Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chester is THE place for a girlie shopping expedition

My Princess has a cousin only 5 weeks younger than her. It's good, it stops her being the eternal baby of the family and means that, whatever happens, she will always have a bezzie mate. It helps that her mother is my old best friend who married my brother!
The bag is Primark... Keep Calm and Carry On Shopping!

We visited Chester a couple of weekends ago, just to shop, and buy some stickers, browse for bags (for them, not me) and to have lunch and then tea in comfy tea rooms with tablecloths and pretty crockery. It helps that they both drink tea. Afternoon tea with Coke just isn't the same.

Lunch was at the cafe in Chesters visitor centre near to the ampitheatre. Lovely red dotty oilcloth and a good choice of paninis, baguettes or wraps. Unfortunately the photos I took are on my phone... posted to facebook, not the blog.

Afternoon tea at Mad Hatters, on the top Rows of Bridge Street. Look at the slate cake stand! It cost a little extra to have the cakes the girls wanted, but they enjoyed it. Shame we couldn't have the outside tables. Next time, perhaps.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Wouldn't a collaboration between Filofax and Cath Kidston be great....

I love Cath Kidston style, especially the red dotty look or the roses on a dark background. And her large zip purses are very useable; so big they take every card I own and slim enough to slide in most handbags. I got mine last summer and, barring a short interlude in a small Radley purse when I was having a Radley phase, I have used it pretty constantly since.
But now... well, I had Bette taking up space in my bag, and when I had a smaller bag I was paperless, no notes, no diary. But carrying a smaller (pocket) FF and a purse just seemed so.... extraneous. I needed a cross over. I needed a Filofax purse system that would work.

Using a Filofax as a purse is a popular idea.... Cat tried it, Jarfm got a Journey which could be one, and even Steve admits to swapping between styles in search of the answer but it is very hard. Proper Filofaxes just don't have the coin space, but can hack the cards and so many are not available in red (I have a red thing going on) but when I saw this on Rapunzel's World, I wondered if I had found a possible solution.

City Organiser had Pennybridges in Red, and with 10% off thanks to Philofaxy (Thank you, people) the price plus postage came to about £30. About the price of a good mid range purse, then. Of course, it's not leather, but leather-look, and that means there is no gorgeous smell. I can live with that, of course. My Cath Kidston purse isn't leather either.  And I had fun setting it up.
The purse section is made from fabric; it's light weight but quite strong

I still mostly intend to take my large Filofax around with me, and to use this as a purse with paper, rather than a Filofax with my life in it, so sorting out what was and wasn't an absolute necessity took most time.
I have three dividers; Lists, to Do and Finance. They're made like my A5 dividers, but using a lovely Vanessa Arbuthnott scrapbooking paper.

 The tabs are on the top to leave space at the side for a pen. I had a small Filofax silver pen but it was too chunky in the hand and I wanted a degree of erasability. I tried a frixion after all the positive views and, although it worked and I liked the idea, had to reject it as too long. I currently have a red flippy pencil thingy but no rubber. I'm working on it. I think I need to find a pencil with tip eraser I like and sharpen it to oblivion. Just the job for a quiet evening in watching Borgen on re-run.
I always find today, thanks to my coordinating marker

I have three months of page per view calendar and a vertical year planner. Between the two, that's enough to capture any dates while I'm out. And my page marker is made from the waste strip of the paper.
The Back pocket carries a lot of stuff

There are 8 full length credit card pockets and a vertical back pocket, enough to do justice to anyone's collection of cards. My Costa and Starbucks card, a small pile of cute post-it notes, stamps and stickers are all there. I have an additional credit card insert which holds loyalty cards and a library card.
The coin pocket is not gussetted but holds an adequate amount of change. I try to keep it pretty clear so I empty my small change out to put in a jar every two or three days.
Saving on space? Yes, by a few centimetres

It's been three weeks so far and so far so good, the purse works. You can see it is actually smaller than my CK purse, so my bag and back are happy. I wish it was leather, but I guess that's just me being spoilt and if it had been leather I wouldn't have been able to justify the expense.
It's not too big to pull out when I need to, not too small to fit everything in without being over-packed. As a purse solution for someone who has a Filofax as well, it works ok.
Pennybridge to left; Bette to the right.

