Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blog Angels April Reveal!

For the first time, my ability to engage with Blog Angels as fully as I love to just hasn't been possible. I had lots of plans for posts this month to encourage love in blog land, but it didn't happen for numerous reasons.  I guess it's a full on 'Of Mice and Men' message there - despite my best intentions, it all went a bit wrong.
I'd love to thank those ladies who took part this month and promise the new Angels that I am normally more in contact than I have been this time. If you are reading thinking, 'huh? What's Blog Angels?' well you can read all about the project here....or even better read the posts of those who took part and see what they have been doing to help another blog in secret throughout April.

This link-up is for current Blog Angels only. If you want to take part, you need to pop back from 15th May to join in the June round of the project. I am hoping to get more than 30 people in June, so if you can help me out, that would be awesome.

The ladies linking up below are all Blog Angels. They have spent their month helping out another blog, from commenting to arranging collaborations to giving social media shout outs. You never know, they might have been looking after you!

Angel ladies, you can link up your post below until the end of the week. Please remember to reveal the blog you have cared for, what you have done to help, and the most important, visit your blog and let them know you have been their angel!
Things are slowly starting to clear work wise (although a good 8 hours on a Sunday is something I am not keen to repeat any time soon...) That will hopefully mean my brain comes back and I can write lots more to my lovely reader friends. Until then....as a 'Miranda' character would say: "Bear with....."

(Don't know who 'Miranda' is? Check out the British sitcom series and you'll get a great insight into my silly sense of humour and great taste in comedy shows.)

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Monday, April 29, 2013

May Craft Challenge - The A-Z of Wall Decor (Presents for Small People)

It's nearly May, the month of my birthday, the time of the year when Spring should have fully arrived (hear that weather) and even better, it's nearly summer. For our craft this month we are making Wall Décor.....there's no budget limitations, unlike last month, but I am still keeping things cheap and chic.

The results from last month's challenge vote is as follows. I cried into my cornflakes a bit this morning over this one peeps. Clearly I'm the only tea drinker on this blog!
1st: PJ's Moustache Tray (by one mark)
2nd: Anja's Damask Wall Stencil
Technically 3rd: Rosie's Tea Pot Garland (ZERO VOTES PEOPLE!!)
That'll teach me not to tell my mum I'm in a competition :-)
I'm going to channel my stiff British Upper Lip for the next round - I hope you like my wall art better than my budget attempts.
I saw a picture like this selling for A LOT of money in a home store and had one of those moments where I turned to a friend and said confidently: 'I could make that for a quarter of the price'. And do you know what? I did! I also decided to make it for her son, who I am now a God-parentish person for.
To make this you need: paint samples, wooden letters (usually in the kiddie craft section), a canvas and glue.
  • Paint the canvas until it is matt and not streaky. I needed two coats.
  • Paint the letters. I picked out the initials of the little boy in a darker blue. Hopefully when he is older than 18 months he will recognise that it belongs to him by the letters.
When all is dry, space them out on the canvas until you have an arrangement you loved. I stuck to lines to avoid it becoming an eye-chart - although for an adult, an eye-chart might be quite cool! Glue in place and then leave to dry.
I haven't given the gift yet and I am not sure the little boy will be bowled over with joy just yet - preferring to throw most things and himself all over the place at the moment, but I am pretty sure his yummy mummy will be pleased.  It will look pretty cute in his nursery and will be something that he grows with until he goes to school.
There will be other attempts at wall art from me over the course of this month and you can also look forward to what PJ and Anja come up with. What wall art do you think you will make?
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to Make a Hen Day a DO rather than a Don't

