Thursday, September 28, 2006

Auntie Mel!!!

I am so excited! I am finally an Auntie :) When I was younger I was always a bit disappointed that as an only child I wasn't going to be an Auntie. But of course when I married Darren I had a sister in law so it became a possibility.

Yesterday my neice, Anya Grace was born at 17.43 and weighed in at 6lbs 6oz. My Sister in Law Nic did extremely well and in the photos they have e mailed us she looks remarkably well! So meet Anya - isn't she a little sweetheart?!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Scrapping Angels Weekend

I got back yesterday from a lovely weekend at the Scrapping angels retreat. It was great to meet up with some fab scrappers - some of which I had met before and some I hadn't. The classes were all really good and very different to one another. I will scan and upload some of my layouts from the weekend soon but I have to post these pictures today. First is the one of the Scrapping Angels group on Sunday. Sadly we were so focused on distressing photos and doing some painty funky work with bleach pens and journalling that we didn't have time to take the photo with Emily before she had to leave to get her train back to meet up with her folks and especially the gorgeous Ivy! But, before she left Emily drew names to receibe the different goodies she had got with her. We all got something and then left over at the end was a signed copy of Designing With Color (my husband is leaning over me telling me I have mis-spelt Colour!!!!) Guess who won... Me! So here are pics of me and Emily and the book. Anyway, still tired after my full weekend with very little rest (will post more about that tomorrow!) so will leave it there for now except to say thanks to Anna for organising a lovely retreat and in difficult circumstances too, and too Annie for some great classes and also to Emily for getting us to play with paint and create some cool freestyle stuff!

Friday, September 22, 2006

I've Been A Bad Blogger!

It's been ages since I updated my blog and I don't even have time to do a proper entry right now because I am off to Scrapping Angels tomorrow and I am not at all organised.

I went to my first photography evening class last night and it was surreal to say the least! The room the photography class is taught in is next door to the room used by the choir so within minutes we were hearing about the fire exits with choral music and drumming drifting through the walls! As usual I was very disorganised and was still eating my dinner when Ann arrived to pick me up - I also neglected to take any paper or pens so was mucho grateful to Ann for ripping some pages out of her notebook for me to use! Must try harder to be more organised next week... yeah right!

Hopefully I will update on Sunday with pictures of the masses of scrapping I will be doing this weekend!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Closures

Wow this last few weeks has seen a glut of Scrap Shop closures which is both sad and worrying. Contrary to what you may think, although we are competing for business for the most part the retailers get on well and seeing people take the difficult decision to close is sad.

I am seeing lots of "oh no why are they closing?" posts and at the risk of sounding like a broken record the problem is that there are too many shops which are not operating in a sustainable way and their bad business practises jeopardise the whole range of retailers.

Believe me - none of the retailers I know are looking to make unfair profit margins - we are scrappers ourselves and know what is reasonable and what isn't. However when a shop opens and thinks they will attract more customers by undercutting the existing ones by 5% you can guarentee that another will open undercutting that one by 5% etc... Of course when you open you have NO IDEA how much time the business demands what with maintaining a website, processing and packing orders, ordering new goods, answering questions from customers, dealing with telephone and email enquiries, preparing for craft fairs and events, organising crops and of course maintaining a high profile on the craft forums.

Soon the constant undercutting, huge sales and requests for free p&p mean that you are working 18 hour days, seeing very little of your family, doing NO scrapbooking for a pittance. And then guess what, that pittance you made on last months sales can't be paid to you in recognition of the 550 hours you worked in the month (31 x 18 hours less 8 hours to account for a part day off!) because you need to reinvest it in the latest new releases because if you don't get them in you are not keeping uptodate and the customers (understandably) want the latest and greatest and will go shop elsewhere!

Phew - ok so why do you do it you may ask... because we love what we do and pride ourselves on providing great stash at reasonable prices with grat service to boot. We have a loyal customer base who respect and appreciate that and in return we appreciate them. HOWEVER, just read the shop til you drop forum on UKS and you wills ee constant requests for x y z items in stock, with free p&p and preferably in a sale too....

I love running an online shop but it takes time and lots of it. Would you do your job for free just because you love it? - if not PELASE don't expect the UKS sponsors and other craft retailers to do theirs for free. Please shop responsibly so we can all continue to enjoy a wide range of shops and stash!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Meant To Post This A While Ago

So this is one of only TWO photos in existence of my Great Grandmother (Mums, Mums Mum!) She is in the front row 6 in from the left. This is a scan of the original with creases and tears etc... I did play around myself and managed to do a passable job improving the quality of the photo overall but to be honest it really called for a professional job, not only because of its significance to my Mum, who has traced the family tree and has lots of photos and memorabeillia, but also because Mum wanted a picture that just isolated my Great Grandmother on her own - bear in mind this scan is pretty accurate size wise as it shows on blogger without clicking to enlarge!

