Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A set for Rudolf day

This year I decided that I did not want to spend so much time making Christmas cards because last year I didn't seem to have any time left for all the other things that I wanted to do. Instead I thought I would do one challenge a month and make a set of matching cards for it. So when I read on my friend Di's blog about Rudolph day it seemed like just the prompt I needed. She directed me to Sandra's blog; Stamping for Pleasure, where I read all about it. The idea is that the 25th of every month is Rudolph day when you make a Christmas card and post it on her blog. So on 25th of January I did start my set, but unfortunately I am just a couple of hours too late to post them this month. (You have until 9.00 p.m. on the last day of the month). Nonetheless, I have another nice set of six Christmas cards made, and next month I will try harder to get them done on time.

For my cards I used a new, un-inked stamp that I bought from the Special offers page of Joanna Sheen's online shop. I was shopping for something quite different but it just sort of jumped into my basket along with everything else! It is a sweet image from Giordano Studio stamps. I stamped it six times on to coated white card and coloured all the images the same, using copics and promarkers. Then I cut each one out using a different die - Spellbinders nesties, Nellie Snellen and Marianne. I made six 12cm square white cards. When I got my new printer in November, and wanted to try it out, I printed off several Christmas backing papers from a variety of CDs, and then I never got round to using them, so I dug those out, along with several larger card offcuts, and mixing and matching with these, I made the set of six very similar, but still different cards. I used a Marianne die set to cut six large and six small snowflakes, and pairing them up I added one pair to each card. I know one card has two on it. That's because I stuck the main image on upside down so the card opened from the left. (You've all done it at some time!). I managed to take it off and turn it round, but I couldn't risk moving the snowflake, so I left it there and added another pair at the top. Then I added the odd gem and some stickles to each one, and here they are.
I am entering these in;
Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge 57; Just make it Square.
Dream Valley Challenge 24; Animals
Make it Monday Linky Party 74.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A slightly different wedding card

I thought tonight I would just do a short post about a wedding card I made a couple of weeks ago for my niece. She was married yesterday so I can now post the card on here. My niece is not your everyday hearts and roses sort of a lass. She always said she would get married at a bikers rally, but she has kind of grown beyond that so she settled for the slightly more conventional setting of the bandstand in the park, followed by a medieval banquet! So I had to think a while about the card. In the end I settled on a pair of swans. They are very faithful birds who mate for life, so I thought they might make a suitable image.
I used an Angela Burke designed cutting template that I bought from crafts'u'print. I ungrouped the elements and cut the birds and separate wings from white starburst paper, and their reflections and the moon from holographic silver paper, using my silhouette cameo machine. For the base I used some dark blue textured card which I spritzed with midnight glimmer mist. I then masked off the upper section and sprayed the lower section again, this time with moon-shadow walnut stain - smokey sapphire. I found a very old stamp of a wave pattern and stamped this in dark blue all over the lower section for the water. Then I glued in place the swans and their reflection. I raided my stash of feathers and found a few white ones which I glued on the wings, and then used silicone glue to fix these slightly proud of the main bird images. (My cats went mad when I opened my feather box, and it's a wonder I have any left). When it was dry I gave the panel a very narrow frame of the holographic paper, and then mounted it onto a plain white card. Again using my cutting machine and the same white glitter paper as I used for the swans, I cut two pairs of joined hearts. I then managed to cut out the wording so it would fit on the moon and hearts as in the picture. My camera has picked up lots of coloured reflections in the holographic paper, which is the effect I wanted, so I was quite pleased with the end result.

I am entering this for the following challenges:
Take Time for You, Challenge 59; Blue.
Creative Craft Challenges; We're Talking the Colour Blue.
Stampavie and More Challenge 161; Blue and White.
Crafting for All Seasons, Challenge 19: Blue and White.
Let's Craft and Create Challenge 37
; valentine/Romantic.
Joyful Stamper; Inspire me Fridays 43; Anything Goes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A First Attempt

