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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Not All Changes Are Bad

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It's amazing how much the world has changed over the last two hundred years (no, I haven't been around that long personally)...mostly it's for the better. How often have you heard the older generations talk about how much society has gone wrong and how things have changed...they have but not always in negative ways as they imply.

Imagine having no doctors, or no doctor who knew something about medicine. What would it be like to have no anaesthetics? I know one think for sure, I for one would have died if I had lived then. So many of us would have because of illness or the need for an emergency operation, diseases like diabetes or the often fatal child birth. Mothers and babies who survived the ordeal often had to face the fact that one in five children died before their fifth birthday and the mother still had to avoid Child Bed Fever. It makes me shudder just to think of it. Give me good anti and post natal care and hygienic conditions.

Mind you, we would all be much fitter having to walk most places or at best riding on horse back.....think how many of our muscles would be bulging!! Wash day would be literally that, an all day affair once a week, boiling the water and scrubbing the clothes. Oh yes and then wringing them all through the old mangle to get out the water. This delight would be followed by ironing day...warming the flat irons on the stove and changing them as they cooled. I think I'll just stick with the front loader and the steam iron!!

Working hours were longer, holidays none existent and travel was severely restricted for many...well, unless you got transported. No fast food or supermarkets, no fridges or vacuum cleaners...boy it must have taken for ever to clean and care for a house...and people say that women never used to work!!!! They did, but after they were married it was not for money, but to keep the family organised and fed. We think we have a hard job but it must have been a real slog then.

Having said all that, the past did have positive things too that are often difficult to find in our modern society. The sense of community was strong in general, families normally lived closer to each other before our high speed travel age. The average person belonged to a community and enjoyed the benefits of belonging and a sense of self. That to me would be something that would make a big difference to modern life but it doesn't really go hand in hand with our anonymous cities. People can go for years now and never get to know their neighbours beyond a quick hello in the street or on the stairs.

I would love to spend a day in the past but I would hate to stay there. It would be wonderful to see how people lived and how they coped with life's challenges..and there were many!! But I enjoy my life just where I am, the past sounds way to dangerous for a wimp like me...and cold...imagine, no heating!!! Worse still, when Winter came I would have to stay in the same clothes for most of the time until it got warm again..no showers, hair washing etc until Spring when I got a soak in the river or a tub. Just face and hands washed in a bowl...I would stink by March, well okay... before then. And can you imagine not brushing your teeth at all...yuck!! What a fortune deoderant salesmen would make if they could go back in time and offer their products!!

I deal in the past but when my sense of romance gets the better of me I think of how it really was and give thanks I was born when I was. Life today and society has problems..huge ones in fact but we at least have some say in trying to solve them by voting and voicing our opinions without fear.  We have a good chance of surviving to an old age and our children being healthy. All that is enough for me to feel grateful to be here now...not then.

So count your blessings and remember the past as it was not through rose coloured glasses!!

Well, enough of the rambling...I'm off. See you tomorrow with an other goody!!

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Monday, 30 March 2009

Ate a what?

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Do I look sorry?

 

I was going to blog about something intelligent and useful tonight...so that you would all start to think perhaps I wasn't totally insane...but... Charlie did it again!! He ate his bed!! Not a blanket..a bed, mattress, cover every thing.

Well, he didn't eat every last crumb of it, it was more a case of slash and rip...big time. This is the second bed in a month that he has demolished..two, soft comfy, warm beds!!!! Now he's got yet an other new one, a large molded rubber type bed with one confession to comfort in it...a  fleecy pad and that's it!!

It all started after I had taken him out for a walk and then settled down to work. Charlie got on his bed and seemed to snuggle down for a well earned rest...note "he seemed to" . I was just getting into my stride when I turned to check he was okay and there it was...a large white mass...eek!! He can not only rip zips, cloth and stuffing...but...he can do it silently.

I was cross!!! I grab the shredded mess and bundled Charlie into the garden...yes, before I murdered him!!! I cleared everything up in a large dustbin sack and called him back in, making sure he knew I was not amused...big time!!

I jumped in the car and headed for Pet City..yet an other bed was on the agenda. When I arrived I asked some advice from a friendly assistant who after discovering  he was 2 years old reassuringly advised me that it was doubtful that he would outgrow it. I was just unlucky to have a born chewer...just the sort of good news I wanted at that moment!!

A large molded rubber bed seemed the answer...it's rock hard and not easily chewed..or that's the theory!! I dragged this monster from the shop and tried to wrestle it into my car but the cars parked either side were too close to allow me to manoeuvre it in. Next I tried the tailgate, dropped the parcel shelf and tried to thread it in that way...the head rests were in the way and the stupid thing was too deep!!

At that point I decided to think laterally....if I reversed the car out of the parking space then I would be able to get it in the back door!!! Eureka!! So I put the bed down, climbed in the car, reversed out enough to clear the back door and jumped out. Where the heck was that bed? It was nowhere in sight!!!!

It's at this point that I could feel the breakdown coming on!!! Breath deeply, calm down...it can't have just gone!!

