Monday, 30 July 2012

Sending warm thank you wishes ...

Friday afternoon as The LOML picks me up from work after playing dad's taxi for the afternoon, his first question is "Who do you know in Spain?".  That had me stumped for a bit and then I remembered an email from the lovely Alison over at Life in the Slow Lane asking for my address so that she could send me some happy mail :-)  And boy was it VERY happy mail!!!!!  Here is my package tied up with string (are you singing the song in your head now????? The one from The Sound of Music???)...

Isn't that the cutest card?  The Princess loved the sentiment, she said the paper looks like sunshine.  And here is what the package contained ... 

I am loving those butterflies.  The Princess has fallen in love with the 'wish' title and I have a feeling that it will end up on one of her layouts :-)  It was a very lovely surprise on a Friday evening ... Thank you Alison!!!!!!!!  It is amazing how much a little package can brighten your day.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sadly there hasn't been any crafting here ...

The last week of the kids school holidays and The Princess and I weren't able to craft together.  That hasn't stopped The Princess from squeezing in some crafting fun, but none for me.  The LOML had a wisdom tooth removed on Wednesday and it didn't come out as easily as hoped.  He is finally getting up and about today and with one thing and another he has been out of action for most of the month.  I was only home one evening this week as each night had its own set of errands that had to get sorted.  I don't know how single parents do it every day.  I am exhausted!!!  It probably doesn't help that I had to do the work of two at the shop either :-)  But the kids are ready for a new school term AND we are ready for our guest to arrive on Tuesday.

A little while ago we agreed to host a Japanese exchange student.  He arrives on Tuesday and is with us for 10 days.  While we are all looking forward to it (and have just finished re-arranging The Extrovert's bedroom to fit a second mattress) I am very happy that it is only for 10 days.  I don't think I could cope if it was much longer after the past month.  The Extrovert learns Japanese at school and he is hoping to be chosen to go on exchange next year.  This will provide him with a great opportunity to get in some practise with a native speaker.  Hiroyuki said that he only speaks a little English in his email to us last week and I am hoping that he is just being modest.  Otherwise it could be interesting :-)  Either way it is going to be a VERY fun two weeks.  (The other two children learn Indonesian and we are blessed to have a native speaker in the family for practise and three others who speak it fluently)

Today we took a brief break and celebrated Nephew 3's 4th birthday.  All the cousins had a fun time and we laughed lots.  The Extrovert entertained everyone with jokes and dramatics.  Nephew 2 & 3 love him for it.  But he really does love little kids.  This morning was his first morning volunteering in the creche at church.  The leader was very impressed with him and the kids all love him already anyway.

Happy 4th Birthday to my monkey!

The sun was shining today and it was lovely to sit in the sun and just soak it up.  The weather was perfect and I would love it to be like today everyday!  I may have even gotten just a teeny bit sun-burnt LOL

Off to write a menu for the week and sort out some groceries.  Counterfeiting will just have to wait for a little bit :-)

Have a safe and wonderful day,

Monday, 16 July 2012

July Craft-a-thon

Way back in June (it feels like such a long time ago) we planned a 12hr Craft-a-thon at the shop for the 7th of July.  I really wanted to theme it and do something different so we had a "Stars & Stripes Craft-a-thon" so that I could have lots of fun with the theme.  However, as anti-American sentiment can rear its ugly head here from time to time, we only loosely Americanised it.  I didn't even hang up my flag.

I wanted to share some of my favourite loves with some of my favourite customers.  It was our quietest Craft-a-thon ever but most of my friends were there and we had a great time.  In a way I am glad that it was quieter than normal (only half full) as The LOML had only come out of hospital a few days before and I had to do all the prep myself.

The Princess helped me with the decorations as she finished school a day before the boys.  She cut stars on the Eclips and made the toppers for the candy bags.  Here are the decorations we whipped up together while at the shop ... 

There are streamers everywhere coming down from the centre of the ceiling.

In the week before the Craft-a-thon we baked cookies for the ladies (and some extra to take to the hospital!).  None of them had ever had a Snickerdoodle before ... my all time favourite!  We also made peanut butter cookies.  Both were a huge hit and we had them for afternoon tea.

