Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A little bit of Inspiration...

I have a new addiction... browsing through people's blogs. It's like a never-ending world of ideas. For a long time I only looked at cookery blogs, as many of my friends blog on this theme, but I have recently started looking at craft blogs too, inspired by my Canadian friend Sandy who writes a lovely blog entitled By the Lakeside. Sandy makes me want to knit and sew. She modestly says that she can't imagine how anyone could be inspired by her, but anyone who has a young family, works full time, cooks wonderful meals and still manages to create beautiful things is inspirational in my book. I just love her sense of style. Sandy very helpfully has a 'blogroll', listing some of her favourite blogs (note to self, must investigate how to do this myself...) and it was through this that I stumbled upon another great blog, lovelydesign, written by San Francisco dweller, Sharilyn. Sharilyn has a sweet young daughter, Adelaide, and recently wrote this post about making invitations for Adelaide's second birthday party.

I thought these were gorgeous, and wanted to adapt the idea for my own use. So, a little more low-tech than the original, here is my Valentine's card for Rob:

The balloons were cut from the Cath Kidston catalogue. I adore these patterns and dream of furnishing my entire house in them... however for now I will have to make do with my CK bag, purse and iPod case. Oh and the gazebo! (Can't wait 'til Summer!)

The balloon strings and writing were done by me. With a biro. See, I said it was low-tech...

As I was in the groove, I made a thank you card for my teaching-assistant Bee too. Bee is fabulous and has been such a help and support during my first half term in this job, so I thought she deserved a hand-made card.

I am glad that I have rediscovered the fun of making my own greetings cards. I always used to do this, but somehow I just got out of the habit. At least now I don't have any excuse for being out of ideas...

Lots to Celebrate!

Yay!!! Rob is home, and so is my camera! And just in time for Valentine's Day too. Despite our mutual agreement that we 'don't do gifts' on February 14th in a protest at the gross commercialism of the day, I was of course delighted to receive this little haul of goodies from the American PX in Garmisch:

Those Necco Sweetheart candies are gorgeous! And Valentine's Funfetti!?!?! Just how cool is that?! I had to make it. Immediately.

Rob was gutted not to have realised that you have to buy the frosting and sugar hearts separately - "So it's just a cake with red bits?" he said forlornly... However, upon eating the unadorned cake I realised that I actually prefer it that way. It's moist, sweet and vanilla-ey, and the frosting just pushes the whole confection dangerously close to teeth-rottingly sickly. Not that there's anything wrong with that on occasion, but I'm finding it somehow easier to eat huge chunks of this cake than I did when I made a frosted one. Best not to gild the lily!

The weather was beautiful so we went on a long walk to enjoy the remnants of the snow. A heavy frost and bright sunshine - my favourite kind of winters day.

I hope that you all had a very Happy Valentine's Day, however you celebrated it.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Looking for the Little Things

I didn't realise quite how much I love my SLR camera, and how much it has changed my life. It's right there at the top of my list of 'things I would grab before leaving my burning house', right there alongside the laptop, my childhood soft toy and my photo albums. And Rob of course - although I'd hope he'd be helping to carry the photo albums.

But this fortnight I find myself camera-less. Rob is away in Germany on a skiing trip. I think it's officially a work trip (OK, I know it is, and I know he is working very hard!) but it is February and he did take his skis. And he has my camera. He has been abroad for work before and asked if he could take it, but in the past I have always said no (because it's MINE). But in an unusual fit of generosity, and a genuine desire to see some photos of snowy Oberammeragau, I let him take it this time. And now England has the biggest snowfall for 18 years. Typical.

So I'm feeling bereft. Not only am I husband-less for two weeks, but I don't have the one thing with which I would happily fill my days. OK, I have several thousand photos of the snow after two winters in Canada, but this is snow in England, and I have days off school in which to enjoy it!

Still, it has made me realise just how differently I look at the world now I use my camera a lot. I find myself constantly on the lookout for the little details around me - a reflection, a shadow, patterns and colours that it's so easy to overlook. These were taken in Oxford a few weeks ago.

So although I'm frustrated by my lack of camera, I am trying hard to keep my eyes open to these kinds of things. There is so much of interest and beauty around us, whatever the weather, and it's easy to forget to look. As William Henry Davies put it, more eloquently than I ever could:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?