Despite still getting to grips with all the new things on my computer, a different camera, craft serif artist, and an on-line water-colour course, today I took on another new challenge. I started a course of parchment work for beginners. The timing isn't great but it has taken the organiser a year to get enough people interested, so there won't be another one for a while. The classes are only once a month so it shouldn't be too difficult to fit them in, but we do have to do lots of practice in between classes. Of course, it also meant that we needed to buy several new items of equipment. The only useful things I had were a few ball tools from the long ago time when we used to hand emboss card using brass stencils and a light box. So I bought enough today to keep be busy for now, and others are on order and should be here in time for the next lesson. As so often happens out here, two of the people who had signed up for the course are no longer around, so in the end there were only four of us, plus our teacher Brenda (in the red top), and Margaret (in the purple stripe top) who runs the craft shop up in Albox, where the classes are held. Today we learned a bit about handling parchment, and how we will be working with it, and mastered the very basic techniques. By the end of the day we had all put together a simple birthday card. Here is mine. It has lots of things I would like to do better, and I will have another go at it soon, but it is not too bad for a first attempt. This is something I have often looked at with admiration, so I am glad to have the opportunity to at least have a go at it for myself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Better late than never, I am popping over to Julia's Stamping Ground to add my untidy workspace to her list, and take a peek at what everyone else is getting up to.

I haven't anything very exciting to report, but I am making a few preliminary examples of stationery that I have agreed to make for someone. So this afternoon I put my new Silhouette through it's paces and did some pretty intricate cutting out. I also sorted out some paper and card that I could use, because it seems a shame to spend on on more when I have a cupboard full, but I haven't necessarily got enough of any one colour. Then I chose a few suitable font options. I'm really just playing around with ideas at the minute but it is a fairly last-minute thing so decisions need to be made. I will get a few bits put together now and send some photos in an e-mail so they can choose.

Then I think my tray, where I dump used items and left over bits after a project, is calling for some attention. I believe there is some new stuff in there too, just waiting for a home! Everything keeps sliding off it and I am tired of picking it all up.

Better get on with it then. I will do my best to get around a few more of your blogs this week too. I am sorry I never manage to get to all of you, but apart from a few of my 'regulars' I do try to visit different ones each week.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I have been neglecting my paper-crafting in favour of photography just lately, so this week I decided to make a few birthday cards. I found an attractive lighthouse scene that was on a plate of Chocolate Baroque stamps, that I bought for one of the other images on it, and this one had never been used. So I stamped it a couple of times onto coated white card. I wanted one to look like a sunrise scene, and one a sunset. For both of them I used a mixture of copics and promarkers, and then added a touch of stickles to the water.

For the sunset I matched two colours from the image to double mat it, then attached it to a pale lilac card with a strip of glittery blue sticky ribbon across it. A vertical sentiment and a silver anchor charm finished this one.

When I stamped the sunrise I accidentally caught the edge of the cut rubber with the ink, so to eliminate this I cut it out in a rough outline of the image, and matted it onto deep blue, and then cream card. I made a base card of a similar blue, and added panels of printed papers from my snippets box and a printed band of seaside images from my Faye Wittaker collection CD. I mounted the topper on 1mm sticky pads at a slight angle and found a large sentiment peel-off for the bottom corner.

The third card is a bit different. I started by adding distress ink with an ink duster to glossy white card, in layers for sky, sea and sand. I then used an assortment of Art Impressions scenic stamps to make a tropical beach scene. I added a hand drawn boat and seagulls, and cut it out with a nesties label die. The frame is some shiny jade card that I rescued from a bank brochure. I mounted this onto a pale yellow 15cm square card but it was very muted colours and I wanted to brighten it up. So I stamped the flip-flops border stamp (Great Impressions), coloured it and cut it out, and glued it under the image. I then thought that as it was a tropical scene, some tropical flowers would be good. I turned to Penny Duncan's site, as she has made cutting files and tutorials for many different flowers. Unfortunately, as from this week the cutting files are no longer available*, but I was just in time to download the bird of paradise flower, and having watched her tutorial for hibiscus, I was able to have a go at cutting my own one out. Do visit her blog. She does some inspiring work. I cut my flowers from cream heavy paper and coloured them with distress inks before assembling them. For the stamen of the hibiscus I used a flower centre that you can buy in bunches from many craft shops, and I coloured it's post with a copic marker then coated the tip with glossy accents and dipped it into yellow flocking. I am quite pleased with these flowers though I have no idea how well they will survive if I decide to post the card. I may have to keep it for a hand delivered one.