A man going back to his own car noticed me looking puzzled and muttering to myself and asked what the problem was. I explained that the dog bed I had just bought had vanished..gone, whilst I had been reversing out. He gave me a strange sort of a look and pointed down under the back of my car. "What this bed?" he asked.

There it was..in my rush I had put it behind the car and reversed...luckily I had gone straight back and there it was sitting there undamaged, hidden underneath. Be grateful for small mercies!!

I felt a complete fool!! Needless to say my thank you was a hasty one and I pulled the offending item out and shoved it in as quickly as I could and beat a hasty retreat!!! I will strangle that dog...an other fine mess he got me into!!

He spent the rest of the afternoon "helping" my DH with the garden...well out of my way!! Even there he just could not stay out of trouble and joined in with the digging!!

 

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"What you doing dad?"

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"Really...I can help.....I'm good at digging"

Today's freebie is a Quick Page, my gift to you. I have kept it simple to leave room for journaling or any other little extra touches you want to add. It's a 12inchx12inch, 300dpi, Png file.

 

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You can download it here

 

Have a great evening and stay away from dogs!!!

 

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Lights Out!!


Sign up for Earth Hour! - June Schutrups

Earth Hour 2009 - Sign up for Earth Hour!

 

Tonight at 8.30pm local time...where ever you are..... is Earth Hour when millions of people around the world will be turning off their lights for an hour. Global warming is and will increasingly in the future affect us all. This evening people have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming.

What could be easier than turning out your lights? Use the time for a gentle candlelit hour of calm and relax and bask in the gentle light, play some games with the kids, eat a special meal by candlelight....the possibilities are endless. Or if your tired out like me...have a nap, maybe even a very early night!!

I have to admit the even with the lights out in our house it is never really totally dark. There is so much light pollution in and around towns now which means real dark, dark is hard to find. I remember when I visited my parents several years ago in the country and needed the bathroom in the middle of the night...was it dark!! The only way I could find the light switch was to first find a wall and then work my way around the room fumbling along the wall until I got to the switch. That was dark!! I waved my hand in front of my face to see if I could see it and absolutely nothing....I could feel the slight movement of the air as a draught on my face but my hand was totally invisible. But believe me most places are just not that dark now even with the lights out.

So, think about this little planet we're all passengers on and switch those lights out tonight!! We need to realise that after us our children and grandchildren have to suffer the consequences of our actions with extreme weathers, flooding as the ice caps melt, crop failures...need I go on? There is no point in us personally nurturing and caring for our young and then bequeathing them a poisoned challis, which is what we are doing now.

Make your voice heard and TURN THOSE LIGHTS OUT at 8.30pm!! Take some action and let's face it...it won't hurt or cost you anything, in fact it will save you money..one hours lights energy costs!

The WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

The conference will determine official government policies in taking action against global warming and will replace the Kyoto Protocol. This a chance for people all around the world to make their voices heard!

So don't miss out, add your voice and make it count!!

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Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday and Commercial Use OK Day!

All's quiet on the western front...no cake disasters or newly sick people..that's some achievement! Hopefully I will get some work done this weekend and face next week a little more collected (well, I live in hope!).

Before I get onto the Friday freebie.....perhaps someone can help me with a little question that I have been asking myself. Why do men wake up looking the same as the night before but a lot of women...me included...seem to deteriorate during the night and it takes us a couple of hours to recover and get back to looking good, or in my case to looking human!!

At night I must lie on my face because when I wake up there are these mysterious crease marks all down it...and why won't my eyes open fully for at least 15 minutes? I fumble around and I swear that if anyone could see me they would think I was a very old lady or just plain hung over. I'm really not either but I temporarily look that way. It's a bit like Jekyll and Hyde.....at night someone else takes over my face and pulls it all out of shape. Believe me it takes a good helping of gravity, a lot of cold water and plenty of time before I can even think about putting makeup on!! Too early and it would be a disaster....like a kid let loose in the paint pot!! Is it me, my age or what?

I have to admit that when I have people staying or visit and stay over night the same holds true. There are exceptions that prove the rule and some of us ladies look stunning when they rise in the morning...how do they do that!!!!! One of these is my SIL..but she does spend an hour every morning when she got up locked in the bathroom..and NO ONE..but no one, can see her before she has had her bathroom time. So, my guess is that she is just like me...deteriorated in the night and spends the first hour putting it all back together.

Me...I don't lock myself in the bathroom I just give it time, about an hour....and then I start putting the bits back in the right place. It's easier that way because at least then my eyes are starting to focus again and the creases are fading.

It does how ever make me wonder about my original question....why do men look so normal in the morning? My DH looks like the same person when he wakes up...no strange night changes or creasing..so why don't I!!!! 

All wonder cures,  stunning tips or plain straightforward miracles gratefully received on this one!!

Now....

It's Friday and that's commercial use day! This week it's just a couple of simple journaling blocks in grayscale Psd and Png files plus 2 coloured examples. I hope you have fun playing!!

