Thursday, 25 December 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

To all my friends & family around the world! Hope you have had a lovely day so far! It is 2p.m. here & we have had 4 hours of Christmas bliss...yes, we only woke up at 10a.m! We enjoyed a Christmas Eve family dinner last night for the first time ever. Having a blog has opened my eyes to so many other traditions & happenings all around the world that I decided to have TWO Christmas dinners to go with our TWO Christmas trees this year! Last night was our official Thanksgiving Dinner, as we can't do that at the proper time here as it is not an African Celebration therefore not a public holiday. The end of November is a very busy time for us here with schools all having prize-givings, carol concerts, etc.

I put a few traditions in place for our Thanksgiving dinner & it was great. We all made a toast then took it in turns to read out our "Gratitude" Lists & our "Highlights of the Year" lists, of which we needed to have at least 5, those were the rules I set & everyone typed their lists & their toast out for me to keep in a Christmas Box. As the years go by I know we will love to be reminded of how we have grown & changed, when we read out our previous year's lists! We also wrote a "Secret Santa" message to every member of the family, just a one liner starting with "I LOVE..."& popped them into the recipient's glass. I gave everyone instructions as to what font to use, in what size, so that it really would be secret! We each read out our 5 comments, which was very sweet & touching & definitely a tradition for keeps.

We enjoyed delicious gammon ham, all pre-cooked from "My Chef" & supplemented with chips & fresh veg, followed by vanilla icecream igloos embedded with Chuckles! Mmmm...Then we watched a DVD of "The Holiday", a cheesy Christmas movie that I LOVE;-) with popcorn & cokes, so it was a real treat of a night for us all! Shane & I had to stay up a little later than the kids to do our Santa chores & pack all the gifts into their stockings, hanging from the dresser in the hall. A tip for you for next year:-carry the presents through in pillows cases - the plastic packets were very 'crackly'!

Amazingly all 4 kids slept in, exhausted from the excitement the night before - another reason why a Christmas Eve Thanksgiving dinner tradition is definitely a keeper! We drew out present opening as long as possible & have only just finished...now I have a line of people behind me waiting to use this pc to download songs onto ipods, etc! Catch you later;-)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Magic of Christmas - Now I Get It...


TRAFALGAR SQUARE - LONDON

I finally understand what all the fuss is about! Since I've been taking Shimelle Laine's online class - Journal Your Christmas - I've thought "Wow-how much can you say? How many photos can you take? After all...the only decorations are in the mall & only geared to lure us in to spend more money."

Having received these photographs via e mail I realise that Christmas is a much bigger deal around the world than it is in Africa.

We are always on an "electricity saving campaign" of some sort or other here, for reasons I won't go into as I try not to discuss politics on my blog, lol! That, coupled with the FACT that if we had ANYTHING like any of these amazing beauties they would DEFINITELY be VANDALISED or STOLEN explains why our Christmases are rather low-key by comparison ;-)



ST PETER'S SQUARE - ROME - COMPETING WITH THE OBELISK


PEURTO DEL SOL - MADRID - WOW


OOH LA LA GALLERY LAFAYETTE - 10 STOREY DEPARTMENT STORE IN PARIS-NEEDLESS TO SAY THEY RECEIVE MORE VISITORS THAN THE EIFFEL TOWER & THE LOUVRE!


LOCATION UNKNOWN - WONDER WHERE THE PLUGPOINT IS?!


OUTSIDE ROMER TOWN HALL IN FRANKFURT - GERMANY - THE OLD MARKET

WASHINGTON DC - DECORATED WITH OVER 3000 ORNAMENTS

WORLD'S TALLEST HAND-BLOWN GLASS CHRISTMAS TREE BY WORLD REKNOWNED GLASS-BLOWER SIMONE CENEDESE ON THE ISLAND OF MURINO - VENICE-AMAZING


IMAGE BEAMED ONTO GRAND PRINCE HOTEL IN AKASAKA - TOKYO


WORLD'S TALLEST CHRISTMAS TREE IN PRAIA DA COMIRCIO - LISBON, PORTUGAL, OVER 230 FEET!


ROCKEFELLER CENTRE - NEW YORK


THE LIGHTS OF MONTE INGINO - A LITTLE TOWN IN THE GUBBIO REGION OF ITALY - OVER 5000 LIGHTS & 40 000 FEET OF ELECTRICAL WIRE (this would be gone in a flash - all that wire has great resale value here, lol!)


PRAGUE - CZECH REPUBLIC - SO BEAUTIFUL - NEVER KNEW I WANTED TO VISIT UNTIL NOW...


GERMANY - LITTLE CHAPEL IN THE KARWENDEL MOUNTAINS - THE STUFF THAT FAIRYTALES ARE MADE OF...