My cousin in NY kindly went grocery shopping for me and sent me a HUGE box fully of my favs.  I shared some with the ladies in their candy bag.  They had red vines, tootsie rolls, hot tamales, and Hershey's chocolate minis.  It might not seem like much but the box cost more than twice the cost of the candy in postage!

For lunch I made them a "Pot Luck".  Now I know that normally that means that everyone brings a dish to share but I wanted to make things that they probably hadn't had before.  As there wasn't the normal number of people I had to cut back on the choices but we had chilli, corn bread, my Grandma's potato salad, and sweet potato crunch.  It was a huge hit!!!  None of them had even had corn bread before!  I shall have to remember to photograph the sweet potato crunch and share the recipe on here.  It is a family favourite and soooooo yummy.  They were all fighting over the last bit.

But my biggest surprise of the night was supper.  I made a pumpkin pie (which they had never tried either!) and I made a s'more bar!!!!!!  I had seen it on Pinterest and I so wanted to make one.  My cousin also included some graham crackers in the box as you can't get them over here and there isn't anything quite like them.  And so we toasted marshmallows and made s'mores in the store.  Here I am setting up the bar ...

 We had such a great time making s'mores.  Only one or two of them (there were 12 there all up) even knew what a s'more was so I made the first one and 'educated' them all.  I think they are all addicted now!!!  A few of them want to have one at their next party!  I still can't believe we lit flames in a paper craft shop!

Oh, what fun it was and it really helped to have a happy event at the end of those two weeks.  I hope that those of you celebrating the 4th of July had a wonderful day, albeit a bit late :-)


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Counterfeit Kit July - Three!

I saw that there was a Sketch Challenge over at the CKC site (see link on the right!) using a sketch from PageMaps.  I started out planning to follow it, but as I was using two photos that were different orientations I changed it.  Here is the sketch ...

And here is my version ...

I am so proud of myself - I have now used all THREE Cricut cartridges I put in the kit.  The car is from Summer Vacation.  I even used three swirly metal clips that have been in my stash for what feels like forever!  All of our pre-digital photos have been packed for the past three years and when I had to find a photo of my Grandpa a few weeks ago it gave me the push I needed to FIND the box with the photos (we are still in a 'temporary' rental ... can't wait until we will be one day be settled again in our own house!).  I am so happy to be getting back to these photos.  None of my kids baby photos are scrapped and I really want to get that remedied.  Already printed photos just waiting to be scrapped seems to have given me a boost in morale :-)  I used my most favourite supply at the moment on this layout ... Mr Huey Shine spray!!  I love the stuff and have just had to buy my second bottle.  It jazzes up everything with LOTS of shine and sparkle.  Far more than any other one I have tried.  All of the 'white' marks on the car are actually shiny!
So after completing this layout Saturday night I got engrossed in a Star Trek movie and didn't do anything else even though the TV is right next to my craft space!  So this morning I took stock of what papers are left from my kit and this is what I had left ...

I am quite impressed with what I have used so far.  I have added more card stock as needed, plus a few scraps but still seem to have plenty left!  So here is ANOTHER layout featuring The Thinker's second birthday.  Birthday's when the kids were little were always busy as they have four sets of Grandparents who don't always get along (although they are much better now).  We had lunch at McDonald's with my dad.  This suited the boys just fine as they played in playland and we still had cake :-)

I used the washi tape to created a pleated strip at the bottom.  It is so easy to do this as the tape is already sticky and if you stick it wrong, you just lift it back up!  I then layered two strips of the orange washi tape on top of each other to make it less transparent.  It added a nice bit of texture without making it thick, which ribbon tends to do when you pleat it.  While I don't mind lumps and bumps on my pages, I am more of a flat-ish scrapper as space for albums is limited!  I have a friend who can't usually fit more than 10 layouts in an album LOL  I very rarely go that thick!

I printed the photo that The Princess was waiting for at work on Saturday and here is her final layout from her kit. 

The kids have to come to work with us on Saturday's and in the afternoon I set up The Princess on YouTube to watch some Glitter Girl videos, along with some other ones by Shimelle.  She loves them and last night all I heard was "Did you know ... ?" or "Glitter Girl said ..."!!!  But it was good to see that she was listening and that it has finally encouraged her to write something on her layouts (but only because it wasn't mommy telling her to!).  The Princess has a form of dyslexia that makes it hard for her to get the words she wants to say written down.  She knows exactly what she wants to say, but struggles to get more than four words on the page as her mind draws a blank every time she picks up a pen.  It is very frustrating for her and she is really trying hard using lots of recommended techniques.  Here are her latest creations.

