Monday, 29 August 2011

House Mouse Challenge #103 - a recipe

Hi everyone!

Thank you for joining us for House Mouse and Friends' 103rd challenge, and my last as Guest Designer for August :-( Thanks for having me on the team ladies - you've been wonderful to work with! Following on from the last fruity challenge, we're sticking to the food theme and challenging you to a recipe. It could be inside or outside your card, and I'm not sure whether it HAS to be food ;-) but with so many mouth-watering HM&F stamps out there, it would almost be a pity not to, wouldn't it? Hehee.

I've been hard at work for the last few weeks making 18 jars of lemon curd for our church fund-raiser food fete on Saturday. Here are two of them. MmmMmmmMmmmmmm....... Do you like the highly personalised label? And the cute little lemons on top? DH couldn't get as excited as I did about those, but then he hadn't spent all afternoon designing them and cutting them on the Silhouette and Cuttlebug.

In keeping with our theme, I made a recipe card to be displayed at the fete, showing exactly how the lemon curd was made. I used a Mudpie from the "Berry full" stamp and a very excited Monica jumping into the jar. I couldn't find a jar stamp that fitted so I drew one of mine. All are coloured with Copic markers. The paper is from Basic Grey's Lime Rickey 6"x6" pack, and yellow Stickles made perfect lemon curd running down the jar and all over greedy little Mudpie's paws and mouth.

I'm also entering it into these challenges:
Basic Grey Challenges: anything goes (Lime Rickey)
Charisma Cardz: glitter
Simon Says Stamp: sketch

Sunday, 28 August 2011

KLM update

A guy from Amsterdam called me back. He was helpful, calm, friendly and sensible.

The system is still unable to display my number correctly on my view, but it apparently looks OK on theirs so I have to leave it alone.

The only flights we can get to New Zealand with KLM/partners are via Kuala Lumpur! For those of you with a more sketchy knowledge of the geography of this region, that means that instead of flying 3,322 miles south-east, we first have to fly 2,600 miles north-west, then 5,420 miles back south-east again. Nuts, I tell you, nuts!

And the answer to my original question? There is no walk-in Air France/KLM office within 2,500 miles of Perth. Why nobody seemed able to string the words together to tell me this, I'm scared to imagine.

My conclusion is that I feel very sorry for the poor Air France/KLM employees having to work with a rubbish computer system, based around a language which many of them barely speak.

{Climbing down from soap box. Normal service will be resumed shortly.}

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Customer Service? Try reading the question...

Dear KLM Airline,

I have just been advised that all my award miles expire at the end of this month, and that the only way not to lose them is to book a flight. However none of the locations that I might want to visit seem to be available.

The website is extremely unhelpful when booking from this point of view. It is a little better if know where you're going and when, but when you're trying to choose something from what is available, it is impossible. The locations shown in the Miles Finder don't match the locations shown in the Destination drop-down list, and you have to select the exact dates rather than a range of dates. If one date is unavailable, it tells you the whole trip is not possible. It does not tell you when flights only operate once a week, so you waste your time searching for every possible combination when there isn't even a flight, let alone seats.

It also loses all the information with each failed search so everything has to be re-input every time. It is also very difficult talking with the Australian call centre. The line is very bad; faint & crackly every time. The staff are friendly and willing, but unable to help.

Please could you advise the address of a service centre in or around Perth, WA which I could visit, and sit down with an operator and discuss the possibilities? I don't want to lose my award points, but spending them seems to be unnecessarily stressful. I'm going to need another holiday once this is done!
Thank you in advance for your help.
Thank you very much for your e-mail dated August 22th, 2011.

Please note that the postal address for the Flying Blue programme is as follows :

FLYING BLUE F-94852 Ivry-sur-Seine Cedex FRANCE
Tel :  (+33) 1 XX XX XX XX
Fax : + 33 1 XX XX XX XX

We thank you for your continued loyalty to the Flying Blue programme.

Your Flying Blue team
Dear KLM,

I asked for a Flying Blue Service Centre in PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA but I was given a postal address in France. I want to visit a real person in my town, and speak in person to someone who can work your internet booking system. Because I can't.

Please can you help before my award points run out in 10 days' time?

Thank you.
We have attempted to contact you by telephone in order to complete your file. 

Despite our repeated attempts, we have been unable to get in touch with you. 

We would ask you to contact your Flying Blue Customer Service Centre on (+ 44) XXXX XX XX XXX from the United Kingdom as soon as possible.

We thank you for your continued loyalty to the Flying Blue programme.

Your Flying Blue team
Dear KLM,

Thank you for your response. I am sorry the mobile number in my profile was unavailable, but I am currently in Australia not the UK (which is why I wanted a Customer Service Centre in PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA not the UK - or France), and your system does not allow me to put an Australian number in my profile. I have therefore removed all numbers from my profile.