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You can download them here

 

Have a wonderful weekend and take care...especially at night!!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Cakes Like Mother Used to Make

A quick update on the lovely Lilly...she is doing well and had a better day today. Fingers crossed that she keeps going that way. Last night was a restless one but today looked more promising, or it did until I started baking.

I thought this afternoon I would try my hand at cake making...I'm good at bread and pastry but cakes I am not renowned for...well not for good ones anyway!! My cakes remind me of the old joke about the sign in the baker's shop window saying " Cakes like your mum used to make £2.00...Cakes like your mum THOUGHT she made £5.00"!! I always thought mine were OK but others held a different opinion on occasions.

I remember when Charlotte had to take a cake to school for a party and she begged me to let her grandmother make it!! The cheek!! Lol!

Anyway, I got out the scales and thought I would be accurate..for a change. I weighed and followed a recipe precisely, it was going to be perfect and all those doubters would literally eat their words.

My son came home and I was quite smug when he asked what the great smell was. I proudly announced that I had baked a cake.......his facial expression changed...was that panic I saw briefly flash in his eyes? Nah...it must have been surprise.

Fifteen minutes later I warily eased the tins out of the oven and saw the most gorgeous vision of well risen, nicely browned cakes...success, yahoo!! I had done it!! The perfect cakes and they were all mine!! My son had to admit that things were looking good...but he reminded me they looked good the day I made him a birthday cake too. (OK, the less said about that day the better!!)

By now the smell had aroused a bit of interest and the kitchen was starting to fill up. I strutted around looking a bit like a bantam hen. "Yes of course I had known it would turn out well. I used a recipe" I bluffed, at the same time saying a big thank you to the powers that be for letting it turnout so well.

I just could not wait for the cake to cool so I could get down to the nitty gritty and try it out and get everyone else to try it too....but eventually it was time. Drum roll, cymbals, fanfare etc and the cake was cut. I tried to look casual as I handed around the plates, one to DH, one to younger son, one to Charlotte and a little one for Lilly.

I waited, holding my breath.......the cake was still sitting on the plates and I could see them watching each other out of the corner of their eyes...who would be first? I thought I would encourage them by coaxing Lilly to try a little...well after all she had no bad memories of my cake making and she is so trusting. Her little face was turned up and her mouth was open..so I popped a mouthful in for her. It was like a mini volcanic eruption!!! The cake went in every direction as she gave a shudder and went "Yuck!".

That's all it took and every face filled with fear!! I could seem the "Oh my god...she's done it again look" as the plates went down and all eyes turned towards me. "It's good, really it is" I muttered. The only way forward was to take a bite myself. I did and "Yuck!" Lilly was right..it was ghastly..with a capital Y!!! Thank goodness Lilly had spat it out, it could have killed her!!

Was it my fault that the caster sugar turned out to not to be caster sugar.....it looked like it....it was where I expected it to be. How was I meant to know it was SALT!! Who put it there anyway, we don't use salt.

So, in a nut shell...it was a bin job, along with the cake tins...no more cakes for me!!Now I am keeping a low profile, a very low profile for at least the next few hours!!

Before I go I want to share two wonderful layouts that Leaonna and Linda sent me using the "It's Almost Easter" Page Kit...they really are exceptional, full of imagination and real talent. Thank you ladies for sharing them!!

Here's Leaonna's page. I love the tails on the chicks , the clever way she used the eggs..... and those corners are brilliant. So full originality and style!! A beautiful layout.

F-FrankKayleeleaonna

 Linda's has used the papers and the border to get some terrific matting on her page, it works so well and really draws the eye in to the photo. The eggs and bow are lovely touch too. A great page!!

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Well, that's all from me for tonight but see you all tomorrow. Don't forget Friday is a personal and commercial use OK freebie. I promise no more baking...well not cakes anyway!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

That Elusive Routine!!

This week has been life as usual for me.....sort of organised chaos!! I am desperately trying to get back on schedule and get some sort of routine going again....but you know how life is....the more you try to organise, the worse the chaos gets!

This week has been granddaughter week, I had to do some stuff for Emma on Monday and then Tuesday was Cheryl...but now the worst bit.....my poor daughter had such a fright when Lilly took sick at the beginning of the week. She developed a temperature which climbed rapidly and then she started fitting. Luckily for Lilly she has a very sensible mum, who got her to the hospital really quickly.

It turns out she has a severe middle ear infection and the high temperature made her fit. The poor little mite went down like a ton of bricks and from being OK she was really sick within a few short hours. The good news is that she came home yesterday evening with medication and is hopefully going to get well just as quickly as she got sick.

In the hospital she was so distressed and swung from screaming (with the pain I would imagine) to clinging onto her mum and softly singing in her own little language to her mummy. Lilly loves music and dancing and even when she's tired she sings. I must admit I found it really touching that when she was so sick she took comfort in twiddling mum's buttons and singing. She stayed awake for more than 24 hours and after that only napped in her mum's arms, lying down seemed to make her pain worse and so she didn't want to do it. Mother and daughter were both exhausted by last night!!

