Archive for March, 2009

Silicon Heaven..they use lots inside second hand cars

Saturday night

What a roller-coaster of a day! I decided yesterday, that today would be the day we buy a car, and it was, at last. We’ve only been looking for about 2 months (yep, it really is that long), and I realised that what we have been waiting for will never come, that is basically a car with enough wellie to tow a small caravan (oh the shame), with a lowish mileage, in good condition and at a cheap enough price. Well, I got fed up of dodging the flying pigs so today we went to see the 4 cars that we’d earmarked as real possibles. After finding that 2 of them had been sold this morning (out of the hundreds of cars they hold at Jeffries Farm – how is that possible?) and dismissing the 3rd as in poor condition, we headed on over to an independant dealer to view the 4th car on the list. Oh what joy, fantastic condition, nearly top of the range but not with the price tag to reflect that, especially compared to all the other tat we’ve seen (and yes, I do mean ‘other tat’ not ‘others that’). So……the deal is done, and we can finally say that we’ve come of age because we’ve bought a proper all-growed-up car rather than an old banger kindly offered to us by friends.

It was all rather exciting today, however the dampers were chucked on us when we got home as my computer crashed yet again in Firefox, and it turned out to be a nasty virus that I somehow caught somewhere. Fortunately my genius of a hubby, my uber cybergeek extraordinaire (otherwise known as CE or should that now be UCE?) has managed to sort it, obviously, or I wouldn’t be sat here blig bloging. I was starting to think that my poor little pooter had come to the end of it’s silicon life and was preparing to meet it’s chippy maker in the sky, and that we would have to fork out for another lip lappy top, in addition to the car (which we’ve just bought) and the washing machine that we haven’t ordered yet. Phew, thank you Dickie!

And so the perfect end to this unusual (yer, different…(See Kath & Kim)) day was watching the fabulous Annie Lennox singing with the BBC concert orchestra on BBC1. Pure class. I can go to sleep a happy woman. Night all.

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Another first

Thursday morning

What a gorgeous morning, again. I can’t wait to get out there and into my studio to enjoy making my handmade glass beads in the spring fresh air (7 deg C today). I seem to be waking up a bit better in the mornings now, this may be due to the earlier sunrise but Rick thinks it’s the start of my regular brisk walk, either way I’m feeling happier about not sleeping so much and having a bit more energy. Of course the other option could be the effect of Paul McKenna’s CD that I’ve started to listen to more regularly, after all he does say I will start to have more energy and that my ‘metabolic rate will increase now’. I always go tingly all over after that phrase. The other night I thought it would be relaxing to listen in bed before I went to sleep as he gets you completely relaxed, but it wasn’t a good idea as when it finished I felt really (and I mean REALLY) fidgety and awake even though I was mentally tired.

In my quest to walk regularly we went to the local shops and back yesterday for the first time ever since we moved here 9 years ago. I Googled it first to see how far it was and found that it was a weeny bit less than twice around the block, so that was it, we donned our rucksacks and headed for our local Co-op to buy 6 pints of milk,¬† some fruit and carrots (yep, all the heavy stuff) and walked home with it all. Now this may not sound very major to you, but for me it’s a breakthrough. I was very surprised at how close the shops were, only 10 minutes brisk walk, and will definately be doing this regularly, if not all the time, especially when I need to post out your bead orders. We’d always gone in the car as I though it was further than it really is. I must admit to being a bit niggled that I hadn’t realised just how close it was as I would have walked there during my recouperation instead of going around the block and exploring all the little side roads, although that was interesting, lol.

So now I have to make sure I do this regularly, and that I gradually increase the number and length of my walks until I can do 3 miles comfortably. I don’t believe this will be a problem now I know how far the shop is, as we often go there for milk, and I can stop by on my way home if I plan my routes well. I don’t want you to think I never walked at all since my op, but it has been only when I’m out for the day (which is not very often), for example we’ll walk from the top of the North Lanes in Brighton to the seafront and back when we go there, but it’s normally done over the course of several hours, wandering slowly from shop to shop.

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Walk walk walk

Tuesday morning

It’s time for me to start getting fit at last. After 15 years of virtual inactivity I’ve decided the time is right to get into shape, and what better way (and cheap)to do that than walking. Last year many of my friends did the Midnight walk for our local St Catherine’s Hospice, and my dream last year was to be able to join in this year if my new hip was up to it, but I haven’t done any training and feel that 13 miles may be too far at this stage, especially at night. So I’ve decided to try walking the Race for Life which is 5 kilometres and will give me a real reason to make sure I start walking seriously and regularly, and to steadily increase my distance.

