Friday, 20 April 2012

Online Crop with Shimelle - Challenge 4

After I spent so long on challenge 3, I decided to keep challenge 4 simple :-)  I had the Teresa Collins collection pack that I won recently (Thank you Teresa!) and blue is my most favourite of colours.  So the obvious answer to the question of "What I would mix with yellow and grey?" is going to have to be BLUE!

I cut the yellow flowers out of one of the papers and layered them up with some of the die-cuts from the collection.  Added a few bits and pieces like the navy silk ribbon and I was done.  Another Disney photo scrapped - YEAH!!!!  (only about 900 to go! LOL)  This one didn't photograph so nicely this morning, as the background is Bazzill Thunder - a dark grey & the Thickers are silver foil.  Quick, easy and effective!

Have a magical day!

Online Crop with Shimelle - Challenge 3

Last night I found the energy to scrap and managed to complete TWO more challenges from over at Shimelle's.  It has been an exhausting week but I have been aching to do this challenge ever since it was posted.  Challenge 3 was all about mixing styles.

I knew right away which style I admire and would like to try to incorporate in my own :-)  I just love Amy from Sparkling Gnome Studios.  If you are reading this Amy please don't be embarrassed by what I am about to say :-)  I find Amy's work to be unique and refreshing, where every page carries with it a little piece of her heart.  I know there are others out there who do pages that have similar elements, but in my opinion they often lack soul ... they are designed just for designs sake.  I am inspired when I read Amy's blog.  I have copied a few of her latest layouts so that you can get a feel for what I mean and if I have done it right, clicking on each photo will take you to the full post.


Do you see what I am talking about?????  Now I don't presume to say that I can copy or imitate Amy's style but there are elements that I can try to incorporate into my own layout for the challenge. (On a side note if you ever teach a class Amy and I am nearby - I will be there!  With bells on!!!!)  So I grabbed a few supplies that were laying around and got started.

Lets start with this and see how we go ...
I love the layering and the paints and sprays, but my favourite part has to be all the bits and bobs that end up on the page.  That is where I struggled to come up with ideas, but as I was working on my page I reached a point where I looked at it and liked what I saw ... so I stopped!  No sense adding more if I am happy with what it looks like even though it wasn't where I had intended to finish!  So there are bits of Amy and lots of me in the layout below and I love the way it turned out.  I would have loved 'more' but that is not to be.  In real life the page has a bit of sparkle as I sprayed some Mr Huey's 'Shine' in parts (I love that stuff!!!).  I also had a chance to play with my new Tim Holtz markers.  I used them to stamp the starfish onto the canvas and then softened it with some water.  They stamp beautifully! (P.S. the canvas tag was the back of a store tag on a pair of jeans!)

This has been my favourite challenge all the way down to the silly whimsical clouds!  I bought that paper with the intention of cutting out the clouds and I am glad I did :-)


Monday, 16 April 2012

A Spoon Full Of Sugar ...

I haven't done anywhere near the amount of challenges yet over at Shimelle's that I had wanted to but I will just keep doing them as time permits.  This weekend seemed to slip through my fingers and now that it is Monday afternoon I am so tired I could curl up at my desk and sleep!  (One of the advantages of being self employed is being able to blog at work).  A friend of mine was given tickets to the theatre performance of Mary Poppins for Christmas and she kindly asked me to go with her.  So on Sunday we went to the matinee performance and it was wonderful.  I grew up on the Disney movie Mary Poppins and I in turn have shared it with my kids.  I know every song and at one time I even knew almost every word of the movie.  So imagine my surprise to find the stage musical differed to the movie!  Although it was adapted to the stage by Disney Theatrical in 2004 it contained more scenes than the movie, which I have sense learnt are from the books (which I haven't read).

Once I recovered from my surprise that there was a different song in the opening 20min I decided to forget all that I once knew and just enjoy the show.  And I am glad I did.  There is nothing like seeing a live performance and while the performers do amaze me, my favourite part is watching the stage and how they do all the changes.  I love the intricate sets which change with ease and this show was incredible!  Oh how I would love to build this sort of thing.  Thankfully the stage show didn't meddle with my favourite song or I think I might have cried.  And it probably isn't the song you are expecting :-)  I used to sing this one to my kids as a lullaby.  I have put it below for those of you poor unfortunate people who haven't had the pleasure of enjoying Mary Poppins.

