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Day #19 Flowers and Layouts

I’m rolling right along with my scrapbook layouts! I challenged myself to do 31 layouts this month. It was really perfect timing because I had just started my London Album and hadn’t been making a whole lot of progress. One thing or another kept getting in the way.

But now that I’ve committed to getting a layout done every day for the month of May (or a minimum of 31 layouts during the month) I’m getting a lot done, and I’m loving the result!

For the last couple of days I’ve been working on our visit to Windsor Castle. I took a mess of photos from every angle I could think of, confident I’d whittle the number down dramatically. BUT, I’m kind of attached to them all, thus making for a MANY page layout. So here’s the next installment…

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Meanwhile out in the garden, I’d like to show you my wild lilac.

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It’s a beautiful bush, but it’s really too big for the space. I’ve cut it back quite a bit, and it probably needs more trimming. BUT, I think I’ll wait until fall. The blooms right now are just incredible.

I’ve really lost interest in the garden. For a lot of different reasons, I can’t have it just the way I want it to be. And being the spoiled brat I can be, when I can’t have my way, I lose interest. But I’m working my way back, keeping in mind that it really is shared space, and I need to keep in mind how much work my other half is willing to put into it.

SO, simplification is necessary. I don’t have an actual action plan about what exactly that might mean, but at least I’m rolling it around in my head and trying to come up with some action steps. Needless to say, it will almost be better off tearing it up and starting over.

Check back often! I AM going to get my outside space organized, and when I do, I’ll be showing lots of pics!

Day #18 Flowers and Layouts

My dear, sweet Lexi decided to share her cold with me! I’m not nearly as congested as I could be, but, man, it’s sure draining my energy level. I’m trying to be a big girl and carry on as if I was my usual healthy self, but I’m finding myself in bed pretty early, bot NOT until I get my layout done. I’m serious about ending the month with a minimum of 31 2-page layouts!

Today I’m continuing on with Windsor Castle, or at least the prelude to it! I won’t be working on the inside of the castle until tomorrow.

I took a little bit of time and put a bunch of pages in sleeves and got them into the album, then flipped through it. I’m afraid I’m going to have to go back to the first of the album and add some paint and washi tape to the early pages. Since I’ve started this challenge I’ve been trying to get a little less formal with my layouts, and I really like the look. But now the early ones look way too stark. I know. I have issues.

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I have to laugh. A few months ago, I never would have seen myself slapping paint on photographs. I was too much of a purist. But not anymore. The looser look really works for me!

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Today’s floral offering is my gardenias. I wasn’t sure they would bloom in time for the May posts, but all of a sudden they’ve gone from tight buds to full blooms! And, WOW! they smell wonderful!

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And with that, I’m going to call it a night, and get my little self some extra sleep! See you tomorrow!

Day #17 Flowers and Layouts

Yep, I’ve got more Windsor Castle…

Fresh off the train we found ourselves at the Royal Windsor Shopping Center. And in the background we could see the castle with a McDonald’s in the foreground. Sad, but true.

The first order of business to was to eat, so of course there’s a page for that. Heeheehee!

Only I could go to Windsor Castle and do two layouts for the shopping mall we visited before we even got to the Castle! The great news here is that I actually got 2 layouts done. Yep, 4 pages instead of just two.

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My flower for today is another of the penstemons, this one a dark, bright pink, nearly red – one of my favorites.

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I’m starting to get excited about the garden again, and it’s a good feeling!

Day #16 Flowers and Layouts

Moving right along on my challenges. Had you told my on the 16th of May I’d still be going strong, I’m not sure I would have believed you! But then, as a dear friend reminded me, I always have done my best work under pressure!

Day # 16 finds me working on our trip to Windsor Castle, complete with a fake photo bombing by the queen and about a gazillion photos of the castle from every angle you can imagine! I’m going to try hard to get 4-6 pages done each day so the same subject matter doesn’t go on day after day after day. “Try” being the operative word…I didn’t get it done today, so I just have a single layout to show you – the introduction pages for our visit.