MANEZH SQUARE - MOSCOW - RUSSIA - I CAN SEE I NEED TO START DOING SOME SERIAAAS SAVING FOR AN OVERSEAS TRIP ONE CHRISTMAS (many years from now,lol!)

A Partridge in a Pear Tree...

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge that won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.;-)

Saturday, 20 December 2008

A bit of Festive Fun!


CHRISTMAS QUIZ

- feel free to copy & paste then ring the changes!

WRAPPING PAPER OR GIFT BAGS?

Usually wrapping paper but occassionally gift bags, if they're really cute & not too pricey!

REAL TREE OR ARTIFICIAL?

Artificial, rather sadly! Can't be bothered to find & buy a real 'tree' year after year...

WHEN DO YOU PUT UP THE TREE?

Sometimes never! Well, only if we're away...this year I got it up nice & early, by the 1st!

WHEN DO YOU TAKE THE TREE DOWN?

No set time actually...We're often away so it'll be as soon as we're back & unpacked, otherwise early January...is there actually an 'official' date???

FAVORITE GIFT RECEIVED AS A CHILD?

Nothing springs to mind...did have some cool toys though...could have got them as Christmas gifts...certainly Christmas or Birthday as there were no treats in between in 'the old days!'


HARDEST PERSON TO BUY FOR?

Men in general, as I refuse to go the socks or underpants route!

EASIEST PERSON TO BUY FOR?

All the kids...they certainly let me know EXACTLY what they want...it's just a matter of what I can afford as the list goes on & on...

DO YOU HAVE A NATIVITY SCENE?


No, I'd love a hand-carved wooden one but they seem impossible to find. My parents own a beautiful one that I remember from my childhood Christmases...hopefully it will find it's way back to me one day.

MAIL OR EMAIL CHRISTMAS CARDS?

This is hubby's job! Strange but true...he is a WAY better correspondent than I am, he sends e mails & skypes people regularly.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE?

The Holiday...we plan to watch it every Christmas Eve from now on... J.U.S.T. T.O.O. C.U.T.E...

HAVE YOU EVER RECYCLED A CHRISTMAS PRESENT?

Who hasn't?!

WHEN DO YOU START SHOPPING FOR CHRISTMAS?

In July, once all 6 of our birthdays are over...

FAVORITE THING TO EAT AT CHRISTMAS?

Chuckles...okay, that's more like January - December, lol! Christmas food doesn't really do it for me but we do treat ourselves to a coupla jars of marinated artichokes, mmm...yum...

LIGHTS ON THE TREE?

Hundreds!

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

Joy to the World!

TRAVEL AT CHRISTMAS OR STAY HOME?

Stay home now that we're not running away from Zimbabwe every year any longer PTL!

CAN YOU NAME ALL OF SANTA'S REINDEER'S?

Truthfully, no, but I had the good sense to find out... Donner, Blitzen, Prancer, Dancer, Comet, Vixen, Dasher, Cupid and of course, the one with the red nose! Rudolph!! I knew him all along!!!

ANGEL ON THE TREE TOP OR A STAR?

A beautiful gold angel on the BIG tree & a cute l'il gold star on the small one...yes, we have 2 trees...can't have too much of a good thing!

OPEN THE PRESENTS CHRISTMAS EVE OR MORNING?

We have to wait for Santa to deliver the gifts you know! Morning ;-)

MOST ANNOYING THING ABOUT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR?

The fact that criminals don't take a holiday...in fact, they're out in full force here, working double shifts!

FAVORITE ORNAMENT THEME OR COLOR?

Red, gold & green...nothing else will do. Mad about stars & snowmen. (They're cute...)
BTW I've never even SEEN snow! Making a Snowman is on my list of "Things to do before I die!"

WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR?

I have a list as long as my arm but THE FLIP is on the top of it!

Why not take up the challenge & post your own list then leave me a comment to check it out...c'mon, it's Christmas! Give yourself some time-off to have a bit of festive fun!

Hi there! Missing you all...

Please forgive me for being outta touch for nearly a week now.
It feels like forever!
Holiday Season is in full swing here & it is a crazy time...
Everything is taking about 4 times as long because there is NO PARKING AT GATEWAY...
A tragedy for me, lol!
Queues are horrideous (my new word, pretty cool huh?!) & the crowds are overwhelming.
Every year I kinda feel like Christmas has snuck up on me, no matter how much I try to prepare in advance.
I suppose the truth of the matter is it's just not possible to be organised when you're busy "doing life" (that's for you, Desire!) as there just IS no extra time to do all those silly things like think ahead, I mean really!
Anyway, the Christmas rush is quite exciting nonetheless & I've learnt over the years to just 'go with the flow' & not to panic.
Christmas presents have been wrapped for the last week.
Just as I was smugly resting on my Christmas laurels my son Jack tentatively presented me with one of his gifts (he had been snooping under the tree...)
It had changed colour from red giftwrap to yellow & was W.E.T.
With a new kitten in the house I am leaving it up to you to finish the story...
It wasn't pretty!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

An award from Vicki - Thank You!