But today is looking brighter, she's home and she slept last night in short bursts. This morning she was up and about, her eating and drinking are still a problem and she is far from happy...but she is so much better and with the medication will hopefully be back to her old self soon. She and her mum are staying with us for a couple of days to give them both a rest...especially Charlotte!!!

Now, more about my "new routine" I'm going try to blog everyday with some chat, I always have so much to say, lol. Not all posts will have freebies...just boring old me. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be freebie days!!! Monday and Wednesday's freebies will be personal use and Friday will be personal and commercial use. Now I just have to get organised on it!!!

I'm starting my attempt with a personal use freebie because it's Wednesday...it is Wednesday isn't it...I'm not confused again am I? Lol! Today is a page kit called "Its Almost Easter", with chicks and eggs!!

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You can download it here

Well, I'm off to hopefully get Lilly settled down for a while. See you all tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Saturday

It's me again.......still barking away but feeling much better. Yet an other weekend has come around and with all this sun I will spend the day tomorrow in the garden. Monday is due to bring back the rain.....yet again!! So, I had better use my time and get on with repairing the damage that Charlie has done since he joined us. For Charlie the garden has two uses........the primary one being to see how many of his toys and stuff he can bury when no one's looking and the secondary one is to run like a maniac!! He is still trying to workout why we have placed those damned bushes in his way!!

Today I have laughed so much my sides hurt......why all this manic laughter? I bought a joke book!! Me......a joke book!! I'm the sort of person who buys non-fiction and some novels......joke books.......bah!! But, I was in the bookshop and why I don't know, I picked one up and before I knew it I was sniggering..yes, sniggering out loud!!

I would quote some of them but I'm afraid it would make me seem juvenile if you knew the stupid sort of joke that appeals to my sense of humour. I don't do complicated......plain stupid jokes work for me. Mind you, ask me to repeat a joke and I ruin it...I always get the punch line in the wrong place or I forget a vital part...perhaps it's me that's stupid...not the jokes, lol!!

What with sunshine and jokes combined I have chuckled and coughed my way through most of the day. I got so full of hilarity at one point that my poor DH didn't know if I was having a really good laugh or a medical emergency!!

OK, enough of me having my funny bone tickled and on to scrapbooking! I'm afraid that this sun has really got me stuck in the Spring rut good and proper....today is some flowers. Yes, I know there aren't many out yet here in England but I can imagine can't I? These flowers say everything that I feel at this moment and they say it so beautifully.

You can use these for either personal or CU use. They are coloured...no grayscale I'm afraid...I feel much to sunny for that!! Have a look see.

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You can download them here

Have a wonderful weekend...and stay safe!! See you Monday..perhaps I'll have finished my joke book by then...it's a thick book!!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Woof Woof!!

You'll be please to hear that my razor throat is much better, I just sound husky and interesting now...but my cough!!! I sound like a dog!! (OK, so I look like one too!)

Charlie has had a hard few days as he is totally confused and upset that I open my mouth and this awful noise comes out. I am sure he thinks I'm trying to bark!!

When it first started he rushed around looking worried every time I made that "nasty noise"..but as the cough worsened he changed to upset....then he started barking along with me. It must have looked like a bad comedy film with me doubled up coughing, him rushing around and barking and everyone falling over each other.

At the moment he is lying there watching me....just daring me to bark!!! When I do he will immediately join in. Perhaps he thinks I'm trying to learn his language...but badly!! If that's the case then he certainly would not make a patient teacher. His rushing around and barking seem to me as if he's saying "No! Not like that...like this....your accent is awful!!". I can imagine his frustration that I'm  such a bad pupil...a bit like my French teacher was at school.

On Monday I tried a day at a reference library, the idea being I would do some research work...wrong!! It didn't take me long to workout that my fellow researchers did not appreciate my breaking the hallowed silence. The silence was such you could cut it with a knife....until I arrived. Then woof, woof, woof....no I didn't take Charlie!! It was me on my warm up routine. All eyes swivelled in my direction in hostile glares. I tried to look like it wasn't me...but this awful noise just kept jumping out of my mouth!! No matter what I did it stopped for a while and then........ROAR!!!

I do eventually know when I'm beat so after several attempts at silence I decided to give them peace and came home to some hot lemon and honey.

Now the real news.... the sun has shone here for three days! Yep, three!! It has been beautiful and shows me that Spring has started..thank goodness. I hate the Winter with  all that darkness and cold.

To celebrate I made two "hand painted" papers (I only did two as they take so long!). They remind me of the forest floor when Spring arrives, dotted with new colour and life. They may not be every ones cup of tea but I love them!!

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You can download them here

I'm still chasing for votes..so click the icon at the top right of the page and go click the thumbs up to vote if you like it here!! You can vote once every 24 hours too!! OK, I know.....I'm cheeky!!

Have fun and see you soon! Hopefully I'll have stopped barking by then!!!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Keep Fit..Some Hope!