So yesterday my daughter and I started our new regime of taking a brisk walk after school once the parents and toddlers were all out of the way. Not having a pedometer yet I endeavoured to count all my steps around the block and was pleased to find it is 1300, so twice around the block which we did yesterday was 2600, more than achieving my first goal of increasing my daily step count by 2000 steps. I think I must have had a serious look on my face as I walked as fast as I could counting all the time, while my daughter scooted on ahead.

I love walking so much, and have really missed not being able to go on rambles, brisk walks, or even short walks on holiday. I’m not really one for exercise, and the thought of going to the gym makes me shudder, but this I can do, and I’m so happy to be able to once again. I think this is what makes me want to walk for charity all the more, because I can now and am so grateful and still amazed that I’m so much better than I ever thought I would be. I seriously had no idea that having my hip replaced would get me back to my former self. I was just resigned to the thought that I’d always need my stick, I really wish someone had told me I wouldn’t need it and that I’d get my life back, as I would have had this done ages ago. Anyway, I’m digressing. Now all I need to do is try to go out for a walk at least 3 times a week, preferably everyday.

I’ve been having a quick look on t’internet for pedometers, and have browsed some interesting websites, but it’s so offputting! I found this chart that shows how much excercise you need to do to burn off certain foods and calories, and I have to say it’s really demoralising. I think it’s supposed to encourage, but frankly it all looks like such hard work. I’d much rather spend time listening to Paul McKennas CD again, I think I’ll stick to his thoughts of ‘moving my body more to supecharge my metabolism so I burn calories faster even while I sleep’, yep, that sounds like a plan to me! Sleeping and weightloss!

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Washday woes

Monday morning

Last week it was the boiler, which fortunately only needed a minor overhaul including it’s overdue service, this week it’s the washing machine, gahhhhh, and just when I was getting Mount Washpile under control. I suppose I should be glad that we don’t have various foothills already, but it won’t be long, and at least we have clean bedding already. I’m so good at shoving the changed stuff in the cupboard with the rest of the 60 deg wash items, that this year (again another resolution) I decided that I’d try to wash it the day after it comes off the bed. It hasn’t been the day after but within a few days, so I see this as positive improvement. So what about the machine? I really don’t know, it’s coming up for 13 years old, so hasn’t done too badly, but to repair or buy a new one? We’ll just add that to the list of other bits that don’t work in our house, like the shower (it’s OK we do wash, just have to use the cheap hose on the bath taps) and the cooker hood, which has this really flimsy plastic flange that snapped off and is part of the switch ….very poor design.

It’s finding time to look which could be tricky, as we can’t really hang around with this one, especially as I hate launderettes. This could be partly to do with the occasion as a student when every time I removed a pair of knickers from the washing machine and dryer, an old geezer sang ‘la da de da de da’. It obviously amused that pervert, lol. But seriously though, the hire machines just don’t wash very well, and I got really fed with my clothes smelling the same as they did before the whole process, which incidentally I also find very tedious, the fact you get stuck in the lauderette waiting for the washing and drying to be done. I suppose the upside is that you can people watch, but I’d rather be doing that whilst sunning myself on a foreign beach.

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New Beads for sale & I’m published!

Friday Morning

New beads are in my shop! I know, only one month after the last restock, that’s very good going for me, you see I can stick to my new year resolutions if I try. There’s a taster below to tempt you, so go shopping in my bead shop and grab yourselves your favourites before they go!

Ooooh, I nearly forgot, 2 more bits of news, firstly The Tempest Exhibition has started touring Europe, and is at Creative Glass in Zurich until 29th March, with further venues to be announced. Ten new artists work has been added and a new catalogue with these extra photos has been produced.

Second bit of news and the most exciting is that at last I have some beads published in one of the new Bead magazines available from newsagents and bead shops. The photo is my entry that I was designing last December for the competition in Beads & Beyond, and I’m really pleased to have it shown on Page 62 of the current April issue. I really don’t care if I win or not, although it would be nice to win, but my main reason for entering was to help increase awareness of our British Handmade Glass Beads, and also hopefully have my set in print and get a bit of free advertising, which it is, so woo hoo.

Here’s a taster of what’s new in my shop


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Zoom Zoom

Monday tea time

The police were out in force on the M25 today, doing their ‘lets drift along at 60 mph and see if anyone has the guts to overtake us’ thing. I passed (Yes, I have guts) 4 police cars en route today, I have to say I find it rather amusing the way all the speeders don’t even have the guts to legally overtake and go faster than the police. On the subject of cars, the boring search for our Mondeo replacement continues, it’s all getting rather boring now to be honest. We have looked at all sorts of MPVs and chosen a few that would do the job, but now it’s a case of waiting for the right make, model, engine size, age, mileage and of course price. Yawn. I think I know the medium size mpv market inside out now, and have a few favourites, but they’re just not coming up.