So we sent it to Anam via e mail and she did a fab job :) I would definitely recommend her for this sort of restoration. This is what she came up with - needless to say Mum is thrilled with the results.

**I have just spent ages trying to get blogger to let me upload the second picture and the only way I could was if I resized it to 50% of original size. I won't upload the others Anam did right now as blogger is obviously not going to play nice! But suffice to say they were great and we love them!**

Thanks Anam - you're a star!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Busy Month

Wow - the Summer really flew past and Darren is back to work and so am I (OK only for one day a week but thats enough!) Usually I find September is not a great month, back to work and not much else happening but this year September and October are full of cool happenings! Now I am going to bore you with the details.... LOL

On Tuesday i started a stint as a class supporter at an NCT antenatal group with my friend Shiv. I have three Tuesdays and two Saturday sessions to do for that this month. It was really cool to see all those expectant parents coming in for their first class full of antipaction and expectation. The info you get at NCT class is good but by far the best aspect of it is getting to know a whole group of people who are doing the same things and having the same concerns as you. The money we spent on NCT classes was by far and away the best money we spent while I was pregnant; we meet up still every week with the babies and have girls nights out every month.

We had my friend J and his girlfriend Herminia over for dinner yesterday which was great as we haven't seen them for a LONG time - too long, they have never met Belle! Then today we were at Hintlesham Community Hall for a Scrapbooking Show which was lovely - partly because we were already organised for it and partly because it is always lovely to meet some customers face to face! I took some pics of the stash on the stall here's one (the glorious 7 Gypsies 97% complete stickers - these have been going like the proverbial hot cakes especially as Shimelle is using them in one of her current classes!) and you can see the rest on the ATDML blog!

***OK Blogger is being mean to me again - the picture won't upload. I will edit when it is behaving again but untilt hem you really will have to go visit the ATDML blog to see my stash pics!***

At the end of this week my cousin Elizabeth is moving in while she goes to uni. Darren is working later these days (not really late by any stretch of the imagination but later than I am used to!) so it will be really nice to have some company and of course someone to shop with!

Then next Sunday my baby group friends and I are going for a girlie day at The Essex Golf and Country Club. We went to stay over night there in July as a treat for ourselves but there was a wedding going on and they were shouting, arguing and screaming outside our room doors til 4a.m. which wasn't the relaxing night away (and for some first night of unbroken sleep!) we had planned - one of the girls complained and we got free day passes to their spa and health club so it would be rude not to use them!!!!!

Then FINALLY the long awaited Scrapping Angels Retreat will come around. 23rd and 24th of September has been circled on my calender for AGES! I am so looking forward to this retreat. The teachers have been busy preparing some fab classes - even Annie who is supposed to be away on holiday in Seattle!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Woo Hoo!!!!

I posted a while back about getting a new camera and then about my choice (Nikon D70S) and I have been very into improving my photography for a while now.

I am booked on an evening class in Colchester starting on 21st September with my friend Ann but just to go really photography crazy I have booked myself on a course with The Photography School in Reading.

It's a two day course which covers tonnes of stuff and comes highly recommended! But the best bit is I won't be going off into the great wide wilderness of Reading alone - I am going with Anna and Annie which means not only will I learn lots of photography skills but we are sure to have a laugh as well!

Forgot to say - the photo is of Darren and Belle taken in our office (soon to be Elizabeths bedroom) yesterday. Obviously I mucked about with it in editing software and have blown out the highlights a bit - as usual, not perfect by a long stretch but I quite like it! Darren doesn't - he thinks he looks asleep!

Friday, September 01, 2006


My net access has been erratic to say the least over the last few days as we have been redecoration our office which is soon to become Elizabeths bedroom. Consequently the computers have been moved around and a wireless entwork ahs been installed. then re installed. then tweaked, then re installed again... you get the picture?!

The good news is that in the room reshuffle I have managed to gain a craft room! Well ok a corner in the spare room to craft in! We have one of those beds in the spare room which can be a super king size or two singles. It seemed like a good idea when we got it but it NEVER got used as two singles and just dwarfed the small spare room! However, now Elizabeth is having one half so there is a little bit of space for a workstation and some supplies up there :)

Will take a picture and upload it when everything is in and tidy... that will probably be the 31st of never! Hmmm must go and help move some more furniture, will blog properly soon!
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