Recently I had been thinking about doing something to get fit for Summer...but it has gone out of my head at the moment. I have caught my son's razor throat bug, the sort that gives you a sharp stab every time you breath through your mouth or swallow. It doesn't help that it comes with a cough too..why can't he keep things to himself!! Does he give me his lottery wins..no...but germs...yes, quite freely. I think I'm going to invest in some of those disposable face masks and wear them when someone in the house gets sick....scary or what!!

When I was a child I can remember the famous (well he was then) Dr Kildare that my mum used to watch on TV. She used to think I was in bed but I used to creep downstairs and peer through the half opened door. I always wanted one of those surgical masks, I thought I would look so glamorous in one, don't know quite why I thought that. Perhaps it was the idea of covering up half my face...it could only improve things. Maybe I should indulge in my youthful fantasy and wear one when the germs are bouncing around our house.......I could look glamorous (as if) and stay safe.

Can you imagine the postman's face if I greeted him looking like I was just about to operate? I think I could put a camera to good use then, lol. Perhaps I should get a set of scrubs to go with it....that really would be indulging myself!!! It could also lead to people in white coats visiting me!!! So, I think I'll give it a miss...but I can dream can't I.

So as I'm not fit...I'll leave the keeping fit until a later date!! If I find a good keep fit idea I'll let you know.

It does mean that this weekend will be a quiet one (did I really tempt fate and say that?). Lilly will be staying away because we don't want her catching any nasty bugs, plus her mum is studying for her final exams and being sick just now is definitely NOT on her agenda. Mind you it wasn't on mine either, lol.

That means I can either play catchup as usual, or rest....my money is on the catchup!! It's not as if I can sleep, I have enough trouble doing that at night let alone in the day. Can you do catchup slowly? I could give it a try.

Before I go here's the download link for a gift...from me to you. As I'm sure most people will agree, making bows digitally is tricky..to say the least. I didn't want to scan any..I wanted to make some from scratch. This is what I came up with. I still need to work on it technic a bit but their not to terrible.......I hope!

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You can download the bows here

Before I go.....you may have noticed a new icon in my sidebar near the top. It's for people to click and vote for Cen's Loft in this months Blog Interviewer contest. So if you like it here ....then give it a click and read my interview and VOTE for me!!! You won't get me as President or Prime Minister...promise, you'll just help me get votes. How's that for vote begging, lol!!

Well, I am off to feed Charlie before he chews the leg off the dining room chair...he's looking at it and thinking it might taste good.! Take care and enjoy.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

4Shared Worries - Internet Safety

I had to slot in this extra post today as I noticed several comments about 4shared, here on the blog and posted around the Internet. Lots of people are worried about picking up a virus or Trojan from downloading via 4shared. So, I decided to try find out a little more about the problem, because no one wants a nasty little monster creeping around their computer!!!

First though let me say that we should NEVER depend on luck to keep our computer safe...that's what Virus scanners are for. It's up to us all to have an antivirus program protecting our PCs and to make sure that we keep it current with regular updates. Your antivirus program should do this automatically for you, as long as you have your computer on each day.  Make sure it is scheduled to do this daily.

It doesn't matter what sites you visit...you need protection at all times on the Internet!! So do a regular scan of your PC to make sure that you catch everything that tries to sneak through. There is no point in having the software if you don't use it correctly, so don't get fed up when the scan is running because it's slowing down your surfing...just let it do it's job and don't click the Cancel button!!

Now, back to 4shared!! The problem appears to be not from the files you are downloading, they get scanned first, but from the download pages that have advertising on them. It looks like some lovely little tike is having fun planting and playing on these.

It seems that the problem on 4shared comes from the pages with ads etc where you click and then wait several seconds for the download. You know, you click to download and then it takes you to a new page which counts down the seconds before you can download the file you want. The idea being that then you see the ads whilst you wait.

My downloads are direct, meaning you don't go to a 4shared page but get a small popup box to download from there. This is only available if you have a subscription to 4shared though. You never go to a 4shared download page to wait. But I do understand peoples concerns in not downloading my files.

How large the problem really is, is impossible to guess. It only takes a few posts in forums or blogs and news travels like wild fire so that it seems huge, often it's not.

Something we all should do is develop good habits when download files. Make a quarantine folder and always download all files into it. This means you can scan them again before you unzip or move them to where you want on your hard drive.  A bit more work I admit but I believe in belt and braces here...you can never be too cautious. Do this with ALL files you download no matter where they are from...yes even mine!!

But remember viruses can get you anywhere, anytime, any place...so to increase you chances of staying safe always:

  1. Make sure that you have a good antivirus program installed on your computer and keep the program  up dated.
  2. Scan you system regularly for any nasties, once a week at least do a full scan.
  3. NEVER open up any popup windows that offers to scan your system that just appear.
  4. NEVER open a file or unzip a file you don't recognize.
  5. Take extra care or avoid sites that are known to be laden with viruses or malware, such as Facebook or My Space. (Sorry folks it's true, my kids used to get them regularly from these!!)
  6. Make a "quarantine file" for your downloads and always scan zip files before you open or move them.

If you follow the basic rules it won't guarantee you always stay clean but it will certainly help cut down on the chances of catching something nasty out there!!