* I am pleased to say that Penny has now resolved the problem with her files and they are again available on her blog. It is well worth a visit.

I am entering these cards in the Crafty Purple Frog Challenge; Anything Goes, Stamp and Create January Challenge; Anything Goes, and to the Make it Monday Linky Party 73.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Catching up with myself; Days 11-18

Well I can't believe it is a full week since I last posted my photos. But this doesn't mean I haven't taken them. So far I have managed to take one every day. (Two in fact. One inspired by Suzie's prompts, and a random one of anything that takes my fancy on the day). The random ones I am loading into a clipping mask each day and I will show the completed page at the end of the month, but here are the past week's offering for Suzie.

Day 11; This Item of Clothing is one of my favourite dresses. It was bought at least twenty (yes, twenty!) years ago in Wembley market. It was love at first sight and I took a lot of stick for wearing it at the time. Now such colourful garments are the norm, and no-one bats an eyelid when I put it on. In fact people come up and tell me how much they like it. What goes around, comes around...

Day 12; I had been cleaning the interior doors and this Translucent one between the kitchen and utility room, disguises the muddle beyond it, just showing lovely pearly colours, which unfortunately did not photograph very well!

Day 13; What is Inside your fridge? In mine there is everything from diary goods to bread, a range of jams and pickles, fruit and veg. and dog food! Yes, just about everything that might have been stored in the larder back in UK, ends up in the fridge out here. It is the safest place for it all, so my husband bought me a larger fridge and I still manage to fill it.

Day 14; My Guilty Pleasure is a simple marmalade sandwich. Although my blood sugar level is 'acceptable' if I take my tablets, I am registered diabetic so I have to limit my consumption of all things sweet. But when I get a real craving for sugar, nothing cures me better than a slice of bread and butter, and my own home-made Seville orange marmalade.

Day 15: This is my new Silhouette Cameo in action, doing some fairly intricate cutting on very shiny holographic paper, for a wedding card I was making. My Generous husband bought this machine for me at Christmas, knowing how much I wanted it, even though, out of necessity, he had replaced my computer and bought me a wide-bed printer just the month before.

Day 16: The first of the new season fruit was in the street market on Saturday, so I bought lovely ripe apricots and strawberries. Along with a handful of my favourite toasted seed and nut mix, this made a healthy and very tasty Snack.

Day 17; We had our first taste of real winter weather this week, and our houses are built to keep us cool in the Summer, but not to keep us warm in Winter. Our only heating is small gas and electric fires which we light when we settle down to watch TV etc in the evening, but during the day I solve the problem of draughts by sitting on a sheepskin chair cover, and wrapping up in a colourful rug that my mum crocheted many years ago. But every time I stand up to fetch something, my Naughty Baggins curls up on my warm covers.

Day 18: It was very Pleasurable to stand and watch the breakers rolling in on a deserted beach on a sunny January day. (No need for crocheted rugs today!)

Right, that's me up to date again. I will try not to leave it so long next time. Now I'm off to have a look at how a few other folk have interpreted the prompts. And I will also post the logo in my sidebar. Why not take a look at some beautiful photos, or even join in and post some of your own.


Better late than never, I am joining Julia and her friends over on her blog, to see what everyone has on their work-desk today. Mine started off in it's usual tidy Wednesday state. Last night I finished off a wedding card that I wanted to post today, but I had to make sure that was all cleared away for today's photo. I will do a post about it after the event on 28th of the month. Today, I had only just returned from my morning with my sewing group, when the courier was at the door with an exciting parcel for me. Yes; it was my new camera, complete with batteries and charger, a nice soft case, a mini tripod an SD card, and a lens hood. So of course I immediately unpacked it all over my tidy desk, unhelpfully 'helped' by my beautiful Arwen who claimed one of the plastic bags as her toy. This is a bridge camera, one step up from the digital point and take, but easier to manage than a full SLR. The only down side was that the only manual is on the accompanying CD so I spent the rest of the afternoon printing this out so that I can sit and go through it with the camera in my hand. It is going to be somewhat of a learning curve, but I am looking forward to finding out just what it can do. But first I am going to see what everyone else is doing, so follow me to Stamping Ground and join in the fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New stash

