Saturday, 24 December 2011

Homemade Lego Advent Calendars

I wanted to do something special for Graeme for the run up to Christmas and had read online about a special Lego Star Wars advent calendar which I knew would have been perfect.  The thing is when I saw the calender it was back in October and I thought far to early to be thinking about Christmas.  When I saw it again in my local Tesco we were in the middle of packing for the big move and again I thought "I'll deal with it all after".  So alas to say, I missed my chance and by the time we got around to thinking about advent they had sold out... everywhere!!
In some ways though this was the best thing to happen when I actually looked at the items you got in the calendar they were all very small made of only 4 or 5 pieces and although fun were a little bit pants.  So instead I took Graeme on a mystery trip to Legoland and let him choose which set he wanted and what set do you think he choose...


The Lego Star Wars X-Wing!!!

Graeme also decided he wanted to do one in return for me so I chose the Lego Star Wars Ewok Attack set.


It wasn't as easy as that though when we got home we split the packs up into 24 little bundles and put them into 24 envelopes with a Christmassy design on each.  Then we strung them up on our new bookshelf with these very cute little pegs.
The perfect advent calendar and much more exciting to build a little piece of a big toy each day. Today we finally finished off our builds and they look great. We will definitely be doing this again next year, they were so much fun to make!!
And lastly as I am unlikely to post over the next couple of weeks, I'm wishing you all a fantastic Christmas and a happy New Year.  Hope you a have a good time and I can't wait to catch up in the the new year!!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Our New Home

Yes, you heard correctly, I have finally moved out of the parental home yay! Graeme and I have found a lovely furnished little two bedroom flat just outside of Woking and moved in 3 weeks ago. Now we are little more settled I have finally found time to blog take photographs.  It was a bit of a bomb site before but after some good old Swedish flat packing are flat looks much more like a home. That and the fact Christmas is literally around the corner so we could put a tree up almost straight away.  The tree is very cute and quirky, and cheered me up after getting a bit run down from all the cleaning and unpacking.  It has already started to loose it's needles (don't touch the tree!!) but I love having a real tree and means we don't have to store it after the holidays, thank you Graeme.
The kitchen; purple themed of course with my awesome Next kettle and toaster, so pleased with this purchase!!

The living room; we needed a rug as the floor is very hard and cold. Graeme choose this huge beast of a shaggy rug which pretty much covers the whole floor and is so lovely to sit/lay on.  Most expensive purchase = totally worth it!!
The bedroom; a little less cluttered than the others and a lovely place to relax in the evening.  We put the second chair from the living room in here as a gaming chair/clothes horse so we can play Xbox in this room if the other one has friends over, yes, we thought of everything!!
The study; this may be our favourite room but mainly because we have two huge desks to spread out on for the computers to play games or plenty of space to craft.  It does feel a little bit like my desk at work but at least I get to play on this one.
I'm just far too excited to finally  have my own place which we can decorate to our liking (even if I can't change the wall colour :oP)  I remember as a little girl cutting out the pictures of things I wanted from the Argos catalogue to stick into my scrap book of my imaginary home and now I have a real home.  But more than anything it gives me the chance to do what I really love re-purposing the old into the new.  I follow lots of blogs about reinventing, reusing and recycling, not only will it save me money but I can also make things really unique with my own twist. The only thing to decide now is where do I start?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Buttons



You may have noticed a bit of a change on the blog this week. I decided, in the vain attempt to get a bit more organised in my blogging, I would make fancy buttons for each of my blog pages.  I think they brighten the place up a bit, so please have a click and take a look around.





I have also created these two smaller buttons Pinned and Stumbled.  They don't actually go anywhere yet but I have big plans to have monthly reviews for two of my favourite websites Pinterest and StumbleUpon.  Once I visit these webpages I will be stuck there for hours finding all the new and interesting things around the internet and would love to share a few of my favourite finds with you all.



I also got around to making my very own button.  This took ages to figure out how to post html onto my blog without it getting translated but I got there in the end and am very proud of my little duck.  So if you would like to add my button to your own blogs copy and paste the html code below.

Stuffed Duck
<center><a href="http://stuffedduck.blogspot.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mit80ma1LS0/Tsg0W7xOubI/AAAAAAAAA84/uUl6zfGEmeg/s1600/StuffedDuckButton.png" alt="Stuffed Duck" width="125" height="125" /></a></center>

Monday, 21 November 2011

MCM Expo Autumn 2011

It's Expo time again and for the first time I got to take Graeme so was very excited.  This October's event (or should I say last October, still catching up!!) was even bigger than the Spring (read about it here and here) and so much busier but still just as fun.  One big change the hall had been reversed and an extra Memorabilia room added which disorientated me and Sarah for a bit but we soon got used to it.  I was on a bit of a mission to find some manga I was missing and is now out of print so headed straight for the manga stands with Sarah, Graeme and his friend Ben were determined to buy lots of Magic, it's a card game, don't ask.  Here are our adventures below...

There were a lot of Star Wars characters this time around, and Graeme has great fun meeting them all.
He wore the right top for it too, Tide Fighter...