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On the big tag, I made a couple of boo boos. I stamped the words “Windsor Castle” in fairly big letters, intending to write around them. But, the textured paper didn’t accept the ink very well and it came out pretty faint, so I went to plan B and wrote over them instead of around. Then, I made a spelling error and didn’t want to re-do it. So, what to do, what to do? Easy, peasy…I just glopped some paint over the mis-spelled word, then made some additional matching splotches elsewhere on the tag trying to make it look intentional…If I didn’t tell you, would you notice I’d messed up?

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Today’s flower is my English Lavender. I started out with Spanish Lavender, not even realizing there is a difference, but there is. And it’s huge. The Spanish Lavender is weedy looking, while the English is just so much more refined-looking. Silly me, I had it for several years before I realized my mistake. But it’s fixed now.

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Ah, yes. Much better!

And I’m suddenly realizing that I am pretty heavy on lavender/purple flowers, when red is really my color of choice. Not sure how THAT happened, but I need to fix it!

Also in the garden, Mr. Tattered was out planting his fruit trees (more on that later) and found a heart-shaped rock buried, cleaned it up and had it sitting up for me when I went out to do some weeding.

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How sweet is that? I think I’ll keep him!

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We have been so busy lately we are BOTH wondering what’s going on. Our calendar is a mass of chicken scratches, with barely any empty space. The school year is almost over, when it seems like it just started, and before we know it the kids will be back in school again, our son will be back from his deployment and we’ll be starting our fall travels. Seriously. It’s practically time to change the calendar to 2016, and I don’t know where the year has gone!

They say after you retire you wonder how you ever had time to work, and it’s so true!

Day #15 Flowers and Layouts

Welcome to Day #15 of my May craziness! I set up my own challenges this month. Challenge #1 is to post a photo of a flower every day – it can be a piece of art or something from the garden. So far they’ve been from the garden, but I’m not sure I’ll make 31 days of flowers from the garden without getting out and doing some planting! Challenge #2 is to do a scrapbook layout every day of the month, which is a really good thing for me. I’m so far behind, and this is giving me the incentive to make progress.

So far I’m following through. Woohoo!

Lest you’ve begun to feel like our whole trip was about the history and architecture of London, let me assure you there was a lot of it that was about the food.

There was a time when we would tell people we were going to the UK and they would say, “ugh, the food there is awful!” If that was ever true, it most certainly is not anymore. Some of the most memorable meals we’ve ever had in our lives were consumed in London.

Right before we left, there was an article about the best vegetarian restaurants in London in Vegetarian Times magazine. The one that sounded the most appealing to us was Mildred’s. Located in Soho, it is an unassuming little place. Never in a million years would you be able to tell from the outside what delights would be found inside!

We’d read that there was often a line (or que) to get in, so we went at off peak times and never had to wait. The tables are close together and there aren’t many of them. The wait staff was quite friendly, and after our first visit (there were many) we felt like regulars, and were treated as such. It was really kind of cool to be recognized so quickly.

The food was incredible. As many times as we went, we didn’t get very deep into the menu because we liked what we were eating so much, we wanted it over and over.

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I think I just want to live there. Or bring the chef home with us. Neither one of which are very practical.

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I don’t know the technical name for my flower offering today. It is a little ball on the end of a long stem, similar to an allium, and maybe it’s related, but I just call it a snowball. The variegated greenery in the photo does NOT belong to the snowball. It has a tuft of spike greenery at the base, but the other plant has grown over it. I kinda like the look, but I’m going to need to make sure it doesn’t get completely over-run!

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Elsewhere in the garden, the Shasta daisies that were barely blooming a few days ago are going crazy.

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Notice the dark bird feeder in the background? I had “socks” there before, but rodents (I think! Or else a pretty strong bird!) have been ripping the socks up to get to the thistle seeds, so I decided to get a metal mesh feeder instead. So far I haven’t seen any birds on it, but I’m hoping they’ll get it figured out.

Then I noticed this lovely addition.

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At first I thought it was a volunteer, like the lantana, but then I realized it’s a GINORMOUS weed! I really do need to get out there and work!

Day #14 Flowers and Layouts (and a few owlets!)