But how lovely would it be if FF and CK got together and had a child? A rose covered Pennybridge with dotty fabric pockets inside? A navy stripe with ditsy flower print? And all in PVC and all retailing at less that £30? Could that not reinvigorate a brand and introduce the concept to a whole new generation of pretty-loving things? As well as making Christmas infinitely easier for my shop-hating Hubby? I'll have the British Birds in Black with the red dot lining, please. Or Royal Stan

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

When I needed a footstool...

Under the red is a shade of deep green... imagine the clash.

I only had a very knackered old bean bag and a floor cushion with a leak in green. Green. In my living room? No way. I covered it with a red throw, secured temporarily with safety pins and 5 years later still looked at the pins, wondering if I could pass them off as a post-ironic homage to punk. No, it was sheer laziness and the thought of handsewing the seams.
The Johnny Rotten approach

The cushions did not impress, did not inspire usage and had to be hidden away when company came, negating any possible use as additional seating.
Enough! my brain screamed (my brain got quite loud and assertive this year) and I set to work.
This is the inside. Green again.

1 metre of furnishing fabric (this was from Dunhelm Mill at approx £25 per metre)
1 metre of interlining fabric. (this was from my mother; costs nothing)
Stuffing (this was from the cushion and beanbag combined; again a free item)
The beans went in OK... that red material is reversible

With lots of thread at around £5 for more than I eventually used even allowing for double and triple seam sewing, the whole thing cost me just over £30 and took an afternoon (after a few weeks resisting the brain's orders to Nike the job ie just do it!)
You see the green here? Not nice.
Thank God for S who is happy to help.

I simply cut the 150cm width into 6 equalish pieces, and sewed up a cube. I sewed the inner first, then the outer, put one inside the other with only 1/2 a seam left open and stuffed through magazines curled up to make tubes. Stuffing was the only part I had help with. The lads disappear at any sound except the call to food and S was at choir. But she helped and laughed and after a (little) handsewing, the project was complete.

Look at the mess the stuffing made... took ages to clean up!
But you can see the neat difference between two sides of the
same material.. as good as 2 materials really.
And it is comfortable. Very.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Decorating.... Is it worth it?

We hadn't decorated our living room for 10 years.
I know winter sun washes out colour, but, really....
10 years. Not since we moved in, when I was seven months pregnant and we had to pay a decorator to do it because my mother threatened to kill me if I lifted my arms above my head at any time during the whole nine months.
Books! And more books!

 It has been slowly fading all that time, collecting the dust, grubbing up with the fingermarks of three children and a parent who paints and bakes.
Christmas decorations... look at that pale yellow...

And last Christmas I had had enough. I sat and looked around and thought the time had come.
Fortunately I am not (never will be again) preggers so a decorator wasn't necessary this time.
I got to work.
This is after painting... there is an absence of handprints here

Painting, check.
The display cabinet moved into the living room.

Furniture moving, check.
The cat isn't real. I love him, though.
Cushions... this is the only time they were ever allowed to line up neatly. DH 'doesn't do cushions'

Accessories, check.

And Jubilee bunting. Check.
From Sainsburys. I'm leaving it up until September, after the Olympics.

Yes, I know. Can you see a difference? It is cleaner but the colour is almost identical. I had dreams of teal. Duck egg blue. A deep shade of green. But my DH doesn't do change.

It's a good job I love him.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Parents are their children's teachers...

No, not some incredibly worthy diatribe on how we teach children so much but a quick post on a cold, wet day to say that I really enjoy teaching my eldest boy about classic films.



 and this.
I could be good at this cinematic education business.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Making dividers as unique as what I am.

Madness on the roof of the palace? Amazing! I love the idea that the Queen brought her own ear plugs. I don't blame her.

Anyway, enough flim flam. Today's post; how I made individualised dividers for my A5 Filofax.
I made this one using the keep-calm-o-matic generator.

I love using pictures as dividers and if anyone has ever had a Filofax, the plain dividers are just too.... plain. I agree that if I was a business man or woman I would probably prefer to show the world a clean, cream, crisp divider when I opened my Filofax, but I am a mother of three, crafting and teaching my way through life. Plain doesn't stay plain even if I preferred it, so I needed to get to work.
I am unutterably lazy, so even if I could be bothered measuring, cutting and covering card with stamps, decoupage, painting etc I don't think it's worth it when I know that I will want to change them again, so I took the cowards way out. It took me a couple of hours on the computer and a few borrowed images from blogs I admire. Ultimately the plan would be to use all my own images, but for the moment I am loving other people's talent.
Optimist Prime by ~avid. Cool sentiment. I am an Optimist Prime!

