Monday, 31 August 2009

Holiday in a weekend

We just arrived back from a wonderful weekend in the Swiss mountains. It was gorgeous and refreshing and relaxing and tiring all at the same time. And we tried to really make the most of it because this appears to be our holiday for the year! But these 48 hours were really just lovely and I am SO pleased that we made the effort to go.

We were visiting friends we haven't seen since we all went our separate ways at the end of the MBA in September 1999. He is Swiss, she is Japanese and they live in Japan so the likelihood of us catching up over the last years have been remote even though they travel back to Europe on an irregular basis. For a weekend trip, Europe is really small and everywhere is local when you live here but if you are travelling in for business from another continent, then the time it would take to just "pop" over to Germany from Paris for example is too much and so our paths just have not crossed over the years. But when the offer came to go down to the Alps for a quick visit, we hardly had to stop and think twice. We had our flights booked quicker than a blink of an eye. Arriving in Zurich on Friday evening, we picked up a car on Saturday and drove the short one hour to a small town on the banks of a lake a short distance from Lucerne. Living in the industrial heartland of Germany, this is another world for us. Clear blue waters, lush green mountains, typically Alpine architecture - it has it all. It was all very "Heidi" for us and I was enthralled with the place.

It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and talk about old times as well as what life has dealt us over the intervening years. There was an awful lot of laughter and fun and we said over and over that we could not believe it was "10 YEARS!"

So many changes and so much has happened and yet, we hardly stopped chatting the whole time. It felt good and we were so comfortable together. It was just a lovely weekend. Fresh mountain air did a good job of blowing the stresses of recent days away, even if only for the time we were there.

Feeling inspired and ready to create.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

50 Challenge - # 2

50 is a large number! Two down and 48 to go. Maybe I should do some cards to make a dent into the number?

But this was a layout I wanted to do so I am happy to see it on paper. The culture shock of moving out here to the "country" has been very dramatic. Living in the city, we were always so surprised how quiet it was there and very often, we would look out of the window to see if anyone was on the streets because it was just too quiet. Sure we had some evenings where there were groups of people have a bit too much of a good time on the street below and the singing of the local pizzeria owner a few buildings away got a bit painful at times, but this is nothing compared to the noise here!

It's harvest time and we have watched (and most definitely heard) tractors and combine harvesters trundle past our flat at all times of the day and night over the last few weeks. As early as 5 or 6 and as late as 1.15 which is certainly something new. And the church bells... at least I hardly need a watch anymore!

And let's not talk about the rich, country smell that wafted over the village at the weekend...

Happy hump day.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A New Challenge

I am a typical type A personality who works really well with goals and therefore also challenges. I have featured several of them over the months and recently I was browsing my favourite blogs and came across a challenge (here) that I think would really be good for me.

Since packing and unpacking all those boxes, I have realised (as if I didn't know!) that I have way too much stash.

I mean WAAAAAY too much stash.

I could probably scrap for 10 years without buying much more than a bit of adhesive and maybe a sheet of cardstock or two. It's scary. And a bit embarrassing!

So when I read on Gretchen's blog that she has set herself the challenge of producing 50 items (layouts, cards, tags, altered items etc) before buying any new stash, I decided to jump on board.

50 is a lot I know. But I think that I'd like to make some cards to keep in store and let's face it, it's never too early to start with the Christmas cards. I think, for me, 50 could be realistic.

I don't buy stash very often, I am more of a binge shopper, so if I get moving on this idea, maybe I can have a bit of a splurge before Christmas!

Are you up for the challenge? Libby? What about joining in?

I started by grabbing something off the shelf to use on a layout about my lack of height (!) and was horrified to see that it was a kit - totally intact and unused - from more than two years ago. I mean, that's not right is it?? My plan is to attack these kits I have lying around, making one or two things from each before breaking up the kits into the rest of the stash.

I want to feel that I can buy some new stuff without the guilt of unused stash bearing down on me (use me, use me!).

So, who's going to join me?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Back in the scrapbook saddle

I find it hard to believe that it's actually about 6 weeks since I last found the opportunity to scrapbook. Hard to believe that I didn't find time to look at photos, print anything off or even take photos every day. Hard to believe that I didn't make the time to sit and think about inspiration for future pages. But it's true which is a bit of a shame.

I was proud to remember to take photos on the 12th July and then again last week. And it was good to realise that July was a Sunday which meant a slightly different routine and then last week, it fell on the day that Ted and I took a day off to do some sight seeing. Not regular work days which means that the photos, while a little uninspired due to a lack of mojo, were different from normal work days.

And then yesterday I managed to sit down and lo and behold, the first layout after all this time was produced. It made me happy! So today I did the same. And I am smiling as I look at my two 12 on 12 layouts.

Back in the driving seat? I hope so!

Friday, 14 August 2009


I'm a bit of a flake. Most people who know me would agree.

I often make mountains over molehills and worry about the worst when there is nothing to show that it is likely to happen. And I get stressed. A lot.

Which is why the word of the year, "calm", is so appropriate for me. And I promise that I tried really hard during this move to stay level and calm and just to go with the flow. But it wasn't easy. And I didn't always manage it. And I often got run over by that train thinking it was the light at the end of the tunnel.

And I know that I only have me and R to think about and I know that Libby made her last move heavily pregnant (HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!?) but for me, it was hard. I "gave up" so often, sinking into bed convinced that I would never make it and that we would never climb out of the pit! (Yes, all very melodramatic!)

It's been a hard 4 weeks!

But of course, it is only Ikea screws and packing boxes and the home we have moved to is definitely taking shape.

And the old home we had has most definitely fallen apart.

We went from this in our old flat:

Via this chaos at the height of the packing:

To this sad and empty flat...

The plants are waiting to be collected and I miss them. There is still work to be done here with repainting and some serious cleaning (too scary for words when all the furniture gets moved out.) so that we can hand it back.

But of course on the other side we went from this at first viewing:

Via this with painting and balcony furniture delivery (exciting for us as it's our first balcony) underway:

To a freshly painted flat just waiting for us to move in:

And then the night we moved in. Poor Ted wondered what he'd let himself in for when he first arrived and saw this:

But it began to take shape quickly thanks to all hands on deck:

And this last weekend we were straight enough to welcome guests over for drinks:

I know that at some point in the future we will move again, but right now I am SO relieved to be in and I am not sure I can face another packing box (although I do have a few left to unpack in the kitchen...)

What's being going on with you over the last four weeks?


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