Friday, July 14, 2017

Rocking Your World: Week 28


This is going to be a short and sweet post as it has been so  hot here this week that I have done as little possible. Also it is Fiesta week in our village, so from tea-time onwards, it is very noisy with three main sources of music all vying with one another to be the loudest, and they don't stop until at least 6.00 a.m. the next morning. With being away in UK for a week, we had not realised how close to the fiesta we were, but on the first morning we were back, our usual route out of the village was temporarily blocked by this lorry.
The man is busy putting up the lights that are strung across all the streets. Of course, now the fiesta has started they do look very pretty. This is a particularly colourful one this year.
Wednesday was the first night, when for a few hours, all the fairground rides are a bit cheaper for the children, so there were lots of young families milling around. We went over for an hour or two, and although not all the stalls are open on that night, there was still a good crowd out to enjoy it.
We will be going over later tonight to watch the local school of dancing children doing their traditional Flamenco display. And there will be other things to enjoy over the weekend, ending with a big open-air mass on Sunday evening.

With rather disturbed nights we have been making sure we have a siesta in the afternoon, though some days it has been too hot to laze outside. The pool is a welcome way to cool down around midnight, and the aircon makes the bedroom bearable even though we turn it off when we go to bed. This is the only week all year that we sleep with the bedroom windows closed, but we do have the ceiling fan on all night to keep the air moving.

During July and August, most of the usual groups and clubs have a break, so we have some time to catch up on all the jobs that have been left undone for months. So this week, Chris has drastically pruned a tree in the corner of our yard, and while he was cutting, I was shredding it to make it easier to dispose of all the branches. Then yesterday we tackled the small back strip of yard outside the kitchen door, and moved a tall plastic storage shed from the far end, up to the middle to stand next to one that was already in place there. Of course this meant emptying it and sorting through everything. We found ancient tins of paint and varnish, tail ends of garden treatments, a box of light bulbs and one of string. We worked on the premise that anything we haven't used since we arrived over nine years ago, can probably be disposed of! The second shed is used to house the boxes of dog food, and also all my plastic boxes and containers that I can never quite throw away. But I sorted those out too and did manage to dispose of two carrier bags full, so we now have two tidy cupboards, and a much neater yard.
Recently we bought three other storage units, similar to the big ones but only half height which run all along the wall of the house now to store big cooking pans, electrical 'gadgets' and anything else that I struggled to find a home for in the kitchen. So the yard is really my extended kitchen and everything is much easier to access now, so I am pleased with it.
This yard strip becomes much narrower at the front end, where it runs alongside the side of our garage, and the cupboard we moved had been used as a barrier across this while the dogs were puppies. They don't need that now, so we were happy to move it. There is still a low fence panel across there, and as soon as it is cool enough to work out there again, we are going to remove it, and a few of the crazy-paving blocks, and plant a couple of climbing flowers to hopefully ramble across the garage door.
The only other thing of note that I have managed this week, is to make a double batch of piccalilli and one batch of hot chili and ginger jam! Chris said I was mad to attempt it in this heat, but I have several orders for both, and I had promised to try and get some made. For the piccalilli, all the vegetables have to be cut up and left to soak in salt overnight, before they are rinsed and cooked, so I sat out in the porch all evening peeling and chopping. It is actually fairly quick and easy to finish it off the next day. The chili and ginger one has quite a lot of garlic in it too and it makes the kitchen smell for days afterwards. But my cupboard is well stocked now and supplies should last until the Autumn.

Most months I make a card to enter in the Butterfly Challenge, and as I won this challenge a few months back, I was asked to be a guest designer for one challenge, so this week was my time. The challenge was to make a card with at least one butterfly on it, and using the themes of M for Matching pair, and/or the colour Orange peel. I wanted a cheerful card to send to someone, so that is what I made. This was my design, and you can read more about it on my craft blog by clicking here.
And that is it for this week. It is time now to get some tea and head over for the dancing. Virginia is taking a couple of weeks off, so I am just linking up with Annie's Friday Smiles for this week.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 27


Hi folk. I'm back after a whirlwind week in UK. What a happy week it was, and here's the reason why. Son number four - Jonathan with his new wife Ella, both looking so happy, as every bride and groom should.

 More about the happy day later, but now we have had the event I can share some of the things I have been busy making for them over the past few months.

It isn't easy when you are many miles apart, but we shared ideas by e-mail and eventually settled on an art-deco design in gold on a black  background. I was determined to make them whatever they chose but I admit I was a bit daunted when they said black, but it really did turn out very nicely. This was the basic pattern.
The design was cut from gold vinyl, and I cut nearly 100 of them on my silhouette cameo machine. Before I could use transfer tape to put them onto the black base cards, all the unwanted areas had to be weeded out. There were 110 pieces to remove from each one! I used one of my favourite fonts called Yana, to put the word "Invitation" across the centre of each one. Then I printed the inserts in black on white heavy paper, some for those who were invited for the whole day, and a different one for those who were invited to just the evening party.

