Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seriously Blogger!

I am so cross I could just throw this laptop through the window.

I've been battling with blogger the whole evening (eating into my reading time!) but I typed out a whole post for Shell's Pour your heart out.

I saved twice. And I saw it save.

I was busy adding the button when the whole thing froze and I went out.

I really wasn't worried because I'd seen it save and even if it didn't save the last two sentences, it definitely saved most of my long post.

And now when I went into blogger, nothing except my post title.

Leap, Ireland (it's pronounced Lep)

I am kind of freaking.

Who knows if I will be that eloquent (hahaha) if I decide to write it again?!


Plus I don't have the time to re-live my life.

Did you at least have a good Feb 29th?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The kids' Valentine's cards

I've gotten really sneaky clever with cards lately.

I get the kids to make cards for their friends/ the grannies/ Daddy, etc and this serves three purposes:
  1. crafting time 
  2. there's purpose to the activitiy (birthday, Valentine's, etc)
  3. I get to give the stuff away (this is the biggest thrill to be honest :)) so it doesn't clutter up my house

By the way, did I tell you how a lady in the lift was horrified at me when I said I toss all the stuff the children do? (except the very first thing - first handprints painting, etc.)

So for Valentine's this is what we did:

white cardstock
two different colour paper
crafting scissors
glue stick
flower punch
1-inch circle punch
some hot pink stickers
ink and stamp pad

I assembled one flower so they could all see my vision :) and I punched out all the shapes.

Then I let them loose, with V's supervision

I personally don't think the purpose is necessarily to make things look a certain way but just to get them used to having fun sticking and using different things. At least that's what I tell myself.

the 4 original cards
look at the edges
enjoying the heart stamp
I bought the heart stamp at the Crazy Store in Dec 2010 - this is the first time they're using it properly. I tried once before and they tried to eat the rubber off the wooden part, so they were clearly not ready
red ink pad from Mr P Home - set of 3 for R40
scissors - about 6 pairs for R60 at CNA
let them go wild...
it all works out in the end
and the grannies like anything :)
I don't know if this is speaking to anybody??? but I always felt like I had to be the one to do anything fun with the babies then I realised they'd be 10 before we ever got to everything on my mental list.

So now I put my organising skills to work and I delegate.

They do things with V and once a month (yes, it's still once a month) when their granny visits, I delegate the painting outside to her (she used to paint so this is me encouraging her to share her skills).

We'll still occasionally do some crafting on the weekends (mostly Kendra while Connor is sleeping) but I don't feel guilty if we do nothing but run around outside, clean the house, read and go to gym :)

Strange, I never thought I would be that mother (and the word crafting still makes me think of badly-made things with ice-cream sticks that you feel compelled to keep) but all the delights of the internet bring it out in the best of us. Ha!

Are you that mother?

What are your mad parenting skills? :) Don't be shy - we all have them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

There's a reason I didn't post a bliss list this weekend

I was feeling far too grumpy.

You see, I'm beyond busy at work.

We're two people short-staffed as the new boss lady's old position needs to be filled plus one of our team is moving elsewhere in the company from 1 March.

Of course, this person has been doing nothing much in her notice month. In fact, she's been working for her new team already, going to meetings and whatnot, which I personally think is just wrong.

I'm probably old school but I like to finish off in one area properly before I start a new thing.

So I'm working like a slave and how I know this is my personal admin has piled up. Usually I get the chance to make a phone call or two during lunch, or send an email or two, but not really, of late.

On the way home today, I thought of 6 items in rapid succession that need my attention. At the traffic light, I grabbed a notebook (this is why I always have a notebook in the car) and quickly jotted them down.

I'm working and working and I empty the inbox a bit (my work is either meetings, quite a bit of writing (copy/ business cases, etc or bossing people around via email :)), go to the loo and when I get back there are tons of messages again.