Since I announced my big news about an era coming to an end things have been pretty full on here.  We have had some unexpected offers and are working through them all at the moment.  I don't yet know how I am feeling about some of them as they were never an option I had considered.  In general it has been very pleasant to get positive feedback from people but the rumor mill has started to whirl at full speed, and although some are so funny that my sides hurt from laughing, some are quite serious.  One even claims that The LOML is dieing!  Imagine my children's horror at hearing that one.  Thankfully we were able to catch it quite quickly and the kids new that it wasn't true.  (Thanks go to a quick thinking friend who let me know about it as soon as she heard it)  Not one of the nasty 'click' have even been in to spend their free vouchers, so I think they are either finally feeling bad about the trouble they caused, or they have moved on to someone else.  I hope for that unknown persons sake that they are just laying low.

I have a job interview tomorrow and I don't even know now if I will be available to even take the job as so much is up in the air.  But I am feeling good and getting through each day thankful that we are all healthy (LOL) and happy that their are options.  Thank you to you all for your kind comments.  Isn't it funny how our modern world works.  People have friends all over the world that they haven't even met! And you don't even have to be a nerdy person (although I am) with a pen-pal :-)


Saturday, 14 April 2012

Online Crop with Shimelle - Challenge 2

The second challenge posted over at Shimelle's for the online crop weekend was to use three different collections. This one I found easy to do now that my papers are sorted by colour and not collection.

I used a very old Basic Grey paper that was single sided from the 'Cupcake' collection and added to it an older 12x12 handmade paper (Papermania I think) and a sheet from a 6x12 Cricut pad. Wow! I hadn't intended to use all old papers but it seems that is what I pulled out. Add to that Basic Grey stickers from two collections, K&Co stickers, misc bits and I think I have this one covered :-)

I hand cut the arrow as I wanted to cover up the people in the background (one was helping the other to remove a wet T-shirt!) but I didn't want to crop the photo as the entrance to the Tropical River as part of the story.  I like the way it turned out.

On to the next one :-)

Online crop with Shimelle - Challenge 1

Well it is crafting weekend over at Shimelle's and although I have a busy weekend planned I am going to try and get as many challenges done that I can.  Challenge 1 was to scraplift this layout ...

I started out 'lifting' it but it doesn't really look like I did now.  But I did lift the vertical line and the one photo element from the original.  I really need a new computer so that I can use my 'real' camera for photos, but at the moment the only way for me to get photos up onto the blog is by using my iPhone and uploading them via the blogger app.  So I appologise in advance for the poor quality photos :-)

The best photo was in the bright sunlight so it is a little washed out but at least it doesn't look pink!  I used new papers by Cosmo Cricket (Tea for Two) that have been sitting on my desk for the past week screaming at me to be used!  I just love them.  I started with the vertical line but the photo I wanted to use was a 6x4 and took up so much room that I didn't use any horizontal embellishments.  I stamped a few times directly on the page and then painted crackle paint slightly over it.  This replaced the paper blocks in the original layout.  I doodled 'BFF' around the outside edge of the page but you can only just see it in the photo.

I also made some of my own flowers and added doodled hearts to the page.  I didn't have any matching Thickers and I was feeling too lazy go cut some on my Cricut so I painted some chipboard Thickers that I liked the font of and sprinkled bronze glitter on it.  It is hard to see it in the photo but I like the final result.  It worked the way I had planned it in my head so that is always a bonus!

I can't believe that I got a layout completed last night and this morning even though I was tired.  There have been some great challenges posted so far and there is one in particular that I really want to attempt.  Lets hope my weekend goes smoothly :-)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Egg Hunt

We had a family egg hunt down by the river this afternoon. Boy was it HOT for Easter. It is quite dry down there as summer is coming to an end. In winter this area is muddy and slippery. We hid 200 mini eggs in the trees and leaf litter and about 20 bigger eggs. The older kids were told to leave the really obvious eggs for the two little ones. We picked an area that didn't have long grass to avoid a possible meeting with a snake :-) But instead there was a huge bee hive in one of the trees! We just stayed away from that one LOL

The kids found all but about 20 mini eggs. I think the little gold ones blended in with the dry leaves
too well. My brother laid out some of the eggs in an arrow at the start of the hunt zone. As my nephew came running towards the area he almost ran right past the arrow before noticing it and screeching to a halt to start filling his bag.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon :-)

Happy Easter!

Matthew 28  NLT
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you."
The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel's message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there."

As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, "You must say, `Jesus' disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.' If the governor hears about it, we'll stand up for you so you won't get in trouble." So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

One of my favourite pieces of music is Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and I wanted to share it with you today.  Who would have thought that there were so many versions on You Tube!  But after watching a pile of them I narrowed it down to these two very different performances.  I enjoyed each for different reasons and I hope you enjoy them too.

