I Really Love Colouring!

I bought my first colouring-in book for grown-ups over a year ago but now it’s really big news and books are in the top best seller lists at Amazon etc. More recently my cousin bought me the first in the Art Therapy series and started me on that journey to relaxation too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, colouring isn’t just a gimmick. I do find it truly meditative and a welcome diversion from migraine/fibromyalgia aches and pains. Instead of spending time in front of the TV mindlessly playing Candy Crush Saga on my ‘phone, I pick up my pencils instead.

One thing I have wished is that I’d continued my drawing practise when I left school so that I could make my own more personal pictures instead of  colouring in someone else’s. I just don’t have the concentration span now to do that.

I know quite a few of you are picking up your colouring pens and pencils again so I thought I’d tell you about a new website that got in touch with me about their pretty brilliant idea.

Imagine turning your photographs into colouring pages? At Really Color you can do just that! :)

I’ve been having lots of fun trying out the site, but, what they advise is true, the sharper the whole image the better.

really color quality screenshot

 

I like to take photos with varying depths of field so a few that I wanted to do just couldn’t be replicated as quite a bit of the subject blurs into the background. It looks as though kids photos come out really well but I have none to share.

The site is easy to use with clear instructions as you go along:

really color instructions screenshot

 

I liked the erase button as on a photo of my baby nephew there’s an annoying bit of vase cluttering the background and this made it easy peasy to get rid of it.

You make the lines thicker or thinner for different effects and add or take away detail. Get rid of all of the background if you like or invent your own!

Of course, with your photo becoming a black and white drawing, colour possibilities can be as endless as you like too.

really color 5

I’m pretty sure that the Really Color people will be fine tuning as they go along to produce better results. Since I first used it, the photo scoring tool is new and was particular useful in determining what I wanted to print next.

You won’t be surprised at the subject I chose!

So, if you want to have a go and compete with the kids for fridge art space or even let the little ones do their own (I bet this would be a fun rainy day activity for instance), Really Color credits are reasonably priced at $3.99 for 10 prints or $14,99 for 50. You can buy them for yourself or for someone else as a gift. All you need is an e-mail address.

No worries if you don’t have a printer at home either, your artwork is e-mailed to you so you can keep it for a later date.

I have 10 credits available for one of you to try Really Color for free; just leave me a comment telling me if you’re a fan of colouring-in for grown-ups or if you leave it to the younger generation.

My pick-a-winner gadget will randomly choose a name on Monday 20th July so get your entries in before midnight on Sunday 19th please :)

 

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Y is for Yellow

Y is for Yellow

 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg

OneDad3Girls
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What The Flip Is Sugru?!

Some, or most, of you may already know what Sugru is. You may already have an ambassador of this moldable glue, or, as some are calling it, playdoh for adults, in your midst, but, for those of you that don’t…

Now, I think by now we all know I just love anything for grown-ups that’s slightly childlike (Lego, colouring-in) so when I was offered some Sugru samples to try I wasn’t going to say no!

Unfortunately this has coincided with Summer migraine season and I haven’t had half as much time to play as I would like. I have had success with a couple of small projects though and so I’ll share those today.

Just as a warning to the very grown-up among you, some of the photos you’re about to see, may be representing what you’ll think is a kid’s room. It’s not. It’s my home office. To quote the man recently on The Secret Life Of Lego: “this is my office, at times it looks more like a toyshop but it is my office!”

The first thing I had in mind was to do something with a fun little photo holder I found on one of the online gift sites:

It seemed like such a brilliant idea with its little suction cups that in the photos appeared to stick to anything. They didn’t stick. To anything. Wood, wall, tiles, glass. Not happening. 

Time to open the Sugru for the first time.

 

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I attached a pea-sized ball of Sugru to each suction up and them pressed them onto the wood of my shelving firmly. While I waited to make sure that it held I played with some flowery, fluttery characters I found in the charity shop. They’ve been gathering dust in the ‘no idea where to use them, too cute to leave behind’ pile for a good while and I decided they make a pretty addition to empty half of the shelf. 