Having said all that...don't become paranoid..there are lots of wonderful places awaiting you on the Internet that are safe. It's just a case of using common sense measures to try to lower the chances of catching a virus...a bit like a flu jab to help lower the odds of us getting the flu in Winter!!

Stay safe and I hope this helped.

Monday, 9 March 2009

As One Door Opens An Other Closes

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Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth...or would it?

Never was a saying so true as this one is in my house at the moment. When the cat comes in the front door..the shout goes up "CLOSE the doors, the cat's in!" and panic stations!! I scrabble across the floor, slam the door shut..... not daring to look behind me to see if I'm one step ahead of Charlie. Tigger then eats his food in peace, has a wander and either goes out or back to his bed......or that's what's happens most of the time!

We also have a stair gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep Charlie down and more to the point...to remind him to stay away from the cat!!! The cat loathes him with a vengeance!! Tigger has "his own room" now, upstairs...he has since the dreaded dog arrived. His  hammock is slung on the radiator in my husbands little office..his own private boudoir away from the cares of the world (the cat's that is not DH's, lol)...and of course away from the dreaded Charlie.

But...a failure to close the door on time spells disaster...Charlie skids and slides down the hall looking for that lovely little fur ball to play with...he adores Tigger! Tigger at this point is normally minding his own business, tucked away in the corner under the stairs in the hall. Until ....he hears the skidding and scrapping on the tiled floor...and then...the fur and tail shoot up.....just before he leaps the stair banister and flies like a maniac up the staircase.

The only problem is that Charlie is almost as fast, well faster than me anyway!! He does a racing turn at the bottom of the stairs and takes the stair gate in one leap!!!! I Charlie you KNOW that's wrong!!! But in the heat of the moment he thinks his best friend is playing and he is not going to be left out..not him. When will he get the message that he is NOT the cat's best friend...more like an unwanted neighbour, no more like a hated neighbour!!

By this point I'm trying to open the gate and shouting at the top of my voice at Charlie.....why I don't know, it is a complete waste of time, he's gone deaf..again!!

When I do catch up with him he's normally standing back jumping around, ducking and diving at Tigger, tail wagging ten to the dozen. The cat however, is not amused and has his claws ready to swipe that nasty great dog on the nose if he comes within range. If I'm not fast enough then all I hear is the yelp as Tigger whacks Charlie sharply across the nose....and I mean sharply, claws and all. This normally makes Charlie back off...well, move one step back at least.

The whole episode ends with Charlie being firmly taken back downstairs by a stone faced me, to spend the next hour surrounded by stony silence. At this point he normally just goes to sleep until all the hue and cry has died down and to save his energy for the next playtime opportunity.

It's amazing, the stair gate works to keep him downstairs most of the time as he understands that he is not allowed past it. That is unless the cat runs up stairs and then the chase is on, he just can't control himself.

So you can imagine what it was like at the weekend when you added Lilly into the equation....total chaos!! I closed the door and Lilly opened it, Charlie escaped and the cat ran. Lilly was as bad as Charlie, she laughed and laughed to watch them and I think she thought that it was all for her benefit!! She, of course loves Charlie and Tigger and so she really believes it's their playtime and Grandma is a spoil sport not letting them run riot!!!

The good thing about it all was her laughter, it was just like music, so happy and sure that the world was a good place and that these to hooligan animals did really love each other...it was just a game....for her benefit of course...or so she thought. Oh, the innocence of little ones....if only it were true!!!

Before I go I have some grungy papers...not all dark and grungy, more like a Spring time grunge of lighter colours.

jsch_springrunge_folder

You can download them here

I'm of to make sure the doors are well and truly shut...or the cat is out!! So take care and have a great day/evening!!

Friday, 6 March 2009

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That!!

Today's post is just that, a real mixed bag. There is a freebie thrown into the mix, but it's at the end of the post so you either have to scroll fast or read to reach it.

This veritable hotch potch of this and that is just how I like things...mix them up and stir with a stick! It takes me back to my childhood and mud pies!! (An other thing my mum hated me doing..messy!)

I mentioned in my last post that when I was a child I painted my face as a clown...but it wasn't this good!!! Maryse sent me this fantastic photo of her as a clown for her local school village carnival. You look gorgeous Maryse!!! I am envious..perhaps I should have an other go...I could hide some of my wrinkles!! Thanks so much for sharing it, it made me smile and smiles are a touch of sunshine on a wet day.

maryse-clown

 

One of the things I have got behind with is posting the awards that kind people have passed to me.  I apologise to those lovely ladies for my lack speed.  I will endeavour to catchup but you know me...I talk way too much..too much talk, not enough action!!

For today I want to start by thanking Swapna from Crafts and Cooking and also the 3 Scrapbook Ladies for passing me the Friendship Blog Award.

 

friendsaward_3srap_swapna

Here's what the "Let's Be Friends" Award represents:


"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Thank you so much ladies for thinking of me!! I pass it to:

Ikea Goddess

Stellarific Creations

The Country Cellar

From A Yellow House In England

Scrappy Mommy

Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Digiscrap Designs by Lorie

Stories in Hand

Now....

