Tuesday, 31 August 2010

National Stepfamily Day - September 16th

In the United States at least, September 16 is "National Stepfamily Day". A day dedicated to stepfamilies.

Being a step-parent is a huge resposibility and undertaking. There are many pitfalls and it takes a lot of effort to make things work. Two of my nephews were brought up with a stepfather, not entirely successfully. My '
Brother in Law clearly favoured his own two children over his stepchildren and as an outsider, I can see huge differences in character between the two pairs of children. Of course there are other factors involved and I don't see everything that goes on, but in some ways his influence is very apparent. That's not to say that there is anything wrong with my older nephews, on the contrary, to me they seem more respectful and less 'arrogant' than their younger siblings.

I also found myself in the situation of being a stepparent temporarily. I found it very difficult indeed. Not being the biological parent, I felt that I had no rights to discipline nor guide and tried to remain detached from those aspects of the role. But when a child looks to you as the 'supervising adult', 'stepmother', etc.,  it makes it very difficult.  There was a definite tendancy for me to try to be more of a friend than a parent, but sometimes the responsibility was unavoidable. When I gave my permission for the kids to do something that they wanted to do (usually only in the absence of their father) things were great. However, when I asked/told them not to do things that were wrong/dangerous/inconsiderate, the resentment started.
I wasn't a perfect stepmom, I never had children of my own and have never wanted to have children of my own. Unfortunately and with hindsight, that may have implied to those kids that I didn't want THEM, which really wasn't the case, I just wanted everyone to know that it was all new to me and that it might take a LOT of practice to get it right. I did the best that I could in the unusual and imperfect circumstances that were given, and where I made mistakes I have to live with that and learn from it.

I have a lot of respect for Step-parents, and Foster Parents, it's really not an easy job. Kudos to those who do it successfully.

Stepmoms button

Stepmoms Button

See more Stepfamily greetings cards and gifts here.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Lennox Castle & Kirk O' Shotts Combined for a Spooky Image

I've been creating some halloween designs for invitations, candy bags etc., and was concentrating on cute cartoonish designs for kids. But, I wanted to promote some more spooky designs on another blog and really couldn't find all that many. Someone mentioned something that got me thinking about a couple of images that I photoshopped together a long time ago, just for fun. I went back and made it into an invitation, but thinking about the image and describing it got me riled up. Here's the invitation:

Nothing to get riled up about right? Well, the building in the image is Lennox Castle, Lennoxtown, by Glasgow, Scotland, overlooking the Campsie Hills. It was built in 1843 for John Lennox Kincaid, the sixth Laird of Balcorrach and would-be  Earl of Lennox (financial difficulties prevented him attaining the latter).

In 1927 the castle was purchased by the Glasgow Corporation and converted into a mental assylum, ultimately run by the NHS. At various times it was used as an emergency war hospital and also had a maternity ward. During the 1970s, the hospital had over 1600 patients in residence.

Between the 1990s and 2002, Greater Glasgow Health Board closed down the hospital in phases. The land was to be used to build housing (Celtic Football Club's training ground is also on the site) and the castle left to decay. The catsle was given 'Listed' status (Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest) requiring that it may not be demolishe, extended or altered without  special permission from the local planning authority. In May 2008 a fire ripped through the castle, requiring 13 Fire Service vehicles to attend in an attempt to get the blaze under control. According to Buildings at Risk the castle is currently owned by a development company based in Northern Ireland and as of 2009 they were in talks with the Local Planning Authority regarding restoration works. At present, the castle sits with it's two front towers demolished, carved through into the main building.

The 'ghost' in the invitation image comes from the graveyard at the Kirk O' Shotts Parish Church, Salsburgh. Kirk O' Shott's was once known as St. Catherines Chapel but following the reformation in 1560 it became a Protestant Church. Around 2005 the Church was in danger of being closed due to it's state of dis-repair. For a long time, a banner could be seen from the M8 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, hung from the side of the landmark building and reading "Save our Church". Over half a million pounds was needed to bring the building back up to required standards with funding coming from Church of Scotland, Historic Scotland, and members of the community. The church was re-dedicated in 2007. One of the many intersesting gravestones at the Kirk O'Shotts reads: Here lyes the bones of William Smith, who lived at Moremellon, who with others appeared in arms at Pentland Hills in defence of Scotland’s Covenanted Word of God in opposition to popery, prelacy, and perjury, and was murdered on his return home near this place.

It's sad to think how easily our heritage can be lost, so many wonderful building in Scotland lie in ruin. Thankfully the Kirk was saved, but what of the others?