Well I've been sadly lacking in motivation to do much crafting just lately, as well as being distracted by other things, such as taking photos and filing them regularly, but there is nothing like some new stash to get you going again. There were several items that I have had my eye on for a while, but I lacked the finances for them before Christmas. I also spotted several items in new year sales offers, so I decided to treat myself to one or two of them. So this week I have had four lovely parcels arrive. Three came on Wednesday and I took this photo for What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday, but I didn't find the time to post it! In amongst this little lot you can see several different types of crafty notions sprays which are the most delicious colours, (you can see the quick trial samples under them) a Cheery Lynn small doily die, some rainbow drops, and a CD from Joanna Sheen. I had made up my mind not to buy any more CD's but this was a very good price, and Faye Wittaker's illustrations are just beautiful. The three clear 'rulers' are a clever system to ensure that you cut all mats and layers evenly. This will be very useful for me because die cut frames are often not quite the size I want, and as both my eyes and my hands are failing, all my hand-cut work is uneven or crooked. I think these will make a big difference. There is also a small pack of hearty clay, just to make a change from the air-drying clay I can buy out here, and some die-cut chipboard 'Twiddlybits'. The next day I also had a parcel containing three plates of Chocolate Baroque stamps, and another with a multi surface distressing tool, a little Christmas stamp (!) and some of Aileen's clear tacky glue.

So I thought I had better get on and make use of some of these things before they are lost in a cupboard. I started by printing our four toppers from the CD two or three times, and also some backing papers. Using glossy card stock and alcohol inks with a silver mixer, I swiped butterscotch and stonewashed ink across the card, wiping the felt across the surface rather than dabbing to give a smooth finish for the sand and sea. I then added a little denim to the stonewashed and swiped across the top of the card to give a darker tone to the sky.
For two of the cards (back left and centre), I used this as a background and cut out some of the CD images , lightly decoupaging the children's hats, collars and ribbons. I added some shadows, grassy dunes and the kite tail with promarkers. I cut and matted these toppers using nestie die frames, and added them to cards that I had covered with backing papers also from the CD. For the third card I used a complete topper from the CD, again printing it three times so that I could decoupage the girl's hat, teddy, collar and ribbon. I used the new layering rulers to give this a neat double mount - they really did help - and attached it to another card. The sentiment is from a Crafty Individuals stamp plate. For the last card I used a piece of blue card with a waves border along one edge. I backed this with a strip of the backing paper. I then used a larger topper, without decoupage this time, and again used the rulers to double mat it. I folded the card to fit a DL envelope, attached the topper to the left hand side and in the space on the right, I hung two sea-side charms on fine thread and attached them under a double baker's twine bow, held in place with the new tacky glue.

So my new stash has proved very useful already and I have made a good start to my resolve to hold a stock of cards instead of having a mad rush to make one every time it is needed.

I am linking this to the Make it Monday linky party 71. and,
Crafty Ann's Challenge 56 where we are encouraged to 'Let's Think Hot', and these sea-side images certainly have a touch of sunshine in them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Days 9 and 10

Well I don't seem to be doing much craft work right now, though I did stick to my resolve and made five more cards like the robin one I posted last week.

This week I have concentrated on photography, mainly because I want to get in the habit of taking quick photos wherever I am, and particularly to enable me to keep up with project 365. I am also battling to get to grips with Adobe photoshop. I have bought a photoboard online which has 31 frames on it to take the photos from each day for a month. I read an article on using this in the new scrapbook magazine - Scrap 365 - and wanted to give it a try. I have to say that for someone who has never used photoshop before, this was a lot harder than it looked, but I have finally mastered it and my first photos are in place, and hopefully I will be able to add the rest daily, without too much of a problem. When the board is full I will show it on here.

Todays word on Suzie's blog is Metallic. By pure chance, when I popped into the local craft shop this morning, I picked up these pretty metallic self-adhesive studs. I thought they would be more useful than brads because they are so flat. When I got home and saw today's word I took a quick photo of them. They are not very artistically arranged because I haven't decided what I will be using them for yet. So I thought I was all done and dusted, but at teatime today, my dear husband took me down the road and bought me a new microwave. (After living here for three years, it still seems strange that little village shops re-open around six o'clock, but sometimes it is very convenient). My new oven is all shiny stainless steel, inside and out, so I took a photo of that too because goodness knows how long it will stay like it!

