Wednesday, 29 December 2010

November Flower Club - My Favourite Ever Demonstration - Well So Far??

It was time for Flower Club again and it was a change of demonstrator at short notice but the lady who came to demonstrate was brilliant.  After dropping Jamie at cubs I headed off to pick up J and we headed to Stony.  Not much chat just photos from the evening and I have very little to say as they were stunning arrangements - amazing creations.  Her theme for the evening was musicals and she gave us some music to go along with each - I will put the songs each represents at the bottom of the blog but see if you can guess what song or musical each one represents!!
This is very clever as the demonstrator had made the triangle shapes which in this design represent sails, I love the way she has used gypsophilia to represent the foam on the waves - brilliant.

I love the use of this style of stand - it is so clever and looks so dramatic - standard flowers just made to look extraordinary - Anastasia chrysanthemum, eryngium, carnation and gladiolus and some wire added to gave some extra movement and a modern twist - love it.  A harder one to guess!

There is a huge clue in this arrangement  - what can I say it is, as Sylvia might say, perfection in pink!!

Love this one too, from the container to the choice of flowers everything works, just love it!!

And finally the one that I won in the raffle, this was a bit too far for some of the ladies, a bit to modern and alternative but I loved it.  All the gerbera are pointing in different directions and look so random but so in harmony - it really does represent its musical very well, and a musical I am very very familiar with!!  I think this demonstrator may have been my favourite ever, and at the very least in the top 3.

A wonderful evening.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

True Love from High Society
We Will Rock You
Phantom of the Opera
Mama Mia
Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat


Jamie had an enjoyable Halloween as he went to a party at a neighbours house on the Saturday where there was a lot of traditional games such as apple bobbing, everyone was dressed up and looked fab.  Jamie went as a ghoul or something that looked a bit like an Ork (?) from Lord of the Rings. 

He hollowed out his pumpkin and cut a face into it and then he went out trick or treating with his friend K, as we set off we bumped into our neighbour and her two children and some other friends and she asked if Jamie wanted to go as part of their group.  It made sense really as it also meant that people weren't getting disturbed quite so many times and Jamie and K both came home with a sack full of sweets, cakes, biscuits and some pennies too.   Jamie was again dressed up as a ghoul and K was dressed up as the Mummy.  We had some tea after that and then K went home, it was an enjoyable evening for everyone. 

We had only a handful of callers which gave them a good choice from our sweets and then Jamie and K shared them out and K took some home for his brother K too.  Jamie's pumpkin looked really effective lit and sat just outside our front door.

I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that I wanted to have a go at making a Halloween arrangement in a pumpkin and here is what I did.  My top tip would be to ensure the oasis is protected from the pumpkin and vice-versa - I've done that here with some cellophane (you could use the cello that the flowers come in if they come from the supermarket).  It is likely that the pumpkin will start to deteriorate before the flowers and this does allow you to remove the arrangement from the pumpkin and place into another container to get a little longer out of the flowers.

A bit of science here - but flowers, fruit and vegetables produce ethylene, a gas, which has an ageing effect on flowers, the more exposure to the gas the quicker flowers will deteriorate so using the cellophane as an extra layer of protection will help slow that process down slightly.  I would normally advise not to keep flowers and fruit near each other, but on occasions such as Halloween there is a great opportunity to use such a fantastic container it is worth the loss of a couple of days of flower life.  Saying that, this arrangement lasted well over a week and I transferred it from the pumpkin to an orange container when the pumpkin was heading past its best.  It looked good sat on the stand I bought in Harrogate too.
I found a witch pick which I added into the arrangement to give it that extra Halloween feel - can you spot her hiding away in the centre of the design.  For extra longevity, when using fruit or vegetables choosing flowers such as chrysanthemum and carnation which have a long 'vase' life is also a useful consideration.  I also used dyed oak leaves, fir cones and some pretty leaves which I found on the walk to school - as they were all dried they lasted very well and gave a real backbone to the design.

The design is a very standard autumnal colour scheme of reds, golds, yellows and oranges, for me it is one of my favourite colour schemes.  I added some ting ting to give height and an asymmetrical line, overall I was pleased with this design.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

A Stampin' Up Party

I went to my very first Stampin Up Party which was organised by one of the girls from the crop.  What could be more fun, great company, a chance to play with some crafting goodies and a couple of cards to have a practice on - really enjoyable evening.  Of course I spent some money too, but I was really impressed with the quality and range of the products.  As mentioned previously I was specifically looking for a border punch which I found (below is the punch and a picture of the effect it creates).  I've used it a couple of times now and I really like the options it gives - I'm hoping they add a corner punch to complement it too.  Photos snipped from the SU catalogue - couldn't drag the bits out to photo!!