I couldn't resist showing you this layout with Lilly that I made. I love the colours and the paint effect in the paper from Maryse at Mumure Scrapattaque. I was lucky enough to get this kit as a gift from her and it has so many cute graphics and papers that I have yet to use. It's ideal for Winter photos and so much more.

lilly_sugar-and-spice

Credits:

Kit Frozen love by Mumure, Folded Frame by Cen's Stuff, Font Jandles.

How about this for a great page. Chris from Bling-kin-eck is all organised for Mothers Day....it's 22 March here in UK. I love the soft fresh feel of this page. It really reflects the Spring, a time of year that I love. She has so many beautiful craft things on her blog it's like an Aladdin's Cave of ideas.

Mothersday

Credits:

Springtime Blog Train Kit and A Little Love by Cen's Stuff, Font Sandy TxtHmk.

I know by now your asking yourselves "When is she going to stop rambling?".  I know, so I'll put away my stirring stick and stop playing with the mud..and cut to the chase!!

I have a folded frame freebie for you that I hope you like and can find a little corner for in your stash. I love making these!!

 

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You can download the folded frame here

That's all for today folks, but drop by tomorrow because there is so much more to tell!!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Making Blinkies

Last week Mira of Scrappy Mom asked me how you made blinkies so I have done this tutorial to explain how I make mine. We all love blinkies and making them is not so hard as you think. For ages I thought they must be so hard to do.....but they're not. If you can do a layout then you can make one of these!!!

Later next week I'll do tut on how to put your blinkies in Blogger with a link.

Basically you are working with layers as you do on a payout but on a smaller scale. How many layers you work with depends on how you want your blinkie to look. I'm sure that my way is not the only way but it works for me.

Basically you need your normal graphics package to make the layout of the layers that make up the blinkie and also an animation software package to bring it to life. If you don't have animation software in your package there are some great free ones out there that you could use. Or try a trial from people like Ulead Gif Animator they offer a 15 free trial...plenty of time to practice your blinkie skills, lol!! (No, this is not an advert!!!)...or Google "Free Animation Software" and see what it comes up with.

I have written the tutorial using CS2 but you can use the same principles in the software you use.

There is a a download link at the end in case you prefer printing the tut instead of reading it from here. So lets get started.

1. Blinkies can be any size, but they do need to be small and the resolution should be 71 dpi for the Internet.

I want a finished blinkie that will be 150 pixels x 50 pixels, 72 dpi.

This is a very small size to work on screen with so I am going to start with it a bit bigger and reduce it down to 150 pixels x 50 pixels at the end.

image

 

2. So that we can see what were doing lets make it "Fit on Screen".

image

Now we are ready to play!!

I'm going to keep mine simple but once you get the idea you can make yours as fancy as you want with loads of layers.

3. For the first layer pick the colour you would like as the background and using the paint bucket fill the layer.

Next I opened the file with one of the trees from the freebie Springtime Blog Train Kit. (If your going to use elements that you have always, remember to reduce the dpi to 72 and make sure that the size is reduced to scale with the blinkie size.) Plus check the TOU of the designer to make sure it's OK to use.

I reduced the tree to 71dpi and then the size to 216x199 as my starting point. (Don't panic because it looks blurry at this stage.)

 image

Now drag the tree/element to the blinkie file, don't forget to hold down the shift key. The tree will be in it's own new layer above the colour layer.

As you can see the tree is still too big so using Edit>Transform>Scale I have resized it down till I get it to the size I want.

image

Like this.

image

4. Every layer of the blinkie needs to have a solid background colour or paper. These are normally the same for each layer, but you can make them different if you want...it's up to you. I am using the same colour through out.

So we need to merge the solid colour and the tree to make our first blinkie layer. To do this click on the colour layer and hold down the CTR key, then click on the tree layer. this will make them both active.

Now press CTRL + E, to merge the two layers. Nnow have one layer with the tree and the colour.

5. Text layers work well in blinkies, so I added a new layer of the solid colour and then a text layer. When I had the text how I wanted it I merged the colour and the type layers.

image

For my next layer I did exactly the same as for the first layer but moved the position of the tree and changed the colour of it to pink.

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Okay I only have three layers...rather a sorry little blinkie!! But you can add as many layers as you want to your, but by now you have the basic idea.

Here's what my Layers Palette looks like, I have named the layers so that I know what each one is. It helps when everything is so small and we do need them in the right order or the blinkie will "blink" in the wrong sequence.

image

6. When you have finished adding layers the image size needs reducing down before we continue.

Go to Image>Image Size

image

Reduce the size to 150 pixels x 50 pixels, keep at 72dpi and we're ready to animate!!

image

A word of warning!!! Make sure you save your blinkie at this stage as PSD file. If you decide that you want to make changes later it would be awful to have to start from scratch!!

7. Now click on the icon to edit in image Ready or Ctrl+Shft+M.

image

Your screen in Image Ready should look something like this.