Next I used the cameo design software to stretch the design to fit the front cover of a guest book with a plain black cover that I managed to buy from ebay, and I replaced the word "Invitation", with "Guest Book" They had a sort of polaroid camera so the guests could take their photo and stick it in the book with their good wishes. it was a fun idea until the camera gave up, and the last few had to just write for them.

To complete this trio I made a matching post box for their cards. I knew it needed to be quite big for this, and fortunately I found an old box from an Amazon delivery, that I was able to alter and cover in black card. This time I had to stretch the design quite a bit, but it still worked, and the couple told me what words they wanted on it. I added a roof with a generous slit in it, and decorated both slopes, and the sides with simple art-deco frames.
Finally came the favour boxes to go on the table for the lunch time meal. I made a few different designs for them to choose from and fortunately they chose the best one for me, because I could cut them out and decorate them, and pack them flat to go in my suitcase. So when we arrived Ella and I spent an evening assembling them, and popping  a little bag of jelly beans in to each one.
We soon had all seventy of them filled and closed up, ready to be delivered to the venue the next day.
There wasn't a lot we could do to help them before the day, so it was nice that I was able to make these, and they were very well received, so it was all worth while.

The actual wedding was on Sunday, which was quite unusual, but they couldn't have chosen a better day. There were a few fluffy clouds in the morning, but by midday they had gone and it was bright sunshine right through to the evening. Some folks even had to resort to using sunscreen.

The venue was beautiful - an old country house called Sweeney Hall in Oswestry, Shropshire, where they both grew up. It was set in lovely grounds with several separate areas of grass and flower beds, and lots of comfy outdoor seating. We were among the first to arrive so I took the opportunity to take some photos before there were too many people around. Next week I may have some more official photos to share, with the actual guests in them!
This is Sweeney Hall.
On the lower lawn there was seating under a pergola, and this is where they said their vows. Ella arrived on her dad's arm to the music of Jane's Addiction! Jonathan plays drums in three heavy  metal groups, and that is the type of music they like.
She looked radiant in a white dress with a lace overlay. It was almost backless but was joined at the waist and neck with silver buttons in the shape of skulls. She also wore a bracelet of skulls! Her bouquet was slightly goth style with dark plum calla lilies and blue sea thistles. Jonathan had a dark plum suit with a black shirt and tie. It is a long way from weddings as they used to be, but suited them perfectly.

The registrar was a lovely man with a great sense of humour. He made several jokes, and really made the ceremony such fun.

Over to the side of the pergola, there was an archway with a high flowering rose around it, and we all took a turn to have our photos taken by it. Even Chris and I did.
While this was being taken, there was a tractor herding sheep in the field to our left!
We all sat outside to enjoy a cocktail after the ceremony, and then we all went back down to the seats for our oldest son Jim (who is a vicar) to say a few extra words. Then there was a brief interlude before the meal so I popped into the marque to have a look, and it was stunning.
You can just see several glass baubles hanging from each blossom tree, which each had a battery operated tea-light in it. Also the black section of the ceiling was threaded with tiny fairy lights like stars, so it was really pretty by the time the evening party was underway. I did take a photo, but it didn't come out too well.
Now for a couple of group photos that I am pleased with. The first is of our oldest son with his wife and three children. They are all rather camera shy so it is very rare to get a picture of them all smiling like this.
Needless to say, the second one is of Chris and I with our five boys (I should probably say men now, but they will always be our boys to me). My prescription glasses are reactolights, which I need in the bright sun out here, but unfortunately it means they are quite dark in most of the photos. But I love this line up all the same.

And now for a couple of other happy moments from our week away. After two days in Manchester, staying with Jonathan and Ella, we left them to do their final preparations and moved on to stay with Ben in Birmingham. As you must know from earlier posts, he is our youngest son who sings and plays the piano. He has just invested in some very complex equipment, I think he called it a midi file controller, that enables him to play his music on the keyboard and the controller plays it in a variety of instruments. The piano sounds amazing, but in this picture he is demonstrating the brass family to me. Each colour light section plays a different instrument, and they blend together as though he is playing in a brass band. It is all clever stuff, and I can see he is going to have loads of fun 'playing' with it.
Ben does shift work and happened to be off on Thursday so he drove up to Manchester to collect us. We all walked round to a lovely bar/restaurant for some lunch before driving back, and we spotted this on the patio. It did make me smile.
And I will leave you there for this week. Now to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I will be back with more, next week.