Welcome to the 14th day of my May challenges! For the whole month of May, I am posting a flower offering from my garden (or elsewhere in my house if I run out of garden flowers!) and to commemorate National Scrapbook Month, a 2 page scrapbook layout, every day.

So far I’ve followed through (which is huge for me!) although I got a few days behind in posting, as my WordPress decided to act up and wouldn’t let me post photos. Now that it’s working again, I’ll be playing catch up for a few days.

My flower today isn’t REALLY a flower. It’s a succulent, but it looks like a flower (and let’s face it, since I’ve ignored my garden so badly this year, I’m getting a little desperate!)

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For my scrapbook layout today, I did a quickie about our dinner with friends who live in the Hampstead Heath area, and the death of my camera lens (not alcohol related, I swear, even though it did occur in a pub!) It was horrifying to be so early in our trip and break my primary lens!

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Remember awhile back when I did the Owl Cake for Bea’s birthday? I forgot to show you the little owlet cupcakes (carrot cake!) I made to along with it, for the vegan in the family. As I was making them, I forgot to fold the grated carrots into the batter and had them all ready to go into the oven before I realized it! Thank goodness I caught myself before they went into the oven, and the only loss was a few wrappers…

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Sweet, huh?

Day #13 Flowers and Layouts and Life’s Little Pleasures

My wordpress has been acting up for a few days. It has not been allowing me to post photos even though I have PLENTY of storage space available. That has caused a backlog of posts I need to get loaded. So bear with me while I play catch up. I won’t do them all on the same day, I promise!

Day #13 was a day that ended up spiraling out of control (an extended family member was briefly in the hospital – all is well now!) but in the morning, it was an amazing series of little things that add so much to life…

I think most of you know that I care for my grandchildren while their parents work, and it is one of the most joyful things I do. Seeing the world through those little eyes is just an amazing way to go through life. The word amaze and all of it’s derivatives is so over-used these days, so I try not to use it in a way that is an exaggeration, but in this context there doesn’t seem to be a better or more accurate word. I find myself in a state of amazement frequently. This is my crew in the Gaga-mobile!

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The littlest one is 14 months old, and she is, in all likelihood, the last. I’m tempted to think that because she’s the last I’m paying closer attention, but really, I think I felt this way about them all. Watching their faces light up over the smallest accomplishment or seeing something new or hearing a bird or airplane off in the distance… I just love it.

She insisted on holding her cup by herself. Not a sippy cup, she’s been doing that for awhile, but a big girl cup. We’d been practicing drinking from it with me holding it, but today she didn’t want my help. I put just a small amount in the cup, and she lifted it to her mouth, a little too much of an angle, so she slopped a little down her chin. She set it down and signed “more” so I poured some more and she tried again. This time it was perfect. After she set the cup down she flashed her “full face” smile and clapped for herself. Sharing her joy, I teared up just a little and clapped with her.

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Similarly, I had a wonderful time putting my little man to bed for the night. We’d been laughing all day, and when it came time to quiet down in preparation for going to sleep, we couldn’t stop. He has the most contagious laugh. Everything cracked us up. Before he fell asleep he said, “this has been the best day…” and seriously, we nothing special or out of the ordinary.

Sharing secrets with the oldest, watching my little artist spread her wings with her new “how to draw fashion” book – these are the LITTLE things that in the end are the BIGGEST things – the sprinkles on the cupcake of life.

It doesn’t have to be a child. It can be a pet, a spouse’s smile or touch, a sunset, a particularly deep shade of blue sky with a lone puffy white cloud, or even a weed growing up through a crack in the sidewalk, reminding us of nature’s perseverance. But we have to take the time to notice. Trust me on this, you’ll be glad you did. And if you do it every day, many times a day? That’ll be amazing.

So, Day #13.

Here is my campanula. It got an early start this year, so it is on its way out, but still enough is blooming for it to stick out in the garden. I love the color!

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I really need to get out there and do some planting…I am dangerously close to being out of flowers to show you!!!

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And here we go with today’s layouts, a continuation of the trip to Flatford. I seriously take too many pictures. My scrapbooking woes would be so few if only I could control myself. But the chances of that happening? Not good!

I got on a roll and finished two 2-page layouts plus the collage layout with the leftover shots. Whew!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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