My number is +61 XXX XXX XXX.
We are pleased to inform you that your account has been updated.

You may now visit our websites or to check the data that has been entered. To do this, please go to the "Flying Blue" section and log into "Your account" using your PIN code.

In addition, you can change your profile details directly in your personal membership area.

Your Flying Blue team
Dear KLM,

Thank you for your response.

However you have still not answered my question, and now you have updated my profile incorrectly. The profile is now showing the UK country code (44) with just the end of my Australian mobile number, and you have put it in the wrong field.

I repeat, your system is not capable of taking it.

My original request for the address in PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA for a Customer Services Centre is also still outstanding.

Please, just call me? My number is +61 XXX XXX XXX

I'll post more updates as I get them. I'm gob-smacked that anything called Customer Services could be capable of this level of uselessness and insulting idiocy. They began at rock bottom and have been digging ever since. They would be out of their depth in a puddle. {sigh}

Friday, 19 August 2011

Another blue and white card

I'm doing a swap at the moment, and this month's criteria is blue and white, flowers, and elegant. We have to create 3 cards (unwritten) and a bunch of goodies that fit that description to the next person on the list, and we get the same back in return. I'm including my last two cards, and this is the third. I just adore the cleanness of these Doodlebug papers. Mmm!

It's also for these challenges:
Scrapbook Boutique: ribbon/bow
Stampavie: girlie
Creative Card Crew: hand made flowers (the white flowers are punched and creased)

And for those of you wondering about my beautiful visitor from yesterday, he seemed fine. When twilight came, he made a few oo-oo-oo sounds, and the next time I looked out about 10 minutes later, he was gone. He obviously found somewhere quieter to roost today because the boys got their trampoline back. And blow me, now that they could play out the back, they only wanted to ride their bikes and scooters out the front. Boys.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Tawny Frogmouth

This morning I was lying in bed thinking "I really must get up..." when there was a birdy kerfuffle on the air-con unit on the other side of the bedroom wall. It was a really noisy one; ravens were cawing, magpies were fluting, lots of birdy feet were stomping on the roof, the fence, the tiles. I had to go and see what was happening.

Downstairs outside the lounge window, the cacophony was even louder. There was a mob of big birds all flying around next door's trampoline, scolding and flapping.

Then I spotted this guy, perched on one of the posts underneath the overhang of the house.

It's a tawny frogmouth, a cousin of the owl, and he's supposed to be nocturnal. He's obviously decided that his trampoline post is a good spot for roosting, and that he's well camouflaged, and he was reacting to all the fuss by doing what frogmouths do in defence - pretending to be a tree. They are quite common actually but this is the first time I've seen one outside a zoo, so I was, and am, properly excited. Here he is up close. What an endearingly ugly face.

J next door has obviously spotted him too, because I saw the curtains being pulled about as 3 small boys jostled for the best view. He turned his head slowly and gazed down at them, but being convinced of the effectiveness of his cover, he didn't move.

He's still there 3 hours later. Not that I've got up off the sofa to check lately. I don't have to - every few minutes some more birds fly down and swear at him and then fly off. It's a noisy kind of day out there.

ETA: 4 hours later and the poor blighter is still getting disturbed. I'd have found a quieter place to sleep by now.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Blue & white

Just a quickie, will pad this post out more later...

Creatalicious: 3 patterned papers, 4 flowers and ribbon, also monochrome
Creative Card Crew: handmade flowers
Sketch Saturday: sketch
Stampavie: girlie
A Spoonful of Sugar: Happy Birthday

Bizzy Becs: butterflies and blue
Less Is More: one layer card using ink only (no PC)

Must dash, I have to prepare for singing group tonight and make tea. Back later...

ETA: Well it's tomorrow now! I never got back to my post. See next post for new stuff.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Let's get fruity!

Welcome to challenge #102 on House Mouse and Friends!

The lovely Lorraine Aquilina has chosen the challenge this month with...."Lets Get Fruity"!

Use any of the House-Mouse & Friends stamps that showcases any type of fruit(s) and create a fruity project. Hehee.
The sponsors of this challenge are:
Offering ONE lucky winner - 3 Digi Stamp Sets (excluding the charity set called "Hope")

*** A N D ***

Offering ONE Lucky Winner a $10 Embellishment Gift Package
So that's 2 great prizes!

As a Guest Design Team member for August ;-) here is my card for a little inspiration. I splashed out and went shopping for this challenge, and this is what I got. Isn't it adorable!
For more, have a look at the House Mouse & Friends blog!