 

The next job hadn’t sprung to mind until I opened the packaging and saw the ‘make cables last longer’ caption. I’ve always just thrown them away and bought new ones when my previous iphone cables have split and I’ll admit I was dubious this would work, but…

Yes, it still links and charges just fine and now shouldn’t need replacing until I upgrade my phone and the ends don’t fit anymore!

So, how’s the photo hanger getting on now? Not too bad at all :) 

I’m going to make a list of things I want to get done in the kitchen in bathroom to make life easier and see if Sugru can help with any of them; there’s lots of ideas and inspiration to be found.

And, just to prove I’m not the only big kid on the block…

 

 

* Sugru 8 packs retail at £12.99 but I was sent some for the purposes of this review.

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The Prompt & Word Of The Week: Evaluate

I didn’t think I had anything worth sharing for Sara’s prompt this week, but, by Tuesday I became only too aware that I really need to re-evaluate my online activities.

evaluate

Don’t panic I haven’t got myself another stalker or anything!

Some of you will know, indeed some of you are also members, that I have a photo-a-day journal at Blipfoto. Blipfoto have entered into a partnership with Polaroid and whereas this was once a very community-minded project, we’re now pretty much in the dark about who’s in charge and where our words and images will be used. This has meant several people have stopped blipping and some are suggesting those of us still using the site as somewhat of a photo diary are being quite naive. 

I initially disagreed, as, for one, as a blogger, my life is on the world wide web anyway, and for two, I’ve never disclosed where I live or where I work etc. But, am I being short-sighted, should I be ultra careful of what I publish online? Could any harm come from me sharing day to day photos, often mundane, even more often of Stella?! 

mymosaic blipfoto 2014

2014’s Blipfoto entries as a mosaic

I see it more as a photography blog than anything else and have made several friends through it that have made my life richer. I still have nothing but fondness for my fellow blippers; except for the one weirdo, and I won’t apologise for calling him such, that likes to regularly share snapshots of his excrement (never have I more wished I was joking!) 

One thing that has knocked me for six online this week was something that I’m normally ultra vigilant about and that is scammers. 

I use Google Chrome as my browser. I only use Google Chrome. So, I wasn’t overly surprised to receive a survey asking about my browser use with them. To thank me for my time I was offered a choice of 3 products at reduced cost. One was an e-cigarette kit, one was anti-aging skin products, and I can’t recall what the third was. 

I ticked the box for the anti-aging products, after all, we all need a little help, right?!

Within minutes I got a confirmation of my order notifying me that my credit card had been charged the reduced amount and giving me a password to check my account on their site. 

I thought it couldn’t hurt to get a better idea of the products I’d be receiving so on I went. Thank goodness I did for there in the tiniest of small print was the information that made my heart (and mind) sink. 

‘By buying this Special Offer Kit, you will pay only for shipping and handling upon placing the order and will then have 14 days (after processing and delivery time) to try our products and return them if you are not 100% satisfied. If you choose to keep this kit, you will be charged the full cost of £97.95. A £1.45 restocking fee is applicable to all returns. Charges will appear on your statement as Stemalogica.com STEMALOGICA.COM08000148005 or AW*STEMALOGICA.COM08000148005.’

Bother. Sounding rather like those scams I’ve seen on TV and rolled my eyes at wondering how could anyone fall for it!

I sent a message immediately asking for the order to be cancelled as I had only just received their very misleading terms and conditions. However, I said, as these products were offered as a survey prize did the website terms actually apply?

Stemologica scam screenshot

They know nothing of survey prizes (incidentally, just look at all the cr@p you have to scroll through to get to the terms!) and my “order” is being processed as such. I e-mailed back and said in that case please cancel this order and I would be informing my bank not to release the funds. 

The next morning I get a “your order has been dispatched!” e-mail so I ring my credit card company and they confirm that yes, money has been taken from my account. I explain to the young man that I’d tried to cancel this and he advised that the best I could do was send it back by recorded delivery as soon as it arrives. He said that as the transaction was by credit card he was powerless to refund me. I always thought credit card was the safest option online?! 