I had little idea of what a blog was when I started mine a coupla months ago. I had absolutely NO idea about the social networking aspect of it at all. Then slowly I began receiving the odd comment here & there. Somehow I had been discovered! I started to understand how the blog branches worked & began investigating other blogs, literally from the starting point of almost nothing.

I used to read (& still do if I have a chance) a blog called Life in Linfield & it was there that I first saw a "Blogroll" & clicked on some names on Andrea's lists of "Blogs I Follow", & so began my "Long walk to Freedom"...Vicki already knows what a blog lover I am! Having seen the exponential effect of my exploratory delving I am unstoppable! I can stay up ALL night & have done so on A NUMBER of occassions, although I'm not allowing myself to do that anymore! (Too exhausting,lol!) I've relaxed a bit & accepted that you will all still be out there when I next log on. So THANKS to Vicki, who has been a wonderful & encouraging Blog Buddy to me since the beginning...

Having met so many like-minded people through blogging has been a fantastic spin-off & a complete bonus to my Blog life. I love reading other people's blogs, the more honest & real the better, & I love to share my work with others too, as I find everybody's contributions say something to me. In fact, I am such a BLOGGER now that I can't live without my weekly (at least!) fix from all of you. So THANKS! Thanks to Vicki, who I can see will be a life-long friend, & thanks to all of you too, for what you have added to my life. You have enriched me & fed my soul.

My award came with these rules:


1. The winner may put the logo on their blog.
2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Provide links to their blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

My 5 nominees, in no particular order, are :-

1. Heidi - she sure can tell a funny story...check out her blog for some good reading & hearty laughs!

2. Joanne - this girl is downright hilarious...check out her blog for some hysterical tales & to give her a morale boost while she's away from her loved ones over Christmas.

3. Mel - takes me back to a few years ago when my home was also full of little kids...she's funny & clever & I love hearing what she has to say.

4. Katherine - shows me life from another perspective & is witty to boot! She's currently away on holiday so I hope this will be a nice surprise for her when she gets back...

5. Cathy - you can count on her to have something to say almost every day, although she's been a bit sporadic of late, what with elbow injuries & Christmas preparations, I'll let her off! ;-D

All peeps above are scrappers but also love to blog, not just show off their creations, like some. It's much more entertaining when scrapping/lifestyle blogging go hand-in-hand & you get to learn a bit about the scrapper behind the scrapping. So go give these girls some support & take a look at their blogs. You'll come out richer on the other side! ;-D

Layout photos of Page 8 & 9 of my Christmas Album


This is just to show you my journalling card used on page 7!


This is just to show my delicious Making Memories ribbons! and K & Co. chipboard words ;D

At last! You get to see page 8 & 9! I dig these 2 pages. Page 8 (prompt 5) was about Counting Down to Christmas & required that we used numbers. I used the left-over section of some number stickers I've had "like forever man!" and happened to have these 3 numbers left. I highlighted 5 with some Heidi Swapp circle bling & made the brown word cards for the other days. I got to use the other half of the Falalalala paper used on the first page of my album & love the photo of the Christmas tree in our local mall. I was altogether very happy with page 8. More discussion on page 9 in my next photo post. For now, this is my 10th photo post for today, I've had enough. Goodbye! ;D


Oops, didn't realise I had another photo lurking here! This is a close-up of my little "Advent" chart, using Making Memories Falalalala paper (double-sided) - this is really the 'back' I'd say as the front has a more elaborate snowflake print. I thought this turned out pretty fresh & flashy!
What do you have to say about it???!!!
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Layout photo close-ups of Page 6 & 7 AGAIN!




Okay, I admit, I got a bit camera happy ;-D

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Layout photo close-ups for page 6 & 7 of my Christmas Album

Above is Page 6.

Above is page 7.


I inked in white on these edges, to keep with the crisp summer feel. I made the white word cards myseld. The red spotty semicircle was a gift tag I received attached to a gift bag. I've used the other half further on in the album. You should be able to read my journalling by clicking on the photo to enlarge it.


Here is a close up of page 6. I added some gold glitter glue to the edges just to add a Festive touch. The flower is a metal tote accessory but as it is lime-green, one of my favourite colours, I just had to add it to this happy page! Remember to leave a comment if you've had a peek ;D
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Layout photos of Pages 4,5,6 & 7 of my Christmas Album


Just another close-up. If you click on the photos they become ginormous & you can read this journalling very clearly. It is hilarious! Only an 8 year old can write so honestly!