There were some big names as always I got this sneaky picture of Warwick Davies, have you been watching his new series with Ricky Gervais, Life's too Short.  I just love it, so funny, so cringe worthy, so brilliant!!
I got a photo with Ian McNeice who plays Bert Large in Doc Martin and had come dressed as him.  But then decided to pose as Winston Churchill; it was a tad confusing but nice to meet him.

We bumped into some very colourful characters, I just love the Cookie Monster. The costumes of the Mad Hatter and March Hare were amazing and so detailed.
This troop of characters was great even if I only recognised the Jack Skellington costume from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

This really take me back, they had a Robot Wars demonstration stage set up at the back of the memorabilia hall.  My brother, Dad and I loved this show when I was growing up. Oh and a Dalek decided he wanted to join in too.
Everyone had to try out the suit of armour set up on this medieval stand, It's just a shame Sarah and Ben were a little short.  I just love Graeme's expression he looks terrified haha!
Outside there was lots of posing going on, so the perfect photo op to capture as many costumes as possible in one go.  I didn't realise at the time, but seriously what is that guy wearing on the right? Cover yourself up man, well at least I hope it's a man!!

I was also on the hunt to find my Uni house mates Fay from Parfay and Jodie from Tangentine who I knew had a table together in the Comic Corner to sell their own work.  It was great to see them as it has been nearly a year and of course I had to buy their new comics which I read straight away. I love their different styles of artwork, Fay has drawn a short story about young street urchin named Marci.  Jodie had a collection of short stories and some of her artwork, she is an amazing artist, I am definitely going to have to get some of her artwork for when I move out.


I have pinched this photo of them both from Jodie as I was silly not to take one myself. Hope to see you both soon!!

Lastly I treated myself and bought some some artwork from Movie Art Prints.com.  The artist Andrew Timbs recreates scenes from film, tv and theatre using digital vector illustration programs from scratch, none of it is photo manipulation.  I couldn't decide which I liked the best and ended up buying an AT-AT from Star Wars and a huge artwork of the toys from Toy Story all falling out of a box.  They are printed beautifully in high quality and come on foam board so all I need to stick them up is some velcro, so quick and easy.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Girl Guiding Craft Night - Fabric Flower Headband

I was very excited although a bit nervous before my craft night with the Guides, but I think overall it went down very well.  The girls loved that they each had their own little pack to open which I had filled with all the supplies that they needed.  I gave them a very quick demo (something I should have prepared for Blue Peter style, oh well I'm sure there will be a next time) and we all set to work, with Sarah modelling my demo version.
I spent most the evening running around threading needles (get better needles next time!) but the girls did an amazing job and everyone made at least one flower for their hair bands.  I was so busy I forgot to take any photographs whilst they were working but I did manage a few at the end of the evening of the results.
The are so fantastic, much better than I thought and the girls all said they really enjoyed themselves and would like me to come back again to share more crafts with them, so that cannot be a bad review.

Below are the instructions I wrote for the girls but I will be writing a fully photographed tutorial very soon.  If you would like an A4 copy to print out please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Girl Guiding Craft Night - Preparation

When I was younger I was part of the Girl Guides and I think it played a huge part in my bug for crafting.  I have always been crafty, both my parents encouraged it at home but at Guides and Rangers I had some amazing leaders that really inspired me to carry on and try out different things.  My friend Sarah is a now a leader at the group we used to go to and asked me if I would like to do a craft evening with the girls, how could I say no?  I didn't want the crafts to be too difficult or take too long, but they had to be really fun and creative so I have decided to base the night around fabric flowers which I just love to make.  We will be making fabric flower hair bands so I got to work over the weekend to come up with a project plan.  Here is what I came up with.
I hope they enjoy making them, I'll be posting again soon with the results.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Paris Road Trip - Part 2

Continuing from the first part of our trip to France, on Sunday we took the RER train into Paris for the day.    We had plotted out a bit of plan the night before of the big attractions we wanted to see, the first being the Arc de Triumphe.  
I was impressed with the arch, I was just impressed by this guys moustache... awesome!

Because we 25 and European citizens we got to go on top of the arch for free, it was just a shame that it was so wet and miserable.  It also didn't give us much hope for climbing the Eiffel Tower as we couldn't even see the top.
By this time our legs had already started to get tired from all the queuing the day before so took the metro underneath the Champs Elysees to the Louvre.  Of course the queue to get in was epic so we decided to take funny pictures in front of it instead.  I will admit I had to do mine several times, I just couldn't get my hand right!!

We ventured over the Seine across a bridge covered in locks, I have since earnt these are love locks and the idea is to write you name and the name of your love on the lock hook it to the bridge and throw the key into the river.  We decided to give it a miss...
 ...but we did stop off in an awesome cafe on the Seine overlooking the Notre Dame and had the best Croque Madame, Cafe Late and Creme Brulee, it really was amazing and also allowed us to catch up with the world as it was the first place we found wireless.  We are such tech geeks.
The Notre Dame was very impressive and we hard an impromptu photography lesson inside to try and get the best photographs as possible and I think we did pretty well, I just love these stain glassed windows.
And once we had figured out correct settings for taking photographs in the dark I think Graeme did a pretty good job, the arches in the cathedral are just amazing.