Have a wonderful Easter Sunday,

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The end of an era and the start of something new ...

I mentioned the other day that I had big news but perhaps I should fill you in on some background first.  You may or may not know that The LOML and I own a papercrafting store.  This is the second one I have owned as the first one was in a small country town in a different country to where we now live.  But this time we went bigger and decided to do it together.  Previously I owned a business at one end of town and he owned a different business at the other end of town.  We often met at a cafe in the middle of town for lunch :-)
My original country town store.  The class room was out the back.

When we returned to Australia we saw the opportunity to do something bigger and better than what was currently available, with much better pricing (I couldn't believe how much local customers were getting ripped off!) and so we did.  It has been a success and to begin with we both enjoyed it very much.  We have a terrific core bunch of customers and I think there has always been a generally good feeling about shopping with us.  Some of the other stores weren't happy as they were forced to lower prices to compete and that is one of the best parts about being in retail.  Seeing prices drop to what they should have been all along and being the one responsible for it!
The day we got the keys to our new store

We worked very hard that first year working 7 days a week and only having public holidays off while building the business.  We then hired someone to take some of the load off and things were going very well.  But the current economic climate is starting to take its toll and this year we had to lay off our employee.  To prevent us having to go back to 7 days a week working we started to close on Sundays.  It has been bliss to have time off together as a family as we had still worked every weekend previously.  The kids come to work with us on weekends and holidays and it just isn't fair on them to continue doing it.  Both of us work upwards of 50 hours a week with no holidays.
We did everything ourselves including designing and building all the stands.

However the thing that has caused the most hurt is the local campaign against me.  About a year ago someone started to spread lies about me throughout the local papercraft industry.  She discovered that although I try to always be nice, I won't allow myself to be manipulated by others.  I won't do something just because she demands it.  There were some nights where all I did was cry.  At times blogging was the only escape from the hurt as NONE of my customers even know this blog exists.  I use a childhood nickname so that my real friends can find me but I remain undiscovered by anyone else.  Through my blog I have found some great online friends who brighten my day just by their comments and their blogs.  I enjoy sharing in the pieces of your lives that you write about and love that you want to share these things with us.  There is a current train of thought in my city that says that to own a papercrafting store you have to create pages that are works of art and weighed down with a bucket load of chipboard and Prima.  But that is just not me and so I can't even share any of my work in the store or the criticism I receive from that group just about destroys me.  When my blogging slowed down is about when I hit rock bottom.
Opening day - looks lots diff now :-)

But you know, I am much better now.  Being home on Sunday has meant I have been able to go back to attending church and I have found strength that I didn't even know was possible.  I started finding joy in the little blessings that pop up both at home and at work, and the weight of the bad started to fade.  And then a light started to appear at the end of the tunnel.  Yes financially we are at our limit.  Our previous home still hasn't sold after three years, and it now isn't even worth the amount it is mortgaged for.  But, someone was interested in buying the business from us.  Research and valuations were done and we were hopeful for a positive outcome.  During all of this we were still confused about our feelings when it came to selling.  Some of the time we were sure it was the right thing to do and then we would have a great time at a craft night and we would think of all we would be missing out on.  And then the sale fell through ...  and we were very disappointed.  That was one way of knowing for sure that we didn't want to be running this business anymore.  If we were meant to keep it we would have been happy.
Set up shops at craft fairs

So this week we told our customers that we are for sale for a brief period, and if we don't sell or enter negotiations in that time, we will be closing at the end of the month.  If that is the case then we will move our store online.  I don't think I have been happier in over a year.  For the past few days I have had customers come in heartbroken that we are doing this, and while I will miss them, I won't miss the 'bricks & mortar' part of the business one bit.  Customers have gotten crankier and harder to please over the past few years and my brother put it well the other day when he said "We now have Christmas customers all year long"!
Hosted The Princess' party in the class room

I must admit that I have been surprised by the supportive and generally positive feedback that we have received on our business Facebook page and by email.  I will miss many of our lovely customers and a few have even become good friends which I will continue to see regularly :-)  I have yet to have any contact or feedback from the 'click' I mentioned earlier, but I am sure that is to come after the Easter weekend.  Discussions about my business are popping up on craft forums everywhere containing plenty of speculation which is proving to be interesting (and comical) reading.  Don't these people realise that store owners are often members of these same forums?????
Held crazy craft-a-thons

Now I look ahead and the future is rosy even if there is still a long road to travel.  Whichever way our lives end up going all will be fine.  We have had some interest in the business so far and only time will tell if they are genuine or just being nosey.  I close up the shop for today in 20min to have two days off in a row with my family.  This is what life is about, spending time with family.  Not working yourself to the bone and dragging your kids along with you.  I have missed out on sharing so much with my kids over the past few years and I am not going to miss out any more.  I know this was a long post but I needed to get it all out.  If you made it this far I am duly impressed :-)

Our most recent shop birthday

Friday, 6 April 2012

Is this what a weekend feels like?