After being in a funk most of the week, and having worked most of my Sunday, I decided to down tools and share something I HAVE achieve this week with you. I have started to plan my personal Hen day for one of my best friends.
I should explain that I could have won the Worst Best Friend in the Whole Wide World award as I am not in the country for her 'official celebration'. Instead I'll be back in Germany or possibly still on holiday in Austria. I figured I'd end up spending some serious bucks on flying back for it, or let's face it the cost of a hen weekend, so it made sense that I did something for her. Especially as what she IS doing for her official hen party isn't really completely up her street.
I have never been a bride or even close to it, but I think I can appreciate that you spend an awful lot of time trying to please the people around you or doing things you think you should be in order to accommodate the expectations of your bridal party. Personally, I think this is nonsense - a hen do SHOULD be about doing what the bride wants, making her feel special, loved and respected.
You probably won't ever find me carrying around inflatable male parts through a city centre at 3pm hammered off my inadvisably high footwear. It's not because I can't appreciate the hilarity of this to some people...but it's just not for me. I would feel like a prize turkey doing this and any one of my friends who thought this would be an activity I'd rejoice in would probably not enjoy the hair-holding vomitathon which would undoubtedly happen after drink four.
To avoid an unhappy Hen:
1. DO arrange the day for her. There is nothing worse than being up to your neck in wedding arrangements and having to co-ordinate your own party. If you have signed-up to be a Matron of Honour or Bridesmaid, it's part of your job to take this out of her hands.
2. DO ask the hen lots of questions to work out what she would most like. Use this information to pull the other maids on board. Too many bridesmaids can spoil the broth and it can end up being more about them, than the bride. Useful questions include:
  • Who do you want to be there?
  • Luxury or budget?
  • Home or away?
  • Day or weekend?
  • Drink or dry?
  • Night or day?
  • Rude or reserved?
  • You get the idea.  I went simpler and just asked: what would be your ideal hen celebration?
3. DO talk budget. Weddings are expensive for the hosts and guests, so do not assume that everyone can afford that weekend away, three meals out, petrol, outfits, activities etc. Be sensitive to those on a tight budget and make it possible to opt in and out of activities at any point in the celebration.
4. DO negotiate with your vendors. If you are taking 20 people to a spa day, then see what discounts you can arrange. If necessary avoid using the words 'wedding' or 'hen party' as that can have the opposite effect and drive prices higher. Likewise negotiate with restaurants, hotels and activity providers. Just researching some potential activity classes for my friend I noticed that any aimed at the Hen market were significantly more expensive. Often people will offer you extras rather than discounts. If you are booking lunch, see if they can provide dessert for free....or a free treatment for the Hen if a certain number commit to paid services.
5. DO keep it a surprise. This will take a bit more arranging, but totally worth it. Ask her fiancé to pack any bags for the day/weekend so that she doesn't need to worry about anything. If she (like me) finds the idea of a surprise a complete nightmare, then give her a rough itinerary. What does a list saying: 'lunch, spa, activity, dinner, activity' tell her anyway?
Whatever you decide to do:
1. DON'T forget to communicate the bride's wishes with everyone involved. There's nothing more embarrassing than being the person to bring fluffy handcuffs and organise a stripper and find out that the hen weekend includes her incredibly sweet and catholic grandmother.
2. DON'T try and please everyone. Please the bride and any friends and family members will have a lovely time.
3. DON'T moan if you don't like what the bride/bridesmaids have arranged. Remember that as a guest your job is to join in with the 'fun'. If my friend wanted to spend the weekend at a yoga retreat, I'd do it despite the fact I'm as flexible as steel.
4. DON'T forget to make the dress code clear, particularly if it is fancy dress. People will feel comfortable if they can fit in with the group.
5. DON'T forget the morning after. Put together a recovery pack or create something that the bride can take away with her as one of the most memorable days of her life.  A photo-book, a craft made on the day, or just a collection of cards from her gals would be a super way to let her know you care.
What would be YOUR dream hen do?
Here are a couple of my faves:
As for the one for my bestie? Well, that's still top secret until June. I just know that she will have an amazing day, which is the perfect way for me to let her see just how much I love her.
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Has anyone seen my brain?

Have you ever just felt like there is nothing left to give? I have had an exhausting, emotional few weeks and I think my brain may have shut up shop recently.  I don't have writer's block in the traditional sense, I've just felt the need to be quiet and stare into space a bit more often. That's why the blogging has been a little bit more sporadic - I just don't have enough neurons firing to string a sentence together. Seriously, these few have already taken 15 minutes!

Work is consuming quite a lot of my thoughts recently. My passion for teaching has increased proportionately over the year and I'm now inventing, experimenting and engaging with new ideas all of the time. After a day of buzzing around organising various Rosie shaped projects, I haven't managed more than sinking into Pinterest or more than likely the goggle box. Even trying to chill out at work for the last couple of days hasn't worked.....is this what 'burn out' feels like?

My holiday in Germany was great, but like a distant memory. My parents came over for the final four days to meet A's folks and see where I spend my holidays. It was a great time, though shattering. Translating, organising and being active for 12 hours day may not have been the best idea before a busy term at work. The great outcome is that the parents got on with each other. Well, as well as people who can't talk properly with each other can. That German/English language divide can be almost funny when you stick the older generations together.

I was barely back at work before I was off at a national poetry reciting competition with one of my students. It was an awesome 72 hours or so, at the National Portrait Gallery no less. Incorporating a Saturday meant that Sunday was a 'heap on the sofa' day...now, I'm at the tail end of a parent's evening and shaking my head to see if there is anything left to rattle around.

I know that you good folks of blog land can forgive my lack of posting. I am hoping for a return of cognitive function soon and when that happens, they'll be no shutting me up.

Take care,
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Monday, April 22, 2013

April Craft Challenge Round Up and Vote: Budget Decor

Once again, it has been a fun, but busy month for us. At this moment, PJ is probably up to her eyeballs in show preparations and both Anja and I are hitting the busy examination period at school. Having to find time to craft is tricky, but worth it. After all, everyone deserves a break once in a while. 

This month we were making budget décor for less than $10 or the equivalent in your currency and we'd love it if you made something this month to link it up at the bottom of this post. Even if you didn't then you can vote on which of our projects you like the best.

Next month we will be making wall art with the choices of medium endless. You will be able to link up your ideas a little earlier on the 22nd May (I'll be in Budapest, so we're going to have a week off!)

Here are our projects from this budget busting month:
So which project most tickles your fancy this month. Vote here! The 'winner' will be announced next Monday.

 Now it's time for you to share your projects. Anja, PJ and I will be choosing our favourites from the link-up and PIN your project to our craft challenge  pinterest board. Make sure you're following the board to see if your project is one of our featured favourites this month.
If you are new to the challenge and fancy giving it a try, you don't need to have started in January. All of you are welcome to join in at any point throughout the year whenever one of the themes grabs your attention. Thank you for voting and/or taking part!
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