There is only one week left of school holidays and then we won't have this much crafting time together again until the next school holidays.  Thank you for indulging us :-D


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Counterfeit Kit July - Two!

Yippee!!  I have a Counterfeit Kit TWO post!!!  I haven't had this much fun in ages and I am so glad I am playing along.  The Princess was very excited by all your comments, so thank you for taking the time to mention her.  She still can't believe it.  We both have more to share with this months kit and my first one is a double page.  I don't normally do doubles but there was a series of four photos so a double seemed the way to go.  

I used three more of my pre-cut Cricut cuts - all from Graphically Speaking.  The border of two's at the bottom, "life's little" at the top and the "moments" at the bottom.  Remember that these were all grey to start with.

These are 'bluer' than they should be (all of the photos this time are) ... I really need to find better natural light :-)

There isn't a great deal to this double and so you think it would have been quick ... nope!  Doubles really make my mind hit a brick wall.

After all these boy layouts from the same event I was getting bored so I pulled out the one flowery paper in my kit and found a photo from another event.  This is still a pre-digital print with only one photo from the day.  

I cut a Cricut title and just built layers with scraps.  I did add the flowers and trims to my kit as I hadn't originally put any in.  The background paper for this layout is probably about 5-6 years old.  I am so happy that it has made it into my albums.  I have so many papers ... I think I have a slight addiction ... well maybe a HUGE one LOL ... and now I am using them!!!!!

So the 'girly' layout was done and I could go back to The Thinker's second birthday and get some more of those ones done.  I had fun with this and even turned the washi tape into bunting (flags)!  I also cut MORE stuff on my Cricut (graphically speaking again!) as I wanted an arrow and the word "pure" just leapt out of the handbook screaming "use me!".  You can't really see it here but in the photo The Thinker has the cutest look of joy on his face.

The Princess had only made a little kit and she has made a second layout (but she doesn't want me to photograph it yet as we are waiting for a photo to be printed)  and then from the scraps she made a door hanger that tells the boys that it is a "Girls Room ONLY", and two little cards.

And that was The Princess' kit finished.  We have really enjoyed doing this together and as there is still a week left of the school holidays I took her shopping for a few more bits and pieces.  Now she is busily making more layouts and cards using some of the Papermania Lucy Cromwell range.  I am sure she is going to want me to add them here too when they are done.  

It is my day off tomorrow and I shall be planning more crafting ... I still can't believe how much I have gotten done this week!  And I feel so much more relaxed.

Happy Crafting,

Friday, 13 July 2012


I started this post two weeks ago before all of the unexpected events took place, and as I see it is still here in my drafts, I thought I had better get to posting it!!  Both boys sat their test about a month ago now and were promoted to 'Cadet'!!!!! They have been 'Recruits' since they joined Army Cadets last November and they are very happy to finally have their KFF (hat!).  There were each presented with a certificate, KFF and a Rising Sun. They are both very excited and there has been much 'bashing' of hats to get them the right shape.  They even sprayed them with sugar water and ironed the rim!!!!  Who would have thought they would need to do that ... the poor iron needed a clean after that.

My two cadets!

Rising Sun


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Counterfeit Kit Layouts - 1

Well I have my first two layouts done.  I am quite happy with them and they are VERY different!!!  After the past few weeks I haven't really felt like crafting and so as I sat down to begin I was very un-inspired.  Enter a sketch by Creative Scrappers and I was off and running ...

I think I just needed somewhere to start.  I like how it turned out and I even used one of my pre cut cricut shapes.  I used the 'two' and dragged an aqua ink pad over the top of it.  It highlighted the edges and showed the striped texture.  These photos were taken in 2000, long before we had a digital camera, and were printed way back then. (As you can see, I am a LONG way behind hehehe!!)  After completing this page I have discovered that I haven't put enough embellishments in my kit.  I either need to make some more or add in some more die-cuts.

My next page took a completely different turn as I played with my paints and sprays.  I like it!!!!  And it was lots of fun to do!!! :-)  However, it won't lay flat so it is kind of odd shaped in the photo.