I'm not really sure as I haven't had a whole weekend off in years (except for Christmas). Since January when we decided to close the shop on Sundays we haven't really been able to enjoy them as there have been so many demands on our time. But today we haven't gone anywhere ... And it has been bliss! I love that Good Friday is a holiday here :-)

So this afternoon I scrapped!! I finished my half done page from the other day with the lacing AND I did two more. I am really, really loving the Simple Stories papers. So quick and easy to use. More photos of the boys as new cadets. These were all taken on the night they were issued with their kit. I called one page "Anatomy of a Cadet" as there may come a time when they don't remember the strange names their uniforms have. The Extrovert says it looks like he has been shot in the heart LOL

So it is back to work tomorrow and then two more days off as holidays. I won't know myself come Tuesday!!! I hope to be back Sunday with an Easter post so until then ...

Sorry about the long shadows but it is getting late :-)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A breath of fresh air ...

You may remember that in my last post I mentioned that we had our first rain in 32 days. It has been a loooooong, hot, dry summer. One of the worst on record. Most of you are relishing the move into warmer weather while we are looking forward to cool evenings and some RAIN!

After all that rain the kids and I decided to try our luck mushroom hunting down at the river. They usually come up first thing in the morning and this was on our way home from work. Our chances of finding any were slim at best but the smell of fresh rain was too enticing. Even The Extrovert who doesn't eat mushrooms wanted to get in on the action!

The Thinker lent us a bag (I think he thought it was a lost cause) and The LOML dropped the three of us off near the river. I can't believe how dried up it really was if you looked closely! Even the pond was empty. The Princess, The Extrovert and I hunted and hunted for fresh mushrooms but we were beaten to them. All we found were stalks and only a few at that. Once the weather is cooler and the rain a bit more regular we will hit the bush in the morning and fill a basket with field mushrooms. YUM!

Although I am happy in the city or the country, I am happiest when I have access to open spaces. We are living in suburbia but thankfully the river is two blocks from the house. This is part of the bush we searched in. There was evidence of some minor flash flooding as parched earth tends to repel water. You can also see The Princess stopping for a quick swing as we walked up the hill to our home.

I will have some news to share later this week, but I am currently on a high :-) Let's see how tomorrow pans out as the news was only 'released' tonight.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

First Cadet Camp - Shimelle's Sketch of the Week

If you have been reading my blog you will remember that a few Sunday's ago I managed to have some time crafting with friends.  I mentioned it in the post with the deviled egg chicks ... the ones with the 'evil' eyes!  I was so unorganised for that afternoon with friends (except for the food!) that I just grabbed random things and threw them into my craft tote.  I had the new Simple Stories collection 'Awesome' and thought that it would go well with some cadet photos.  As I had watched Shimelle's sketch of the week video only the day before, her sketch was fresh in my mind and so I used it for these two photos of the boys getting ready to leave on their first cadet camp.  I went outside to take this photo this morning in the sunlight and everything was WET!  Beautiful! It was our first rain in 32 days, so I propped it on the windowsill as I was not expecting water everywhere :-)

In some ways I feel like I cheated a little bit as so many of the Simple Stories papers are already collaged.  The right side of the layout was almost all pre-done!  But I think that is why I was drawn to this range.  Time is very short at the moment and this page was quite quick to complete.  In my mad rush to pack I grabbed a container that was labeled 'alphas' and threw it into my bag.  It was not the one I had thought it was and it was full of the old 12x12 sheets of cut out letters.  However, these were perfect for my page and another great example of using up my old stash.  I pulled these out of one of those HOTP 12x12 books when I reorganised all my papers a while back.  Remember when I filled half the house with papers and re-sorted them by colour?  These ended up in that plastic container then and then I promptly forgot about them!