As the theme was "Christmas Cards" I included an actual card on the right hand layout.

Below are pages 6 & 7. The prompt being "Your idea of the Perfect Christmas". While these photos were not taken at a Christmas, but rather recently, they epitomise me being happy, which is what I obviously would like for Christmas too, lol! It just so happened that my backing paper for the day was brown, so I went with pink anglaise ribbon, the significance being that pink & brown is also my favourite colour combination. The journalling cards are My Mind's Eye & I use them on my layouts quite a lot as I love hand journalling & they have pre-printed lines! ;D



Again, these are 2 separately themed layouts but I have matched up the ribbon placement to give them a co-ordinated look. Chipboard words are K & Co. Number 4 is from Falalalala paper by MM. Ribbon also Making Memories, so are red letter stickers. White are DCWV & red bling circles are Heidi Swapp. Bling rub-ons are Cloud 9 Designs. So how am I doing?!

Layout Photo close-ups of Page 5 of my Christmas album


I was hoping that you may be able to read my journalling for page 4 if I took a close-up shot but, alas, I think not. Try clicking on it then see, if not I will post the journalling soon, promise;-D

Here is page 5 "Sweet Sentiments" which is my own addition to the class. It features a page from Camryn's News book from school, where she writes about what she did over the weekend. It is her own words & own writing, but she talks of making Christmas Cards, which is why I have included it here. I just had to go over it very carefully with a black fineliner pen as she is still using a pencil at school. The heart sticker on the middle photo highlights a tender impromptu moment taken in the car on the way back from my son's carol concert, when I caught these 2 siblings holding hands. Too cute, especially as Jack is not the affectionate type at all!

Note the mini doily I cut in half & used on this page. The Santa Claus & Snowman are no-name Chinese embellishments, which I am happy to use if they are appealling, like these, & intersperse them between big brand names to cut costs where I can, lol!


Here I am hoping you may be able to read Camryn's news. It's cute & funny! And also relevant ;-D
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Layout photo close-ups of page 4 of my Christmas Album


I've used ribbon here & done the same thing, mirror-image, on page 5, so it appears as a double-page at first glance, but each page has a separate title & theme. I will post all the journalling in a later post, for you to read if you are interested. The stamps are real ones off some recent correspondence. To me, using real ephemera/memorabelia is the essence of Scrapbooking.
I sewed the plastic snowflake onto the layout & added a black velvet bow that I made & sewed on. The glossy brad is from Making Memories & the red stars are from the Falalalala letter sticker MM Collection. I decided, for this album, to print all my photos with a white border to save time on matting, what dya think?

The printed paper behind the journalling, that looks like gold, glittery sequins, is actually a free "flyer" catalogue for perfume. Nice huh?! The goldy yellow ribbon is Making Memories & the Black & White gingham is plain old haberdashery stuff. I bought a whole roll! The glittery white stickers are DCWV. The little snowman is a no name cheap Chinese embellishment! ;-D

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Layout photos for Page 3, 4 & 5 of my Christmas Album


Above is a close-up of the bottom section of page 3. The fancy red glitter stickers are from Making Memories Falalalala collection & were well worth the money. They are practically all gone! I need some more...they were very adaptable, as I often cut bits off or add bits on to letters to make the letters I need, if that particular letter has run out. I even used the swirly bits of some of the letters just as swirl designs. The little words are Seven Gypsies.

Above is a close-up of the top of page 3. The letter stickers also came with some red glittery stars, which I have used here, aswell as elsewhere further on. This was an extra page I decided to add to the album as there is so much journalling to cover that I needed some photos!

The title reads "My life is all about you". I like how the title is made up of 3 separate parts.

Here is page 4 & 5 as they appear, side by side. Page 4 is entitled "A dying Tradition" & is all about Christmas Cards, hence the stamps on the bottom right. Page 5 is called "Sweet Sentiments" and was my own addition to the class, to squeeze in some more photos!
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Layout photos for Page 2 & 3 of my Christmas Album


For the distressing effect on the journalling see instructions on my first Christmas album post.

I have used the same 'order' of Bazzill throughout the album...cream, pale green, red, brown, cream, pale green, red, dark green, etc, etc, for continuity...


Below you can see page 2 & 3 side by side, as they appear in my album. I have made sure that facing pages use the same backing cardstock colour even though they are actually single pages.

The snowflakes are actually glittery plastic Christmas decorations that haved broken over the years so I decided to sew them on to my layout! The bracket around part of the title "My life is" is cut out of a Making Memories sticker sheet that is actually all used up. As I was about to bin it I thought, hey, hold on a minute, I'm gonna get my money's worth so I cut around where the sticker once was, following the outline, how's that for economising.lol?!
Remember to leave me a comment, love it or hate it?!
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