I also bought a some paper, which will be useful as the basis for layouts - I have lots of patterned paper but less in the way of plainer 12 X 12 sheets.  I choose the subtle shades and they are lovely (I did choose them with a specific project in mind but more of that in another blog).  There colour range does rather leave you spoilt for choice.

I also got the colour swatch book as I felt it was a reasonable price and would work in both scrapbooking and flower arranging, especially for explaining colour harmonies.

There is likely to be another party in the new year and I already have a couple of things in mind to buy then - I have a couple of ideas for layout styles and feel I need a stamp to achieve that and I think SU have just what I am looking for - so I will keep my fingers crossed for some Christmas money I think and then I can have guilt free spending!!  Will add the card I made here when I find it (oops!).  The SU lady also comes along to our crop so that will be handy whenever I want to add a little something and there isn't a party on the horizon!!

N made some fantastic carrot cake and I brought some home for Jamie - for the next day.  He was still awake when I got home very late and I made the mistake of saying the N had sent some cake for him.  Bang bang, bang, bang as he shot downstairs and devoured the cake!!  But I don't blame him it was delicious!!



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Scrapbooking Crop

It was time for the October crop and it seemed to be a bit of a slow day for me as I only managed 2 layouts - I guess it must have been too much talking!!  An enjoyable time as usual and here are the layouts I managed.

A layout of many titles, it could be Seasons Greetings or Here Comes Santa Claus but it is, of course, 'HO HO HO', quite a simple layout really, I love the journalling area on this layout and the colour scheme works really well for me, not as monochromatic as I can be but still quite a minimal colour palette which I really like.  Below is a close up of the journalling.  The patterned paper is Basic Grey and the scallops from Bazill, the bling ho, ho, ho's I picked up in a bargain bucket with these pictures in mind and think it works really well too.  I added a little bit of cotton wool to the top picture to give it a real Santa hat effect and to cover that I'd chopped off the top of Jamie's head, still I think it works!!

This layout was me having some fun with a border punch, I haven't rushed out and bought any yet as I wanted to have a play with one and after using this one a Martha Stewart one I was really pleased with the possibilities they offer so may well be investing in due course.  Nothing too fancy some K and Co and Costco papers, a Prima flower and some other scrap crap basics.  Below again a close up of the journalling, the title of which I have taken from Elegant word art , which is a blog I like to dip into every now and again.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Mike Goes to Hospital for an Operation

Mike had to go into hospital for a very minor operation this week - he had been on standby for a few weeks as he was able to get in at short notice and he got a call.  He was offered a date, which sadly fell in half term holidays, but we felt better get it out of the way as soon as possible.  So off he went with his bag packed - I had to go and find him both slippers and a dressing gown - neither of which he wears under normal circumstances - nor is he likely to wear again - but he needed them for hospital.

We were all up early as he had to be at what is known as the Treatment Centre very early.  I was pretty impressed as there is a free 15 minutes drop off and collect allowed which meant there was plenty of space (parking can often be a nightmare at the hospital), everything in reception was lovely and new and most importantly of all it all appeared to be very efficient.  Mike was called in within 5 minutes of our arriving and that was that - he headed off and we had to leave him.

Jamie and I had to keep ourselves occupied for the day whilst Mike had his op, yes a minor one but of course still needing general anaesthetic etc.  And no matter how minor when it our loved ones we are always going to worry!!  After mid-afternoon we were just waiting for the call to say we could go and pick him up and then when it arrived and the Nurse said "He is ready to be collected now" - I couldn't stop myself and said "I bet he is" - not in a horrible way but I just knew he would be ready to be back at home. 

The operation had gone very well and Mike was awake and pretty comfortable when we picked him up, again the TC was incredibly efficient and we arrived and collected him within 5 minutes.  It had all gone very well, thankfully.  He got home and was surprisingly chipper, I was expecting him to be wanting to sleep for the rest of the day - but we just chilled out.  The next day and for a few days after (when the anaesthetic and painkillers wore off) he was pretty sore, but all is well and he is fine and dandy again now.