This is yesterday's photo for the word Water. One of my cats is an avid water drinker, so last spring I treated them all to a fountain which keeps their water aerated and fresh. They all love it, but particularly Baggins who sits by it and tells me off if the level is too low. A few days ago the pump failed and he was very disgruntled about it, but yesterday I fixed it and he immediately sat and lapped at it for ages. I was fascinated to watch how fast his little pink tongue went in and out. In fact I had to take several photos before I caught it in action.

I am actually keeping two separate folders of 365 photos, and the second one has no theme; just anything that catches my eye. So I am going to share today's photo which is a Romanesco cauliflower. Isn't it just beautiful! The mathematician in me sees Fibonacci spirals, and living in a house of computer buffs I also think fractals, but the rest of me just thinks how beautiful nature can be. It is almost a shame to eat it, but I like them too much to let it go to waste, so it will be in the pot by the end of the week.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Days 7 and 8

Yesterday, for my photo, I chose the only cup that really cheers for me, a good old cup of tea. When I order this in Spain I am never sure what I will get. It ranges from hot water with just a hint of brown in it and no sign of milk or lemon, to a cup of cold milk with a teabag floating in it. I am amazed that they drink so much coffee out here but have not discovered how much more refreshing tea is. I like to use an old-fashioned teapot and loose tea, but that is not available out here, so I buy it in bulk, on line. So here is my photo for day 7; Drink.

Today's word is Cosy, and although we are having an exceptionally warm and sunny time right now, the minute the sun drops below the horizon it does get really chilly. With no central heating, and cold stone floors throughout the house, at tea time we all don our trousers, socks and fur-lined slippers, but I don't need those and I've got the cosiest toes here.

Miki may be a girl but she's no lady! I'm not sure whether she's just playing 'dead' or whether she's telling me something about my feet!!

If you'd like to see how other folk have interpreted these words, just pop over to Suzie's blog and take a look.

Friday, January 6, 2012

365 Frost

Suzie's word for today is Frost. Not an easy one for me as we rarely see such a thing in Los Gallardos, so I have cheated a bit and am using a photo (taken in the early hours of this morning) of the Christmas street lights on the other side of the village. (We have blue angels and snowy churches by us). There is nothing extraordinary about it, but it just tickles me that they choose a snowflake as the feature of their lights when so many of the villagers have never seen snow. If it were a real snowflake it would be long gone. In the full sun, we must have been up around 30º today! I know frost isn't quite the same as snow but allow me a little photographic license today please. Follow my link to Suzie's blog and see how everyone else has interpreted this theme.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Back in the swing, and a blog candy challenge

With just tomorrows Three Kings Fiesta to bring the seasonal celebrations to an end, I decided it was time to get back in to the swing of regular crafting. Although I enjoyed following several blog challenges regularly last year, I did find that the time it took me to do them left very little spare time to do 'my own thing' and I always felt sad that there was never enough time to leave many comments on other people's contributions. This year I have lots of new techniques to try and different media to experiment with. I am hoping to do more photography through participating in project 365, to follow an online watercolour course that I signed up to back in November but haven't managed to get started on yet, and to at least start on a hybrid scrapbook using the digital program Serif craft artist with added embellishments to give more dimension to the pages. So obviously some of the challenges will have to go. Instead, this year I am going to participate in a few when the theme particularly appeals to me, and when I am happy with a design I shall make a run of half a dozen or so of them, so that I will still have a good set of Christmas cards made ready for next year, and also some birthday cards ready before they are absolutely needed. (That'll be a first!!)

But to start me off I am sticking to what I am comfortable with, and making my first Christmas card of 2012 for Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge 53 which is an open theme this week. She also has some lovely candy on offer with this challenge so why not pop over to her blog and take a look.

I bought a rather lovely plate of stamps from Chocolate Baroque back before Christmas, but unfortunately it was really too late to use them, so they had not been inked at all. So today I took the main stamp image and stamped it onto a square of white paper that had been inked around the edge with Distress ink - tumbled glass, and I also brushed a little of the same ink over the center to soften the harsh white. I stamped the image with memento Paris dusk, and added colour to the holly with copic markers. I didn't like the blue robin, even when I added some colour to him, so I stamped him again with memento rich cocoa, coloured him and cut him out. Then I glued him flat over the main image which looked a lot better. The main panel is mounted on a 15cm royal blue card and I added crystal stickles to the snowflakes and leaves for a bit of sparkle. So now I am off to link this to CHCC, but this year I shall not be spending too much time searching for other suitable challenges for it. I'd rather be making a few more cards like this, and adding comments on to the blogs of other contributors to the challenge.