Then last week two things happened:

1. We had an all day session to do website-type stuff. I got very frustrated because NBL (new boss lady) basically told the copywriter what to write and how to write it (as a semi-writer I get freaked when people do this - what are we paying the people for?!). All credit to him - he handled it all with such grace (much better than I would have, had I been the expert)

2. I got hopelessly lost going to another all day session. This is where Louisa pipes in and tells me to get a GPS already.

Well, I thought I had this thing sorted because of my iPad. I honestly did everything I could think of at the time to ensure my navigational success :) I googled the directions, put my pins in and let the map work out a route. I even went to buy more data just in case it ran out at a crucial time. Well.

I'm the type of girl who needs to turn the map book around in the direction my car's facing. With the iPad it keeps rotating  the image as you move it. So I kept driving off in the wrong direction and then when I was kind of close, it lost signal completely and I was cooked.

Do you know that a homeless man had to direct me? I couldn't make this up if I tried!

I got to a 7:45 thing at 8:35. Yes, good times. The only thing that was truly good was I didn't cry. BUT I made up for it coming back home. Left the minute we finished (around 4) but got gloriously lost and the problem was at that time of day, the traffic was solid so there was no space to pull over and look at the map... and Jhb drivers are cut throat. So I just cried and cried and BEGGED God to not let me be killed driving into who-knows-where (it did not look good).

Eventually I saw signs for Hillbrow and I followed those - at least I more or less know the layout and the streets are in grids.

When I saw some semblance of familiarity again, I was SO grateful.

I told those people the next day that that is the LAST time I'm driving to that place since it's now the second time I got lost.

And of course they want to have our strat there. Grrr. But I am meeting one lovely team member at the office and will follow her there or get a lift with her.

(I just realised I'm starting to get tense just writing about this again)

Bottom line

The to-do list is still long, I've missed a deadline that strangely doesn't seem to phase me but I'm working hard, so darn hard I literally forget about the time.

So imagine my sheer delight when the messenger brought me a parcel on Friday - my gorgeous rings from Danielle's etsy shop arrived. I got this one and a pearl one.

I am BEYOND thrilled - they are beautiful, look good on my hand and if I could afford to, I'd buy you all one. Seriously.

And her service is outstanding - she had to work with me to figure out my ring size (I'm a US 6, it turns out)

I must confess - I'm just a teensy bit vain about how beautiful this ring looks on my hand. I keep staring at it and admiring it :)

Hopefully I can persuade D to take nice pics of my hand for the blog. I took one with the ipad but the ipad is not a real camera and I find the pictures just TERRIBLE.

Anyway, enough waffling.

Two days left of Feb.

How are you doing with your goals?

What are you vain about?

Is it just me or does it feel like it's already April?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seven on Sunday

I've had such a lovely day!

1. We went to the early (8.30) church service today because we had a party to get to afterwards. Well, there is a reason I don't go to that service regularly - it was far too full. I felt a bit guilty leaving my two with the ladies on duty in their children's church class because it was so full. I asked them, "are you sure you can cope?" when we dropped our kids off and may have even said a "good luck" as I left!

2. We have to do this 8:30 thing again in three weeks because we've been invited to a Sunday lunch. I actually can't wait! We never have a "proper" Sunday lunch unless my mother is around so that's like maybe two Sundays every 18 months or so.

3. The party was lovely. I was so proud of Kendra - she's coming out of her shell and actually went and played on her own (as opposed to clinging to Daddy's leg) for a long time. There were chicken and beef burgers and LOADS of other food so they also ate beautifully. I got Connor an orange paper plate and Kendra a pink one and settled them. When I got back to them with my purple paper plate, Connor told me that is his one and proceeded to transfer his food to mine! What could I do?!