I'm entering this into some more challenges as well:
Charisma Cardz: distressing

Friday, 12 August 2011

Patriotic simplicity

This week Less Is More is asking for a card in the colours of our national flag, which, my being English, is red, white and blue. I'll be honest, I have never been less proud of my country than I am now, after those disgraceful riots and looting in London which spread to Bristol and Birmingham. I feel disgusted, and almost ashamed to be English. Maybe after this, our police will be permitted to adminster justice, the schools will be allowed to keep discipline, and parents will be encouraged to teach children the basic principles of respect and right versus wrong, instead of sticking to the ridiculous political correctness which has turned our country into a lily-livered soft-touch and is ruining a generation.

But enough. This blog is about creativity and making the best of things. And this is about the best I could do at this time of night with only hours to spare until the end of the week's challenge. And another broken punch, the second punch I've broken in 2 weeks! It was expensive - over $20 - so it is going back to the store tomorrow. Grr.

I ended up with a die cut by Marianne Design which actually worked even better, a fuschia stamp and sentiment by The Craft's Meow, and liquid pearls. The background card is actually white, but it is pearlescent so the camera has interpreted it as greenish for some bizarre reason. I love how it has turned out.

I'm also entering it into Cute Card Thursday's challenge of "clean and simple", Simon Says Stamp's of "all white" (except for the stamp) and Stampin' for the Weekend's "spots'n'dots".

Citrus Henry

I was working on this yesterday while I was Skyping my Mum. She's quite happy sitting on my craft desk watching what I'm doing while we're chatting away from 9000 miles apart! I decided to give Henry some bright colours to cheer him up on this easel card, along with the buttons and bows which is Whiff of Joy's challenge this fortnight, a sketch from Sketch Saturday and Creative Card Tuesday's "best foot forward".

Christmas in August

I've been so busy this week with extra church work. We had a Parish Council meeting and the resulting minutes had to be typed up, the funeral of one of our elderly parishioners, and another extra meeting to discuss the hymns while I'm back in the UK on my house renovation trip. Between all that and the usual production of the weekly pew sheet and service slides, AND the new Bible Study group, my housework has gone to the dogs. I should be cleaning right now but I have some crafting commitments which will miss their deadline if I don't do them right now. So sorry again DH for the dust.

Here's a quick pile of Christmas cards for Fab's Big Christmas Cards Challenge for August of using a card kit. I got this kit with a magazine - must have been Christmas before last. There are 9 of them which is 1 more than I need for this month, but you know how these things grow so quickly, and you can't stop once you get started. LOL Aren't they colourful?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Summer citrus

Just a very quick card I made for DH's godson, for the Stampavie Summer challenge. I used DCWV Citrus paper, and stamped the sentiment with StazOn on the ribbon. Not very exciting, but the colours are boy colours. I hope he likes it.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Fruity lemonade

I've been really fruity today! I've made a batch of fruit slices with banana, pumpkin, sultanas, prunes and apricots - mmmmm, AND I made 3 and a half jars of lemon curd using eggs from C's chickens, and lemons from her mother D's tree. And yes of course I'm going to take a jar to church on Sunday for C and D. My kitchen smells like lemon heaven right now.

I made the lemon curd to go into a cake I'm making tomorrow for a friend's birthday. I haven't decided yet whether to make a layer cake with the lemon in between the layers, or whether to pipe the lemon curd into the cake mixture before it goes into the oven. I'm hoping for a gooey, marbled effect through the cake, but this is all experimental and it might end up being a gooey mess at the bottom of the cake! I'll let you know how that turns out.

Since I'm a fruit roll, here is this week's Less Is More card with the theme of "feeling fruity", along with Basic Grey's sketch using Lemonade papers. There isn't as much white space as I normally leave with CAS cards, but there's enough and I'm hoping it still qualifies. I used a Kaisercraft stamp and E pearls from Prima.

Monday, 1 August 2011

House Mouse & Friends GDT for August!

Yes, this is what I was hinting at in my last post. I've been invited to be Guest Designer for the House Mouse and Friends Challenge blog for the month of August - and I'm lucky because August has 5 Mondays so that means 3 challenges!

This fortnight the challenge is to create an ATC using, of course, House Mouse, Happy Hoppers or Gruffies stamps. An ATC has to be 2.5"x3.5" in size, which is actually surprisingly difficult.

I used "What?" and "Boring!" because even though Monica is supposed to be yawning with boredom, I thought she could just as easily be singing so I gave her some notes. She is being watched in awe and bemusement by a Friend. I stamped both images onto the card, coloured them with Copic markers, then masked them off before I misted the top of the card with gold and the bottom with Smooch "limolicious" which are not that much different in colour. The music paper was a tiny scrap, the flowers are Prima, the green gem centres are EK Success and the marble centres from Queen & Co.

And slightly tilted to show the glimmeriness.

Now show us what you can do! Create your own mini masterpiece, and link it up to the House Mouse and Friends challenge blog by Monday August 15th, and you'll be in with a chance to win a fabby prize. Good luck!