A bit of stamping and stitching and I was done.  I only got another half a page finished in the 5 hours we were crafting together.  I think I did too much laughing and talking!!!!  But a great sketch and some easy to use papers and this layout at least didn't take me too long.  Maybe it was the hand stitching on the next one that took the time????


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Recycled Denim Bag

I hopped on to blogger to write this post to find my blog had been removed!!!!!!  I could have cried :-(  It turned out blogger had taken my blog down due to 'suspicious' activity.  WOW!  I have a bit of a blogging break and when I start posting again more regularly they call it suspicious!  But it is all fixed now and hopefully back up permanently.  Now to my intended post ...

It was my niece's 14th birthday on Saturday and I wanted to give her a present I thought she would really like but I didn't want to spend any money on it (not because I am a scrooge, but because money is just tight at the moment).  The notebook cover I gave her at Christmas with a movie ticket wasn't a big hit so I was a bit nervous about making her anything else.  A few weeks ago i saw a really cool bag on Pinterest made from recycled jeans that was constructed from a pattern.  But when I went to see if I could buy the pattern it was going to cost me $25 including postage!  I googled lots of free bag patterns but none suited my purpose so I decided to make up my own.

It is a simple construction but I really like the way it turned out.  It is made mostly from the top part of a pair of jeans that no longer fit me, but I only used the back and half the front.  I kept most of that part intact as I thought why ruin the stitching someone else has already done.  I even left the zipper in for a bit of texture and the left side of the bag is actually the button hole part of the jeans front.  After I made the bag I blinged it up with pink and clear rhinestones.  The 'B' is for her name.  The strap is the long side seam of one leg cut off and sewn into a tube.  I must be the right height for the perfect shoulder strap as it was exactly the size I wanted!

I removed the pocket that would have bent around the side and added it to the lining on the inside.  I also blinged the outside pocket.  The bag does have sides and a bottom, made by just sewing a triangle point on each side seam.

The back part of the inside had a strip of denim containing the brand and the SIZE!!!!  I couldn't remove it as it is pinned in place by two studs.  So I cut it out  and sewed in a strip of pink grosgrain with a keyring.  I find this kind of thing so useful for clipping my keys to so that they don't get lost in the buttomless pit!  I quite like how it turned out.  You can see the pocket on the lining in this picture.

And she loved it too!  I know this for sure because she was using it when she came to my nephew's birthday party.  She had filled each of the pockets with stuff and crammed her swimming stuff into it :-)  Now it seems everyone wants one but I don't have that many jeans that don't fit any more ... soon maybe :-)


Stroytelling Sunday April

This month Storytelling Sunday with Sian crept up on me quite suddenly.  I have sat here drumming my fingers on the keyboard considering my story options.  As it is April Fools day I could regale you with tales of pranks and tricks from my childhood.  I would be sure to bring a smile to your face with adventures involving soap that makes your hands dirty, bi-carb soda replacing sugar, toilet paper, and my personal favourite vaseline with cling film (can you work that one out???).  However, today is more than just pranks, it is also the anniversary of my paternal Grandparents wedding and the birthday of my gorgeous nephew.

There is a story behind my Grandparents meeting and wedding which has remained a bit of a secret all my life.  I think it is perhaps time I asked my Grandma about it ... before she is too old to remember any more.  She caused quite a scandal marrying a divorcee in 1951 but it wasn't until I was 15 and a different part of the story was printed on the front page of the national newspaper, that I found out he also had a family with his first wife! But regardless of the mystery surrounding their early years together I finally got my hands on their wedding photo last year when they celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary!

All I can think about when I see this photo is Grandma's gigantic bouquet!!!!  Grandpa certainly looks very happy.  They are both still alive now although Grandpa has finally had to move into a home just recently.  They had five children together and have lived a happy life.  They now also have 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren!  We are a very rowdy bunch when we all get together :-)

Many years latter one of their great grandchildren was born on their anniversary.  Happy 5th Birthday to my beautiful nephew ...

We went to his house for a BBQ and the kids had what will probably be their last swim of the summer as the weather has FINALLY started to turn.  A short story today with a few pictures.

(-: ǝɹǝɥ ob ooʇ ʇxǝʇ ɹnoʎ dıןɟ oʇ ʇuɐʍ noʎ ɟı ˙s˙d
¡ɹǝpun uʍop puɐן ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ sןooɟ ןıɹdɐ ʎddɐɥ ˙ɥʇuoɯ sıɥʇ ʎɐpuns buıןןǝʇʎɹoʇs ɹoɟ ǝɯ ɯoɹɟ ןןɐ s,ʇɐɥʇ