4. I was taking pics of one of the birthday girls when my friend said something like "G, look at Marcia so we can at least have a few pics" I then realised that no-one was taking pics so I started playing paparazzi.I downloaded 301 pics and am still busy deleting the duds but we're already down to only 287! I want to finish sorting these out as quickly as possible so I can put it on a disc for my friend.

giving the doll a nice big hug. Do you think it's time I bought her a doll? :)
how sweet is she? she brought a doll for Connor too
GORGEOUS sky before the thunderstorm
my two were obsessed with this hairdryer, probably because they never see me use mine!
birthday girl G - and yes, that cake was very good
birthday girl A
Typical Connor pointing at something
An ex-boss's son - one of my favourites from the party

5. Connor went into time-out at the party and Kendra escaped by the skin of her teeth. For blatantly ignoring me. I can (sometimes) put up with naughtiness but the red mist descends when they pretend they haven't heard me.

6. We got home at about 3:40  and put the kids down for their naps. I read a bit of my book and then decided to have a nap myself. Turns out I slept for 2.5 hours. The kids are still sleeping as I write this (11.35) so it will be interesting to see what time they wake tomorrow.

and last but not least...

7. Guess what D and I watched tonight? Well, he watched properly and I half-watched while organising Feb pics all the way up to Friday. Nancy Drew! It was gorgeous! I thought the casting was perfect and I enjoyed the modern twist very much. Speaking of books, I've read my 5 for the month already. Hoping to make it 6 when I finish my non-fiction one this week.

Did you read Nancy Drew when you were young?

Do you take afternoon naps? This is probably my second one in a year but so far I'm loving it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

So we had ourselves an "incident" at the gym

As is now our custom, Connor and I went to gym this morning.

Because of yesterday's Friendship Friday post, I even made some effort to chat to one of the girls after the class whereas usually I just dash out of there.

OH! slightly good news - I've lost .2 kg over the month (that's not the good news) but I've dropped 1% in fat and my heart rate's come down to the 70s. Now that's the good news although I still want the scale to show big losses!!!

When I collected Connor, we chatted on the way out and I'd just buckled him into his car seat when he told me "a little girl" pushed him.

Me really? and then what happened?

Connor little girl went to time-out

Me (thinking "fabulous. there's consistency with what we do at home") oh? and who put her in time-out? Rachel or Pumi?

Connor Connor!

Me Wait, Connor. Who put the girl in time-out?

Connor CONNOR! Little girl naughty! Connor said, 1. 2. 3. Time-out.

Oh boy!

I laughed and then told him next time, he should just tell her, "no, no pushing" because little kids are not allowed to put other little kids in time-out.

He was not convinced but we'll see :)


Then in other news, we went to Gillooly's Farm (last time we went the babies were 7 months old!) and it was just lovely.

I packed a picnic and when we arrived, D and I realised we didn't pack caps or suntan lotion for the kids.

Parents of the Year!

So I made him give up his cap to Kendra and I plonked mine on Connor's head.

Still, I was being all spontaneous and in-the-moment so didn't even think of going back home and messing up our plans.

And it was lovely.

I also played with the other lens that came with my camera.

I don't know what all those numbers mean that I keep seeing on the photo blogs (50 mm 1.4 etc. what in the Sam Hill?)

The lens that's normally on my camera says 18 - 55 mm and then .25 m macro.

And then the one I used in the park today says 75 - 300 mm, macro 1.5 m (I suppose you can't go closer than 1.5 m to shoot up close?) and zoom lens 1:4 - 5.6 (???)

All I know is it zooms in nicely but when I downloaded, about a third of the pics were blurry and the others were stunning with some gorgeous blurry backgrounds.

And so I crossed three things crossed off the list today - intentionally playing with the camera (I told D we need to do this again - kind of like a photo shoot but only free and no good pics guaranteed!), 4 times to gym with the kids and doing something fun with the kids. Yay!

How was your Saturday?

PS I took 160 pics today (yes!) before I started deleting. Oy! No wonder photo organising is on every weekend's to-do list.

Friday, February 24, 2012

{Friendship Friday} How easily do you put yourself out there?

Some people have emailed to say they feel like terrible friends when they read my posts. Please! That is not my intention at all. I'm really just thinking aloud and sharing what works for me. Okay?