And the best photo even though it is a bit blurry is of the grand organ, but only because Graeme got told off and sent out for taking a photograph during the service... you disrespect God's home!!

As the evening started to draw in we eventually made it to the Eiffel Tower.  By the time we actually made it to the top it was dark but in a way this made it so much better, the tower looks absolutely amazing all lit up.  We did have a slight scare at the top as it was so windy we were almost blown off our feet and the tower was a little wobbly but Paris at night was very impressive.
This last shot of the Eiffel Tower at night has to one of my favourites from the whole holiday, I just love the bright blue sky against the yellow lights of the Tower, I may have to print this one out for my wall.

We ended the evening in a little restaurant in the Latin district, with wine cocktails and beer, Graeme even bought me a rose.  It was a wonderful end to an amazing holiday, thank you for the memories my love. 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Paris Road Trip - Part 1

The second part of my Birthday was a lovely trip to Paris from Graeme.  We had talked about it for a while but it seemed so expensive, that is until we decided to make it into a weekend road trip.  We would drive down to Dover, travel by ferry (which gave us a free ticket to Disneyland Paris) then drive to the outskirts of Paris where we found a cheap hotel on the train line between Paris and Disney. I warn you now there are a lot of photos, we got very snap happy!!


I could not wait and was so excited to go on a proper road trip on the continent.  The driving wasn't too bad either but mainly because we stuck to motorways, the few roundabouts we did drive on I  had to think really hard which way to go and look.  When we arrived at the Hotel we were quite impressed that right next door was a huge Carrefore, a huge shopping centre and just over the road lots of restaurants.  We spent out first night at a Tex Mex and the food was gorgeous, the cocktails weren't bad too!
The weather over the weekend wasn't going to be great but we decided to spend the better day, Saturday, at Disney as we knew we would be standing around in queues lots.  After a short 10 minute trip on the train we arrived direct at Disney and I was in heaven.  I forgot how much I loved Disneyland and was even more excited as it was Graeme's first time.
It was awesome that one of the first characters we bumped into was Mickey, Graeme got this great shot just outside Mickey's house.  By this time we were starving so sat down for  breakfast pizza and Halloween cake.
Just outside Sleeping Beauty's castle was a big stage where they were performing a Villain show, we didn't really understand it as it was in French but it was fun to see all the characters.  I'm glad we got to see a few here as we missed the parade later on from standing in too many queues. 
The first place we visited was Discoveryland where we got to try out Space Mountain.  Fun Fact if you are considering visiting the parks you have to take your bags on the rides with you, and yes that includes roller coasters with loops, so don't take anything too bulky!!  We also visited the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, where everyone is equipped with laser guns to shot the targets and defeat the evil Emporer Zurg.  I did have a bit of an advantage at as I have been on it before; it was hilarious but mainly because I was spinning the car around to stop Graeme from shooting, and yes I won!! The queue for the Star Wars simulator was so long so we decided to give it a miss but we found a awesome Light sabre wielding Mickey in the gift shop.
Next was Frontierland to visit the Phantom Manor and Big Thunder Mountain.  We also bumped into Jafar who I think took a liking to Graeme... maybe not.  For lunch we had huge tacos filled with chicken and salad, the diet didn't completely go out the window.  We also tried out the shooting range, where Graeme almost got a perfect score, I just found the gun too heavy but I did give it a try and managed to hit a few.
After lunch we headed to Disney's second park Walt Disney Studios, where we rode on the Rock'n'Roller Coaster, the Tower of Terror and Crush's Coaster.  Finding Nemo has to be one of my favourite films and this ride was definitely worth the wait, there are no loops but you spin lots, start going forward and end backwards, it was  great fun and shame the queue was so epic otherwise we would have ridden it again.  Another Fun Fact nearly all the roller coasters and rides and indoors so they can run all year round and are busy all the time.  So make sure to use of the Fast Track tickets because they will really shorten the wait and remember you can only get one at a time; we were caught out by this and got a Fast Track ticket for a short queue then had to queue for ages on another ride until the ticket had run out.
As it was starting to get late and a little dark we rushed through Fanatasyland and headed stopping for a waffle, which was very messy!! We said hello to Pascal the chameleon from Tangled and also found a wanted photo of Flynn Rider, before heading to Adventureland and the Pirates of the Caribbean.  We very nearly didn't get on the ride as the queue was enormous and the ride decided to have a slight malfunction, but we got there in the end and had fun spotting all the pirates.
As it got really dark we had a walk around and found hidden tunnels underneath Robinson Crusoe's tree and  a huge rope bridge which was fun to run across, although I don't think the other people on the bridge appreciated it hehe.

For dinner we headed out the park to the Disney Village and Graeme quickly spotted The Steakhouse, the menu looked amazing but the queue was out the door and we didn't quite fancy standing in yet another queue so decided to catch the train back to the restaurants by our hotel and had a lovely Italian.  It's not quite steak but it was such a fantastic day, we still went to bed very happy.