Overall we were both very impressed with the Treatment Centre at MK Hospital and feel the treatment he received via the NHS was on this occasion excellent.

That wasn't our only hospital visit as a couple of weeks later Mike's Mum broke her hip - this time the other one to the one she broke a couple of years ago.  Mike was at a Howard Jones gig in London when I got the call and so I headed over to Aylesbury - fearing the worst in terms of the hospital as it was the 6th November (the day after Bonfire Night) and a Saturday night - I was expecting a very long wait.  But  the hospital were again very efficient and had her x-rayed and processed and onto an observation ward very very quickly - so once again the treatment from the NHS was extremely quick and efficient.

So now both Mike and his Mum are recovered and recovering well respectively.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Flower Ladies Wot Lunch

I had a lunch trip out with my flower arranging friends S and J, we headed over to Biscester and stopped off at Wyevale for a look around and some lunch.  Lunch is always lovely at Wyevale, I had jacket potato and salad - pretty healthy (!!).  We then had a wander around the garden centre, where S passed on her fountain of knowledge about plants and gardens.  We also spent some time looking at the containers as there were some divine outdoor containers - some maybe appearing in our garden next year (!!)

I had also spotted some pumpkins and as we were leading up to Halloween (you can see how far behind I am!!) I bought a couple.  One for Jamie to do his thing with and one for me as I wanted to do an arrangement in a pumpkin something which would be very Halloween.  The pumpkins they had were fantastic - they were enormous and £5 each which didn't seem too bad - well not until I was carrying them to the checkout and then to the car - they were heavy. 

We also had a look around their lovely Christmas decoration display where there were some really lovely items, but you would need a huge house to accommodate them!!

S needed to buy some flowers for a friend who was in hospital and rather than paying the Wyevale price for a hand tied, she just bought some flowers and I put them into an aqua-packed hand tied for her saving her about half the cost, when we got back to my house, which also gave Jamie chance to see S and say hello.  She is a mad Portsmouth football fan (her home town) and Jamie thinks that is just so cool - he can have a chat with her as she is so clued up on the team and what they are up to!!  Wyevale have a good selection of flowers in wraps, so if you want to make an arrangement there are some good choices but they are quite pricey for hand-tieds etc.  Their florists area is not really a florists shop as such just an area where there is a good selection of single flowers in wraps (good for the arranger) and a small area for hand-tied and arrangements they have made and a small workbench and till area - looking very cramped for the staff working there. 

On our way out of Wyevale there was an owl, with a lady from a rescue centre.  The owl was stunning - wish I had had a decent mobile to take a photo.  After Wyevale we headed to the wholesaler.

Of course once we got into the wholesaler we were in our element, stacks of everything we love looking at - floral foam in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours (I got some lime green foam which I love), containers in all shapes, sizes and materials (glass, wood, metal etc), all variety of sundries, pins, ribbons etc.  We also had a wander in the flowers - S and I bought a wrap of iris and split it as 10 each was more than enough.  We had a very enjoyable time and there were of course lots of oohs and aahs.  Truthfully I didn't spend too much either - just got the foam, iris and a couple of other bits.  I also had a chat with the lady who was helpful and had a chat about how I may be able to use her services in the future.

J and I did have a good look and threw around some ideas as to what we could do for the next church ladies group workshop which will have a Christmas theme.  A lovely day out with great friends.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Flower Workshop and Floristry Class

I recently ran a flower arranging workshop for a church group run by a friend of a friend for me it served a couple of purposes to get the name of my company 'out there', act as a good bit of PR for me and to get some practice teaching - I want to take all opportunities which are presented.  It was bound to be challenging as it was the first big teaching session I had done and I had 16.
I decided to try to get the ladies to create a simple all around arrangement, which was a challenge to put together as the group had only a minimum of resources available to it.  But I managed to bring in arrangements which in terms of flowers and within their budget, helped with a lot of foliage donated by members of the group to eek out the supplies we bought. I was very ably assisted by my good friend J.

The ladies appeared to have a really enjoyable time and they all created arrangements - success in this type of workshop does not come from any of the participants creating either technically correct or amazing arrangements but from them having fun and feeling that they have achieved and created something they can take home.  All of the ladies in the group were successful in making arrangements and some were very good  making arrangements which were technically good and/or showed some flair and imagination.