You run into someone a couple of times at the gym, exchange a few laughs and think, "I like this girl. We could be friends".

Or it's someone at work that you get along with really well.

Or you meet someone at a gathering (like my infertility group or bookclub) and you hit it off.

But how do you put yourself out there?

Personally I'm not too bad but I wouldn't say I'm good at  putting myself out there. Let's say a 5.

I'm good when I feel the person likes me back (isn't everybody though?) but when I'm not sure, I'm terrible.

Inside I'll think, "we could be REALLY good friends. We laugh at the same things. It sounds like we have the same values" but if that person doesn't show any inclination (like a really kind smile or asking a question of interest), I will not make a move.

It actually happened at the infertility support group last week. There was a girl who I could be good friends with. We're going through some of the same things with God and ministry. But she didn't exchange one word with me outside of hello even after I said during her sharing time how I'm going through the same thing as she is.

For the record, if our roles were reversed, I would have said to her afterwards, "so tell me more about your situation" and then taken her number and given her my card.

But none of that happened.

It's not a train smash and I'm not thinking about it all the time; it was just interesting to note.

Me and F

Of course F and I are going to have a proper friend date sometime soon. Note that I put myself out there quite easily with F (for a 2nd date) because I felt that she liked me as I liked her.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking, I would not make a good boy. Imagine having to keep asking girls out?!

And I was quite the standoffish girl (with boys) because I just didn't believe in "wasting time" with people who were not at least marriage material!

My heart breaks a little at the thought of Connor in his teenage years.... even now when he wants to give Kendra a hug and she shrieks, "no, NO Connor" I cringe.

That's why I so admire people who will try and try and eventually they get a bite.

My one friend R from the IF group is great (fabulous actually) at keeping in touch with people and at initiating contact. She is the one who befriended me because she kept sending me text messages.

The embarrassing thing is I thought it was another R and one day both Rs were there and I said to the wrong R, "oh, thanks SO MUCH for always checking on me" and the wrong R said, "I haven't sent you any SMS messages" (yes, I about died on the spot) but fortunately my R isn't one to really take offense and we are friends today so all's well that ends well. I'm so grateful she kept texting me.

Then another friend R came to the group and she made an impact on me because she was just so blatantly honest, was crying openly in front of about 15 new people and I'm hugely attracted to honesty and openness. So I remembered where she said she worked and I looked her up and emailed her.


I don't know but we are good friends today.

If I don't know someone at all, my natural style is to try befriend you once, maybe twice if I really like you but then if there's no reciprocity, I'll just retreat.

What about you?

How easily do you put yourself out there?

Share some stories with me where you befriended someone or they befriended you.

PS click on the friendship label below this post to see all the posts in this series

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Virtual CREATE Day - monogram notecards

Before I go any further, it's MandyE's birthday today!

Happy birthday, Mandy - hope you're having a WONDERFUL day.


Well, where January was the month of the mini-book, February has been the month of cards... and I'm not done yet.

But since it's Mandy's birthday AND she got my little gift, I can finally show you these little monogram notecards I made for her.

I had to get creative and do something very flat since I'm suspicious of the postal service so I did six little notecards, two sets of three.

They can be used as gift tags, for a quick thank-you note or for a random act of kindness when you just want to encourage someone (that's my favourite use for the little notecards).

Here they are - I took the pics at night because NOTHING would get taken if I waited for daylight - so they looked much better in person.

  • I bought a nice thick creamy card
  • cut them smaller (can't remember the dimensions)
  • scored the cards (measured the halfway mark and used a dry gel pen and a ruler to draw a line)
  • folded
  • applied stickers (bought from

Because this cardstock was so thick, I put the whole lot in a big binder clip for a day to get them flat and then I attached some ribbon.

Easy but satisfyingly very pretty.