Once I’ve sent it back and got proof it arrived I can then contact the credit card people again to put a stop on further funds being taken and to attempt to get my original money refunded.

This seemed OK until I did further research.

Just by typing Stemalogica ( they can’t seem to decide how to spell their name!) into the search box it says scam! There are hundreds of people, all over the world, trying and failing to get money back. They are being told items didn’t arrive back in original condition. Of course they don’t they’re being sold as a trial, therefore you try it!!

The Google Survey is bogus too and I feel like such an idiot.

The things have arrived, and, as the return address is a P O Box, I’m not even confident recorded delivery is valid. At least it’s a UK return address, my money is in Czechoslovakia! 

I noticed a thread on this very thing, during my research, on Mumsnet so I doubt I’m the only blogger to fall for it, but that’s no comfort. I honestly thought I was fairly internet savvy and feel a complete hypocrite for telling my Dad off every time he clicks on a weird link in an e-mail.

Time for a rethink eh?

Have any of you been caught out by a scam like this? 

 

 

mumturnedmom
Also linking to Word Of The Week at The Reading Residence.
The Reading Residence
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Woof Wednesday: A Pet Safe Garden

Further to our gardening post a few weeks ago, not only have we planted some new additions (I say we, I mean I plant, she digs/tramples!) but, we heard that More Than are trying to spread the word about dangers for our pets outdoors by launching their Pet Safe campaign. It was thanks to a similar article that I discovered Geraniums on the bad list. This meant my pretty purples got demoted from the main garden to the Stella-free zone.

With assistance from horticultural expert Ian Drummond, celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock, and, veterinary expert Dr Robert White-Adams, More Than set about producing ‘The Most Dangerous Garden For Pets.’

The Most Dangerous Garden For Pets

MORE TH>N has found that 78% of British gardens contain plants that are toxic to cats and dogs¹. The Pet Safe campaign is particularly timely given that pets are likely to spend more time outdoors over the next few months due to improving weather. Hopefully you’re enjoying the heatwave that most of the UK is getting this week!

To quote Dr Robert White-Adams, “As a nation of animal lovers we’ll do anything to not put our pets at harm. What this campaign reveals is the hidden dangers many of us wouldn’t even be aware of. Each plant has been chosen to show just how many common varieties can make our pets ill, or worse still, die if not treated immediately by a vet.”

Garden-022

Looks pretty doesn’t it? Thanks to this though I’ve discovered another of my favourites, the Cordyline is a no-no too and removed mine from Stella’s space. As I see it the garden is as much her space as mine and though I want it to look nice, there’s no way I want her coming to even the slightest harm.

pawtanical-0929

Like Charlie Dimmock says though: 

“The garden is not about telling pet owners to go around uprooting their flower beds – it is however, a simple way to help pet owners make more informed choices when they design their gardens or buy plants for their home. There are many plants and flowers out there that are not toxic to pets…”

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A quick list of the toxic plants is below but, for more detailed information, a downloadable document is available from More Than. 

Asparagus Fern, Begonia, Buxus Pyramiden, Calla Lily, Cherry Laurel, Chrysanthemum, Clematis, Cordyline, Daisy, Dahlia, Delphinium, Elderberry, Eucalyptus, Flax, Foxglove, Geranium, Grape Plant, Hedera Ivy, Hosta, Hydrangea Ligustrum Privet, Lilium Asian Lily, Lobelia, Lupinus Blue, Marigold, Nerium Oleander, Paeonia Mix, Papaver Poppy, Taxus Baccata Yew, Tomato Plant, Verbena, Wisteria.

Before you all nag me I know that the poppy is there for all, including me, to see, but, I’ve never not had poppies (cultivated and wild, many varieties) in a garden and Stella just ignores them. She thinks they’re just something that Mummy likes her to pose with! 