Overall it was a lovely experience as the ladies and an odd man or two were lovely and great fun to be around - there were even 3 dogs there too (!!!!) and one which was the spitting image of Binnie, except she was so quiet and well behaved!! (She was a lot older than Binnie and so had slowed down a bit too!!)  I am going back to do a Christmas workshop so I guess they were happy with me!!

I also taught a floristry class (on the evening of our wedding anniversary)  and was really pleased with how the class went, got some positive feedback from the learners and lots to think about and work on in my own learning as I am at the beginning of my teaching and still have lots to learn.  The class were making basket arrangements and we spent some time discussing colour harmonies and elements and principles of design too.  For me the whole class just flew by and I felt the class probably gained by getting some alternative ideas and explanations from a different tutor to their normal tutor. 


Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Monday, 27 December 2010

Wedding Anniversaries and Birthdays

October brings around our Wedding Anniversary and Mike's Birthday, 7 and 46 years respectively!!  Mike had taken the day off,  for our anniversary, which worked well as it turned out I was working!!  (I had the opportunity to do some teaching and wasn't going to turn it down)  So he was left to his own devices for the evening!!    Mike had a nice birthday but I am blowed if I can remember anything about it!!, so I thought I might share a couple of my favourite photos from our wedding which seems an eternity ago now!! 

Jamie dancing at the reception .....

A kiss outside the old Abbey entrance .....

Something has tickled my fancy!!

My favourite of the whole day - "C'mon Dad buy me a drink - I'm working the room but its thirsty work!!"

On his knees - start as we mean to go on - not really think this was one of the photographers ideas for a good shot - a nice photo though, still love the dress and the flowers!!



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

A Bit of Catching Up

I have a bit of catching up with this blog to do - I think I am about 6 weeks behind -  and so the next few posts will go up as I do them and are going to be a bit out of sequence but better to get them up and hopefully start the new year up to date.  Enjoy!



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (not off my reading challenge)

Friars Again - Ever Fallen In Love With Someone ..........

So we have been off to Friars again, this time it was for punk royalty (if there can be such a thing) Buzzcocks, Eddie and the Hot Rods and 999.  The Buzzcocks really do deserve their place at the very top of punk hierarchy as they can honestly say "they were there", they were at the legendary Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1976.  It was also the start of Friars Phase 4 when it moved to The Waterside Theatre, just a few hundred yards away in distance but millions of miles away in many other ways.

The new theatre is a fantastic venue, part of The Ambassadors Group, so will be much more used for traditional theatre and comedy than as a music club.  It was also the first event to be held in the theatre, just ahead of the glittering and star studded opening event a couple of days later.  The theatre itself looked amazing, both inside and out. It has a rather innovative floor, which raises and falls to allow access to the stage and differing heights for different performances.  Backstage and in the dressing rooms, everything was brand spanking new, even if there were one or two problems with the loos!!

I really wasn't sure what to expect, but enjoyed the evening, meeting up with friends old and new, highlight of the night was of course "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone etc)", a true classic and best band were Eddie and the Hot Rods, watching any band from the wings is exciting but they were for me the best band of the night.  Other highlight would be Mike interviewing Pete Shelley and one of 999 for Bucks TV and of course his now customary role of presenting awards.  As always much more about the gig, reviews, set lists and loads more (and much better photos) can be found on Mike's site at

Some pictures of the day and night, starting with the brand new pristine dressing room ....

a view of the new interior which looks amazing, lots of wood and texture, gives it a really unusual look, it looks as though it will be a great place to watch a play or a musical .....

the stage, dropped to allow access for loading in........

999 as seen from the side of the stage .......

Mike with the legendary Pete Shelley

The Buzzcocks - I watched most of their set from the balcony .....

Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks - he had some interesting opinions towards the end of their set!!

Oh no !  Not again, he's even managed to get into the new venue, it's that man again lurking waiting to present a Heroes Award!!

and a couple of additional photos taken from Mike's Friars website where you can find a lot more details, reviews, set lists etc from the gig - photo credits  for the following photos  Russ Naylor and Michelle Needs ...

Eddie and the Hot Rods

The legendary Kris Needs with David Stopps - great photo  (I did have to have a quiet word with Kris due to his being responsible for getting my husband hooked on 'Jingle Jangle Jewellery' - once it gets into your head it's there for days!!)

Robin Pike receiving his Friars Founding Father's Award

Kris receiving his Friars Founding Father's Award

Eddie and the Hot Rods, arguably the best set of the night.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading If I Was by Midge Ure
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...