 

image

 

8. Make sure the first layer of your blinkie is the active one and then click the little eye next to the other layers to hide them.

image

9. Move to the Animation Palette where you will see you have your first frame (layer) showing. Now we need to add the next frame. Click on the small arrow in the top right of the Animation Palette and pick New Layer.

image

 

Next make the second layer in your Layers Palette active by clicking on the layer and then on the little eye to reveal it again. The will add the layer as a frame in the Animation Palette and so you have two!!

 image

10. Repeat this process until you have added all of your layers as frames into the Animation palette .

11. We need to set the time that each frame will show for before the next frame appears. I am going to set mine to 0.5 second. To do this move to the first frame and click the arrow in the bottom left corner and pick the delay time you want.

image

Do this for all the frames. Normally I set them for the same amount of delay but again that's up to you.

To see what you blinkie will look like working, press the play button and it will run through the sequence for you.

image

Assuming your happy with it we need to save it. It's important that the file is saved as a GIF. So make sure that you change it if it's on JPG.

image

Click on GIF and use the following settings to optimise it.

image

Save it as File>Save Optimised As and name your blinkie and click OK.

Now you have a blinkie.... but to use it you need to upload it to the place Internet where you store your images, somewhere like Photobucket.

When you have it upload you can copy the URL and past it into your signature in Forums etc.

 

 

Boy that was a LONG post!!!

I hope you could follow it and please feel free to download the PDF to use as you do make it. Any questions email me and just ask.

***If you want to know how to add a blinkie to Blogger then check back next week for a tut on how to do it.

 

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Painting Play Time

First let me apologise to Verabear......I will post a blinkie tutorial...but I had to post this first!! I have had such enjoyment from an other painting session that I just HAD to show you and share!!

I decided to make some brushes from flower pictures that I took in my garden last year and with that idea...the die was cast, an other after noon was gone. I started, made the brushes..but... the painting the flower was not as easy as it sounded. That is to paint with them and get a flower with any definition that didn't look totally flat.

I made pancake flowers, squishy flowers.....unrecognisable flowers...okay, you get the picture. Then I just when I thought I would call it a day I had a Eureka moment..it just clicked...from there on in I just played and tweaked things.

I know they are no Mona Lisa but there mine!!! I feel a real sense of achievement that I seem to have cracked it...well, at least until I want to do some more, lol. My DH even thought they were photo's. Okay, I admit it, he didn't have his glasses on at the time but he was still impressed.

A good thing about digital painting too is that you stay clean. As a child I loved painting and crayoning..my mum preferred me using the crayons as when ever I painted it was me and the paper. Most of the time I got more than the paper!! Me, I think it was really an art form...moving pictures and all that. I used to wonder what my hand would look like...say red. So, I painted it red to see.

One time after I had been to the circus, I thought I would love to see how I would look as the clown...so....yep, red nose, white face, black cross over the eyes..the works!! I thought I looked fantastic and I had remembered exactly what the clown looked like. My mum on the other hand was really unreasonable!! She was mad...I never could work out why. Instead of hailing me as SO clever...she got cross and WASHED IT OFF..none to gently either!!

I felt really aggrieved and in fact I remember thinking "What did I do now?". Yes, I had been told not to paint on myself but to me....if it was okay for the clown  then it was good for me. Wrong!!

But I digress!! Here are the flowers I made and I decided to share with you lovely people...if you like them. I do except that I'm biased and that I saw the early ones, lol. So these have got to look good to me after them!!!

They can be used for personal or commercial use, that's fine by me.

jsch_brushflowers_folder

You can download the flowers here

So have fun and see you tomorrow with the tutorial.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

It's the Spring Blog Train!!

As promised..I'm back with my part of the Springtime Blog Train. Don't forget to check the blog list below and pay the other lovely ladies a visit to collect the their parts of this great collaboration.

I'll make this post short but I can report that I have stayed out of trouble..no Ikea (that's next week!) or dog chasing. I have been so good it hurts!!! But the day is young..who knows.

At the moment I'm looking for a magic wand that will turn me into a Layout and Preview Queen, but like all impossible things it seems to be elusive!! So for now I'll have to make do with my own sort of mix and match preview. When I make a kit I always seem to end up getting different colours to the ones I started with..it's a skill, or so I tell myself. I begin with a palette and then by the time I finish blending and playing....I end up with an other one!!! I really must try and concentrate and curb the "playing" bit.....as if I could that's where the fun is!!!

But for now here's my part..strange but then...that's me to a tee!!

jsch_springtime_folder

You can download my part here

Now drop by and visit the others!!

DESIGNERS
http://jaxv378.blogspot.com/
http://jamiedellscraps.blogspot.com/
http://kezcreates.blogspot.com/
http://kreationsbykimberlyrae.com/blog/
http://scraps-by-jayaprem.blogspot.com/
http://army88mwife.blogspot.com/
http://chingjp.blogspot.com/
http://censloft.blogspot.com/
http://jaelop.blogspot.com/
http://annamaria323designs.blogspot.com/
www.dodiegonzales.blogspot.com

 

Enjoy your weekend and be good!!!