Please show off your creations in the kitchen, craft room, sewing room, wherever.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Connor and V

These pics were taken in December when Kendra was in the hospital (gosh, it's been two months already) 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do you think it's a sign that I need to start saving?

this is not the bag I bought; this lovely was bought at the House of Leather in Malaysia :)

this is my favourite door pic that I took - pic taken in Ireland on 17 May 2008 (I have a crazy brain for details)

this is my "thin" inspiration pic. It helps that I'm tanned and healthy too - Kuala Lumpur, 2006. Technically terrible (and it's not so easy to do my bossyboots thing with photos when the people you're bossing don't speak English *ahem*)

I'm not in the least bit superstitious so I'm kind-of poking fun at myself here.

Anyway, moving on.

1. I bought a bag on Saturday that I love but actually, really don't need so after packing all my stuff in there, removed them and am taking it back for a refund. It costs R400 so I really should save the money (40% of one night's accommodation in North Carolina!).

2. Then I ordered a punch, some fabric tape, twine and binder rings the other day. My package arrived this morning but I had a whole day session which, of course, ran late and finished at 5:40. I got home, unpacked my stuff and the punch is not the one I wanted. It is the one I ordered but I thought it was double the size and I don't want this small size. So I've emailed them and let's see what they say about a refund. I may have to pay postage but it's (kind of) worth it to not have the wrong things, right?

3. My set of pearl earrings that arrived last week BROKE today. Both of them. I am horrified and of course, I emailed the etsy seller the first chance I got so hopefully we can sort that out too. Technically, they brought me such joy for the week I've had them that it was worth spending the money but still... :)

4. And last, I just ordered lots of labels (address labels - I'm slightly addicted) and I get through the whole shopping experience, choosing fonts, designs, etc. and .................. they don't ship to South Africa. AAAARRRGGHHHHH. My fault because I've browsed the site before and I thought I checked this. By the way, it's the first thing you should always check and I really should know better.

So, do you think it's a sign I should stop spending and start saving money?

Seriously, I really do have to set a nice big, juicy financial goal (aside from She Speaks) so I can be motivated to save hard!

Who of you have some exciting financial goals for this year?

And are you superstitious?

 PS do you have a thin inspiration pic? I need to print and laminate it, and take it to the gym with me - I'm sure I'll work harder :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

How I organise my craft supplies

When I started getting my craft on early last year, I bought one thing here and one thing there and really, I just looked for space to store that one thing.

But then it started annoying me because I had things all over the study and I knew I needed everything to  be together (store like with like).

So I pulled it all out and realised there was enough to fill a whole drawer.

I can't remember what drawer 1 held before, but drawer 2 is my card drawer and drawer 3 holds kraft paper gift bags.

I took some measurements and got someone to make this little unit for me (and another for our CDs and DVDs) - I must say, there is nothing quite like having something fit exactly where you want it.

By the way, if you're wondering what this has to do with getting creative, I can't function in disorder. It's much easier for me to create if I know exactly where to find my things.

my 3-drawer unit fits right next to my desk

this is a pic of the whole top drawer - from the bottom left moving clockwise: punches, small bags, two layers of washi tape, twine and a spare roll of masking tape (I LOVE masking tape), glue, another punch that didn't fit with the others, some glue sticks and next to the washi tape, my beloved binder rings. I've made things a bit messy so you can see them better


the two baskets of washi tape - I need to go through it because I see I have many rolls never touched- baskets were 3 for R12,99 at PEP

blues and grey, and some fabric tape too

organised by colour

binder rings - all sizes

I use one big ring and keep the other similar sizes together

this pic is easier to see how I organise them

these are D-rings I still haven't used

As for my scrapbook paper, I simply stand those on a shelfi in the wardrobe (it takes up less than a cm).

I do have a small plastic box to store the 6 X 6 squares for the mini books I make but I forgot to take a pic. Nothing exciting though.

 I'm sharing these ideas with some fabulous parties.

Which area of your home needs organising the most right now?

D? his desk but I've been banned from touching any of his papers :)

Me? there's a pile of photo frames in the corner of my study and of course today when I get home, my kitchen cupboards will be slightly messed up again.


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