Project 365

Hi friends. Today I thought I would share a new project that I hope to be involved with this year called 365. I am sure this is familiar to most of you, but in case it is not, the idea is to take a photograph every day of the year, so that at the end of it, you have a pictorial diary of how you spent your time. There are several internet projects on this idea but I am not really following any of them, more just doing my own thing. But one blog caught my eye this week called suzies365, and she is actually offering a word each day to match a photo to. This is more limiting than I want, as I hope to simply record how I spend my time, but I am running two folders side by side, one for my own photo and one for any that I take which I feel fits Suzie's criteria for the day. I shall be forming templates to display my own pictures in, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly, so that, by the end of the year, I will have a small book and I may share some of the pages on my blog along the way, but in the meantime here are my offerings for Suzie, for yesterday's word 'Pretty' and today's word 'Excitement'.

For Pretty I took a photo of one of my poinsettias that is out on the back porch, and it did indeed look very pretty yesterday as the Spanish sunshine turned it's leaves from red to orange.

I thought this picture caught some of the Excitement displayed by the children in our village today as they eagerly await the arrival of the Three Kings tonight. (See my post for yesterday to learn more about this). I took it at lunch time when we wandered over to the plaza for the opening of the medieval market and fayre. And 'yes' the knight on stilts did catch her, to squeals of excitement from her and her little band of friends!

I am excited too because, hopefully by the end of this month, I will have a new camera, and be able to be a bit more adventurous with the photos I take.
In the meantime I will make do with the old digital one that I bought from my son when mine broke. It takes pretty dismal photos indoors, but seems to cope quite well outside, so let's hope the sun keeps shining for a few more weeks.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Hello to all my fellow crafters. I hope some of you have had a more productive week than I have. All I have achieved this week is one quick card for a grandson, that needed to be in the post today. I may do a short post about that later today. Here in Spain we are still in holiday mode as our big celebration is at the end of the week when it is Three kings Day (or Epiphany). Tomorrow night the kings will arrive on a float that will drive around the village, and they will throw huge quantity of sweets at the children. They then alight at a large marquee in the centre of the village and distribute gifts to the children (previously left at the town hall by their parents), after which there is a bar open around marquee, and music and dancing will go on until late! One year we drove the ten minute ride to the coast and spent the evening in Garrucha, where, this being an active fishing village, the kings arrive on a fishing boat, and at the port they transfer onto three very elaborate floats to process around the streets. The children also wake up the next morning to find three gifts under the tree, or by their bed - one from each of the kings. (They may have already had a Christmas stocking or gifts from Santa on Christmas day, but for many families, all this is saved for Three Kings day).

The following day our little village has a Three Kings Fiesta. We are the only village to do this around here so there will be plenty of visitors. During the morning the kings will arrive at the plaza, usually on actual camels, though last year they were on horses, and all the villagers dress up and reenact the scene at Herod's palace where the kings enquired about the whereabouts of the new baby king, as foretold in the stars. This is followed by a day of fun at a medieval market, and a free feast for everyone that could be paella, migas or tortilla.

I digress but I thought you might be interested to read a little about the traditions of this season in Andalucia. Perhaps it explains a little why I am not back into craft-mode yet, and why my desk is still as clear and empty as it was last Wednesday. So for today's picture I thought I'd show you where I go each week on a Wednesday morning. This is my Wednesday morning work desk, where I sit each week with a group of other ex-pats, and we either knit, sew, do patchwork, crochet, lace-making, or occasionally make cards, and as we work we chat, swap patterns, teach one another new skills, and share knowledge of shops and events in the area. When you live so far away from your family, a good network of friends is very important, so groups like this are very popular, and we know we could call on one another in an emergency and find help and support.

Now I am off to see how many of you (probably most of you) have been a lot more productive than me this week! Join us at Julia's blog and share the fun.