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Week 4 - Summer Holidays 2012

I felt very sad to see the end of the Olympics and it has seemed very odd not having the tv on all the time with the murmur of sporting achievements and commentary in the background.

We really enjoyed the Closing Ceremony though and as we had people over on Sunday for a sunny relaxed lunch we all watched the Closing Ceremony with much talk of "who's that" and the different generations explaining who was who. As we watched it we even got to tell the boys that we had 'Always Look on The Bright Side of Life' played on the organ as we left the church on our wedding day which made me even more nostalgic! 

So this week has been a bit more of a work week for me 
whilst the boys have spent their time perfecting scooter moves. 

The boys are obsessed completely obflippinsessed with their scooters and spend hours with each other and friends talking about the improvements that could/can be made. I've had various boys here this week boring for Britain about scooters, scooter parts and scooter parks! They talk another language about double whips, jumping five stair sets, hop in pool bowl, bar out and double whip out flat bank ..... ????

But hey they're doing something active and outside so does it matter that I have no idea what they are talking about as it keeps them amused and Oscar has even been very helpful around the house/garden today because he needs bus money to get to .... yes you've guessed it .... the local skate park!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Week 3 - Summer Holidays 2012

After the excitement of going to the Olympics last week, we were keen to experience a bit more of the London 2012 magic so we went for another visit this week. This time we travelled by various London modes of transport. Train, tube, Docklands Light Railway, River Bus and Cable Car .... yes cable car!

It was brilliant and just a little bit scary in a good way. If you've not heard about the cable car then read all about it here. Plainly Oscar didn't really know what we were doing in London because when he first saw the cable car his initial reaction was "I'm not going on THAT" we had to explain that it wasn't really a choice thing and he had to {cruel mother} and of course he loved it and couldn't wait for the return journey.

The journey across the Thames is only about ten minutes but a real experience and we could see for miles and miles. We got off at Greenwich and as ever the boys were starving so we found a Wagamamas to have lunch. Perfect day to have lunch outside and we sat and watched all the different nationalities as they headed off to watch the Olympics. Lots of happy policemen and happy Olympic volunteers. It will be very odd to go to London when there aren't lots of happy people to direct you around. The other thing I wanted to do was see the Olympic Rings at Tower Bridge so we boarded a River Bus to zoom us down the Thames.

We had a fantastic day and proved yet again that we are close enough to London to go and do a couple of things and then just go home. If you try and do too much in one day you just end up exhausted and end up spending a small fortune. We loved the cable car and looking at the Olympic Rings and although it was a pretty hot day I'd still rather be in London in the bright sunshine than rain any day :-)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Personalised Fortune Tellers

I had made some fortune tellers a while back but then never got round to putting them on my product page so when a customer asked if I could make one for her I quickly went back to the original one and had a look at it.

Of course as it was months ago I ended up completely redesigning it and after a few doubts about how they actually go together I finally came up with this design.

What do you think - does it remind you of your school days when you made fortune tellers at lunchtime? I like to think that mine are just a tad more sophisticated.

I tried to take photos of them a few weeks ago with me holding them AND holding the camera .... that did not work! Luckily today I had a hand model on hand {excuse the pun}. So with the help of my lovely model I got much better photos and I have now placed the Personalised Fortune Tellers on my nothonthehighstreet product page. I'm not expecting huge sales of them but they're fun and something different and I like the photos.

I think I'm getting the hang of taking product photos now, shame it's only taken me about a year and a half.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Week 2 - Summer Holidays 2012

I could tell you about the day at the beach or the TWO outings to buy new mobile phones but really Week 2 was all about what we did on Wednesday because on Wednesday we went to THE OLYMPICS!!! 

We had to get up very early but we were all up and ready to catch the 6.24am to take us directly to Stratford, realising how lucky we were to only have a short train journey. We didn't even get to use our free London train tickets. Getting from the train to the security check was easy and straightforward with happy, smiley purple uniformed staff wishing us a happy day. The army staff were happy as they checked our bags. Everyone was happy! It felt very exciting, a real carnival atmosphere and a real sense of exuberance in the air. We were even accompanied by a marching band walking to get a coffee, we never saw them again so goodness knows where they ended up!

We had applied at each round for tickets and missed out so I was relieved and so pleased to finally get some on the last ballot. We got hockey tickets which I was pleased with as the venue was at the Olympic Park. I'd have been happy to have just day tickets to the Park but it made it much more worthwhile to actually see some sport live. We were lucky as the first match we saw was Australia vs Spain which was a great match to watch. Australia are favourites to win and as Archie's cousins are Australian he decided to become an honorary Aussie for the day with Aussie t-shirt and cap. {Must point out that as soon as the match had finished he swapped his t-shirt and cap for Team GB ones!}

The match was gripping although Australia completely flounced Spain and won by 5-0. The next match we saw Belgium vs The Netherlands was less exciting and I spent quite a lot of time admiring the varied and extraordinary orange outfits worn by the Dutch supporters.

We did Mexican waves, we cheered, we clapped, we oooh and we ahhd.

The view from the Riverbank arena was pretty amazing. As it is an outdoor, temporary structure we were pretty high up and got a good view of the Park from our seats. 

The matches finished at about 1pm so we went off in seach of food. I had planned on taking packed lunches but the early start and restriction on bag size meant I didn't get round to it. I expected to get ripped off by disgusting offerings of "event" food but we were pleasantly surprised by the price, quality and choice on offer and our family of four ended up having three different types of cuisine! 

We then ambled around the Park taking in the sights and people watching. The photo below is a bit of a "Where's Wally" type photo because we are all in it .... but where?

After watching the Olympics on television in the preceding days it was great to see all the venues and wander round at a leisurely pace looking at the flowers and sculptures. I particularly liked the telephone boxes.

It truly was a memorable 'once in a lifetime' day and it did not disappoint. The organisation and attention to detail was brilliant and it really did all seem to run like clockwork. It was such a happy day and one we will all remember forever. I'm so glad I persevered getting tickets. I know a lot of people just couldn't be bothered to keep trying and the temptation a few months ago was to have a bit of a "bah humbug didn't want to go anyway" attitude in the expectation that us British aren't good at events like this. I'm so glad to be proved wrong as we honestly couldn't fault the experience except maybe the ticketing ballot etc. But that is all forgotten now and we are all glued to the television whenever we have a spare moment watching and enjoying London 2012.

Proud to be British this week :-)