Stella and Padney Poppies

 

In addition to raising general awareness of this issue, MORE TH>N is directly campaigning for plant producers, manufacturers of garden products and retailers to provide clearer labelling to help pet owners easily identify if items are safe or harmful to cats and dogs – something that 86% of cat and dog owners would like to see. I for one think this is a brilliant idea and I know I’m not the only one that would find it useful. At the moment when looking for new plants I scribble down a list to take with me of the toxic ones but, I’m only human, and bound to have missed one or two. Clearer labelling would be just great.

More Than are certainly being thorough with this Pet Safe campaign, even providing an A – Z of safe plants plus other useful information; worth a look.

We already know that Lavender gets a big yes! 

 

Have you, or will you, be making any garden adjustments with your pets in mind?

 

1.   Research conducted with OnePoll on behalf of MORE TH>N Insurance with 2,000 British homeowners that also have a garden. 78% of those polled had one or more of the plant varieties at The MORE TH>N Poisonous Pawtanical Garden in their own gardens.

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lisas-life.com healthy eton mess

Unintentional Healthy Eton Mess

I recently discovered Two Chicks liquid egg whites and thought they’d be ideal for meringue which I’ve never tried to make before as I have no use for the yolks once separated.

Two Chicks & Natvia

This also seemed a prime opportunity to replace sugar with Natvia and treat my Dad to healthy meringue nests for his birthday on Saturday as I’d got lots of lovely berries in the fridge and I was going to replace the cream with soya yogurt. I usually have to miss out at parties because of the delicious whipped cream.

It was pretty hard work deciphering and calculating ingredient measurements but in the end I used 4 tablespoons of liquid egg white and 80g of Natvia.

I was very impressed at my beating to the soft peak stage – so impressed I totally forgot to take a photo before spooning onto my baking sheet!

meringue before

The variety of oven temperature and time combinations were rather confusing too so I went for an average of 45 minutes at 130º though I did turn that down a little when I saw the weird colour they were going!

meringue after

 

I let them cool awhile but disaster still struck…they wouldn’t release from the greaseproof paper! I ended up with perfect tops and crumbs for bottoms! They also smelt quite eggy but didn’t taste it thank goodness – nothing at all like meringue in texture on the inside either.

Still, there’s only one thing to rescue broken meringue…Eton Mess! I’m just pleased I wasn’t attempting a pavlova – that would have surely been just mess!

meringue 4

Have any of you made meringue in a non traditional way? Any ideas or advice on what I did wrong would be appreciated! :) 

 

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All Things Bright & Beautiful

Last weekend I was in Sawston for Father’s Day and my mum mentioned a nearby flower festival so I went along with her before we went out to lunch. 

There were a wide variety of arrangements made and sponsored by local groups and businesses making the church look very pretty indeed. 

As I was going to be seeing my darling baby nephew I had the big girl’s camera with me so I took a few  several flowery photos while I was there: 

'Come On You Whites' Arranged by Dorothy Butler Sponsored by Cambridge City Football Club

'Bright Eye-deas' Arranged by Rachel Johnson Sponsored by Billson's Opticians

'Diamond Wedding' Arranged by Rachel Johnson To celebrate the diamond anniversary of a local couple married in the church in 1955

'A New Beginning' Arranged by Doreen Martin & Joan King On behalf of Arthur Rank Hospice

'Royal Mail' Arranged by Val Jackson Sponsored by Sawston Post Office

'In Memory of Faith Coe, our dear friend' Arranged by Carol, Valma, and Hilda

'Beads Of Courage' Arranged by Sandra Jakes Representing a charity run programme that gives beads for each milestone and procedure to children undergoing treatment for a serious illness Paediatric Day Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge

21st birthday of Sawston Oxfam Arranged by shop volunteer Liz Bridgland

 

Sawston Flower Festival 10

Sawston Flower Festival 11

Sawston Flower Festival 12

Sawston Flower Festival 13

Sawston Flower Festival 14

So much colour and variety made the church even more beautiful don’t you think? :)

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