Scarecrow Jack Halloween Party Invitation invitation

Scarecrow Jack Halloween
Party Invitation

Friday, 27 August 2010

Zombie Invasion

I came across this somewhere online, a paper detailing the mathematical modelling of a zombie invasion by Jarett Diamond.  Very amusing (in my mind at least), here's an extract:

"The Zombie Invasion scenario has been a common trope in American popular culture for
decades. In one version, the outbreak begins with a mutant virus introduced to a small
population of humans. The virus kills those whom it infects, and after a period of time, causes
them to rise from the dead with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Decaying mockeries of
human life, these walking undead are insensible to cold, heat, fatigue, or fear. Mindless, they
possess only the most basic instinct to feed upon the living."

Read the whole paper here.

Considering my recent sleeping problems, I kinda feel like a zombie myself, lol.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Grab a Bargain on these sweet mugs - 15% Off until 30/8

15% of the mug net sale price will be deducted when one or more mug items is purchased and the coupon code BTSRULE5MUGS is applied at checkout. The net sale price is the price of the product (excluding shipping and taxes). Offer is valid from August 23, 2010 through August 30, 2010 at 11:59pm PT. This offer does not apply to past purchases and may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or volume discount offers. If a volume discount applies to your order, you will receive either the discount set forth in this offer or the standard volume discount, whichever is greater. Offer valid on Zazzle.com only.

Candy Colors mug
View other Blocks Mugs

Circles & Shades Coffee Mug mug

Coffee Trees mug

Dragon before Coffee mug

Art Nouveau Rose Mug mug
View other Style Mugs

Art Nouveau Roses Pattern Mug mug
Browse Art Mugs

Make photo mugs on Zazzle

Browse more Hippy Mugs

Monday, 23 August 2010

You've got to Sleep...

I went to bed pretty late, 2am actually, tossed and turned for a while and then finally drifted off. 4am 'PING'. I was awake again after a disturbing dream about something from my past that I haven't though about in goodness knows how long. I tried not to think about it and to get back to sleep, but then other things from my past came to mind and disturbed me too.

People tell me "you have to learn to relax", "you have to get some rest", "TRY to sleep". Well dang it, I'm 38 years old and have had trouble sleeping for as long as I can remember, and, I've tried just about everything there is to TRY to sleep. So if it were possible for me to sleep like a 'normal' person, then I think I might have found out how to do it by now.

Sleeping tablets worked great: the first night. The first time I ever took a sleeping tablet I was told to take it a half hour before going to bed and I literally had to crawl up the stairs fifteen minutes later. I slept like a baby right through the night and woke up a full 8 hours later to the sound of my alarm. That night I took another tablet and half an hour later was still wide awake. An hour later I was still wide awake. I barely got any sleep at all that night. The next night I took two tablets and fell asleep after a couple of hours worth of tossing and turning, then awoke the next day feeling as though I were drunk. In all, I have had six different types of sleeping tablets from my doctor and not one of them will work for me beyond a night or two.

I do have problems relaxing. It's almost impossible for my brain to 'switch off'. I constantly think about things, overthink them in fact. I find it very difficult to sit and watch television even; I usually find that I have to be doing something else at the same time, be that writing, drawing or, working at the computer. I have a drawer full of relaxation CDs, some just music, other guided relaxation. Again they will work perhaps the first few nights, but once I know them and know what is coming next, my mind drifts off onto thinking about the type of things that keep me awake.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The New Paperboy ;oP

I like to think of this cute little doggy as my own. He actually belongs to my boyfriend's dad but when I visit he's my constant companion (I'm a soft touch and he knows it, lol)

Corkey Joe is even featured on some of the products I have on zazzle:

Monday, 16 August 2010

Halloween in the USA?

Well it seems that I may be spending my first Halloweein in the USA, if all goes according to plan. I have already spent some of the major holidays over there; Thanksgiving was first up in 2007 and apart from not having to worry about gifts, I found it all pretty much like Christmas. I've also spent Christmas, New Years and 4th July in the past. The problem with going is the amount of time I have spent there in the last 3 years, and the duration of my propsed stay. Since November 2007 I have spent a total of approximately 9 months in the USA, split over 4 trips. The last time I went was for 4 weeks over Christmas and New Year 2009 and the immigration service at my POE got rather suspicious of me. The initial Cutoms Official I dealt with decided that she couldn't make the call and I was sent off to wait for two hours before being quizzed by another official, almost missing my connecting flight. It was incredibly nerve wracking. I'm an honest person with no intention of staying in the USA illeglly, but they don't know me from Adam so I can understand their suspicions. It just makes me rather nervous about travelling there again. Even having bank and mortgage statements to show, how does one prove beyond a doubt that they intend to leave the country again once the scheduled trip is over? I think it's going to be a case of gathering what paperwork I can, crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best.


Greeting Card


Candy Swag Bag

Candy Swag Bag

Trick or Treat bags

Swag Bag

Witch Bag


Witchy magnet

Witchy Magnet

Bummper Sticker