I decided first which sections I needed; I try to use the GTD system of working so that dictated my sections to an extent. I have

  • Calendar (self explanatory); I use a Filofax column week per two pages. I like the appointment times and the small space for notes top and bottom. Divider comes from here.
  • Next Actions; I keep my GTD to do lists here; a list of my projects, my to do lists sorted by where I need to be to get then done, a shopping list of things I have to buy, some spare paper and a monthly print out of June showing deadlines for applications. I should be filling in an application now, but I just need a break so that's why I can post. I need to credit Rabbits Whispers for having this as a divider first and inspiring me to go see it.....Go see the Optimist Prime at deviant art
  • Future; This is the space for all my wishlists, recommended books, a list of what is on my Kindle to read, websites that I want to look up sometime, movies to look out for and anything that is not Now but sometime in the future.
  • Home; I keep my menu planning here. I do write  a menu every week and fill in a shopping list for my dearest darling Hubby who shops with the daughter on a Sunday to do. I also write notes, to do or reminders of things connected to the house here. I have another A5 file that is the house file, where most info is kept so this section is really just for the stuff I need at hand straight away. I use Posy's feet and fireplace her as well as at my front. I have a feet n fireplace shot somewhere, but the slippers aren't as cute. Go figure.
  • Christmas; I have a Christmas organiser currently undergoing a facelift so this section again is just for the stuff I need to carry with me; present lists, shopping from October onwards and a cleaning schedule that I always intend to follow but run out of time for.
  • Holidays; I keep lists of days out with their contact details here as well as packing lists and food shopping lists updated and printed out for each holiday. I also have a list of things I am expecting to do on my hols and useful info like maps, details of shops, museums etc that I print out and keep to hand.
  • Reference; This is more lists; things to do in 5 minutes, simple indulgences to cheer me up, housework schedules, quotations, a simple midday prayer service to do alone or in company; basically info that needs no action but may be necessary.
My favourite house picture ever; this is from Posy and subtitled Bliss... or Heaven . Both names work.

I found pictures that I like; most of them are lifted from other blogs and sum up in one image what I like about home/Christmas/ holidays. I will change them as soon as I find pictures in my collection that speak to me. I used Microsoft photo viewer and printed off 2 per A4 page. Once trimmed, they were the right size to be laminated in A5 pouches, have holes cut in using a single hole punch that I carry with me in my pencil case and have labels stuck on.
The labels are punched from scrapbooking paper, one pale and one red hearts, using a 2.5 cm circle. I glued them on back to back with the pale paper uppermost and wrote on them using simple pen. I love that they give a different feel to the Filofax seen from the back.

Attic 24's Christmas fireplace. Crochet jealousy on a hook.

I am happy carrying the A5 size round, although in mad moments I dream of a mini filofax that can hold my life and still fit in a small bag. But until Doctor Who makes Filofaxes I shall have to dream on.

Monday, 4 June 2012

I climb on board the Magic Roundabout….

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I got given some cash. What to buy? What to spend it on?
I had been finding my Malden in personal size just a little too narrow for my writing style. I know A5 pads are big enough to write on and I know an A5 Domino works as a Filofax (I have a red one as my application notebook to find a full time teaching job) so I decided to invest in a quality leather A5.
Ideally I would have had a crimson Malden, since I really love the colour and feel of the leather, the lining and the pocket arrangement, but all the Maldens I could see at a price I could afford were either grey or vintage pink which is just too…pink.

Back to Philofaxy (how I love that site!) and its related contributors. Which Filofax was available at the right price and in the right colour…. A little birdy posted about Chameleons at half price, I clicked onto Filofax.co.uk and…..

Red. They had the most beautiful bright scarlet red leather A5 at half price. Half price! Scroll, click, wait for the postie’s trip and here she is…..

I can’t name her yet, I’m torn between Jezebel, Scarlett and Bette Davis. She is classic, beautiful and so in your face it is wonderful. She dominates my bag and contains my life. I couldn’t move over until late last week due to interviews but as soon as I could I transferred my life.

I always have to write and rewrite everything in personal and A5 size. Changing sizes is not an easy thing. Fortunately my Domino had masqueraded as my life Filo for a couple of weeks until my Malden arrived so the diary just moved over. Everything else is either printed again or written out afresh. And I knew I wanted unique dividers, but for those you will have to tune in tomorrow….