Back to Lost again this week, and another good episode aired, in which we found out a little bit more (sort of) about why there are Polar Bears on the island and saw Sawyer smiling a lot. I never knew the guy had dimples. He’s my favourite character, but got a little too neatly shaven in this last episode called ‘LaFleur’, he was also a bit serious. There was lots of going back and forth in 3 year intervals and I can’t wait to see how it all fits in with ‘the future’ since they’re all back in the seventies at the moment.

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Get ahead, get a box

Thursday morning

Oh I can hardly type, my fingers are starting to seize up I’m getting colder by the hour. What’s occuring? The boiler has gone kaput and not firing, just in time for the cold snap, would you believe. It’s 16 deg C where I’m sitting, maybe not that cold, but when you’re not moving around it seems too chilly. I think I feel the cold, I remember when I was doing my Mechanical Engineering course that we used to go into the Metrology lab which was a completely sealed and air conditioned room kept at 18 deg C and I was always freezing in there. Well it’s colder here right now. The good news is they’re coming tomorrow morning to get it sorted so that will be good. Speaking of temperatures, it was 3 deg in my studio when I popped out a moment ago to fire up the kiln, I know it will warm up when I get in there and switch on the heater and the torch, I think in fact I’m looking forward to getting outside to warm up!

On another note I was so pleased with myself last night I could hardly get to sleep even though I was shattered as usual. Hmmm, how sad, and all over getting my show stuff and our huge cupboard organised. You know how it is, you start off small, then over the years get more equipment for your stall, first the fake shelf, then the lights, then other different sizes and makes of boxes to put jewellery stands and other bits in, and so it goes on over the years (9 of them) just evolving and turning into a total eclectic mishmash of an untidy bunch of boxes that have to be put in all sorts of different places in the cupboard and the car to fit, and that have to be pulled out of the cupboard every time Rick needs something of his. Well no more. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been popping into our local Staples to choose different Really Useful Boxes and see which shape best suits my application and at last I have the problem solved. Last night I knuckled under and we pulled everything out and repacked it, and ta da, what a difference. My gear is now all in one (yes, only one) single very neat stack of boxes all on top of a 35 litre box, and yes, bar 2 boxes they’re all the same footprint. I’ve also worked out how I can replace my sneaky shelf prop tins (4 large Family Circle biscuit tins I had given that took up oodles of space in storage) with the much smaller Pencil boxes also made by Really Useful Products Ltd. these stack and give me 4 different height options whilst also containing my beads for sale, which I obviously have to pull out and put somewhere while I set up my stall, but I have that planned too.

You know whilst all this may sound boring, or exciting if you’re a tidy freek, you may say why didn’t I do this before? But life happens, things change slowly and you don’t necessarily realise things need changing in one go for the better. I only happenend to realise I needed a change a couple of weeks ago when for the umpteenth time poor Rick had to pull everything out and it made a huge mess all over the lounge floor yet again. So there we have it, next time you see us setting up at a bead fair we will have our new minimal sleeker stack of stuff. And hopefully I won’t let lots of other thing gradually change for the worst, we all know what happened about my hips. I shall be trying to keep a closer eye on life.

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Get ahead……so far so good

Tuesday morning

What a wet day, it’s been so dry lately I was almost thinking it was time for Rick to give the lawn it’s first haircut of the year. At least if it’s wet it can’t be so cold as it was a month or so ago, although they are predicting another cold snap for the weekend, which is a bit annoying as I was thinking we could make a start clearing out the garage.

The kiln is on and heating up (8 deg C today in the studio) and I have yet to don my thermals and stuff, although I haven’t need the long johns for a week. In store for today I’m planning to continue making handmade glass beads for my jewellery range ready to make more pieces to top up my Surrey Guild cabinet, and hopefully make a stock of jewellery ready for the forthcoming Open Houses. I’m also starting on my beads for the Dorking bead fair and to put in my webshop. I’m absolutely determined to try and get ahead this year while things are a bit quieter as I hate the stress and last minute rush of preparing for fairs and shows, and I want to try and avoid this as my fairs seem to be at the end of weeks off school and during our summer holiday season, which is rather unfair on our daughter if I have to sit and work when we could be doing fun stuff together at home. How long I’ll stay ahead will be seen, I really hope some other problem doesn’t rear it’s ugly head this year, we could really do with a break from dramas.

On a lighter note I was relly pleased yesterday to actually achieve making almost an inch of a chain linkage that I’ve liked for a long time but never had the time or decent instructions on how to make it. The chain in question is Jen’s Pind and makes a chunky looking but nicely articulated piece. Following the instructions every third link looked wrong, so I undid it and made the links look how I thought they should and hey presto, what a result. I now have to wind and cut more jumprings so I can continue the linkage and make either a necklace or bracelet or both. It really helps to get the ratio of wire diameter to ring diameter¬† correct, as I had tried it out using cheap wire available that was the wrong ratio and the whole pattern just didn’t work.

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