I used another Cricut cut (Built Tough) and heat embossed it with one of my fav UTEEs (Suet Silver by Blonde Moments - I think they are now gone).  I only did one layer so that it would look textured.  I am not sure if I am finished with it yet ... I may add a bit here and there ... not sure yet.  I wrote on the washi tape, added some more spraying and gauze, and just played.

The Princess also finished her first page with a photo from a friends birthday party a few years ago.  The colour is a bit off as the sheet behind is white but it was only just after sunrise when we went out to take this picture.  It is winter here and it is dark when we get home and not really light yet when we get up :-)  She is really enjoying playing along and decided she can squeeze another page out of her kit.

She liked the packaging on this brad so much that she left it on :-)  I love her enthusiasm.  She asks every evening "Are we going to go craft tonight?!!!  I have moved my sewing machine so that she has space instead using her desk in her room.  Winter in our part of Australia is very short and not overly cold except for a month or two.  The only problem with this is that houses are not built for the cold ... there is no central heating and very little insulation against the cold.  We have a heater in our craft area to make it nice and cosy!

The other night The LOML came in and snapped this photo of us crafting ... don't scroll down if you don't want to see me in my robe!!!  LOL

We had an afternoon off today and went to see 'Brave' at the cinema.  It was hilarious!!!!  It was such a relaxing time.  I titled this post with a '1' in it, so I better head off and see about making some more layouts to be able to write a '2' post!


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Counterfeit Kit July

Just a quick post today as I wanted to jump in with this challenge but time to blog at the moment is limited!  I have followed Susanne over at Snaps and Snippets for a little while now and she is a Master Forger in something called the Counterfeit Kit Challenge.  Now that I have a computer I actually clicked the link last month and ended up at their blog.  It is a great concept ... be inspired by a great past kit and use your own stash to make up your own kit.  A fabulous stash busting idea!!!!!!  So this month I thought I would join in.  The inspiration kit was the June kit from Citrus Twist  which was a lovely kit using beautiful MME papers as a central theme.  However, I have LOADS of older papers that I want to use and they don't have chevrons.  So to make my kit I rummaged through my multi-coloured papers and chose the paisley and star from an old MME collection as my starting point.  The kit then built itself from there.  This was so much fun to make!!
My Papers
I think there are only a few newer papers in there and most are so old that they are single sided!  The last two sheets on the right are only partial sheets and they came from my scraps.  This is a very boy pack so I included one more 'girly' print in the form of a IOD for Prima paper in the middle.  Once I had my papers chosen I thought that I would look for photos to scrap to help with embellishment choices.  I decided on photos from The Thinkers 2nd Birthday (he is now 13!).

I chose three Cricut cartridges as I really do need to use them more.  One is an Alpha and will be my main alphabet.  There are also some stamp sets and various other bits and pieces.  Some are older (like the ancient alpha stickers with the white background - prob nearly 10 years old!!) and some are brand new (like the Prima Mini Alphas).  I use paints, inks and sprays as standard tools so I didn't include any of them.

As it was quite late by the time I had finished all of this I didn't want to start creating but I also didn't want to finish just then, so I decided to pre-cut some Cricut shapes.  I used Graphically Speaking and cut some of the designs I think I will use with these photos in a light grey Bazzill.  I know that I can alter this colour to match in with my layouts and now I am one step closer to actually USING my cartridge with this kit.
Cricut Cuts
So lets see how this month goes, but I am quite excited to be joining in.  The Princess wanted to know what I was doing and loved the idea so much she put together her own kit from her supplies.  I have added it below as she is also very excited to be joining in too!  :-)

The Princess' Kit!!

Gotta fly as I am now running late!!!!  Have a great day ...

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The past week ...

I shall never again make a declaration to blog more ... it seems that I end up asking for trouble!!!  Don't get me wrong, life is still good but this week has been a roller coaster!!  But there is a happy ending, I promise :-)

Although my Grandpa's passing was expected it still took me by surprise.  I think I was affected more than I thought I would be.  When someone is dying for such a long time, and they bounce back after every turn for the worst, you start to believe that they are invincible.  So it did take the wind out of my sails when I got that phone call.  Thank you all for your words of support on my last post, they meant the world to me.

When I wrote the Storytelling Sunday post I already had more to say but I didn't want to cause any concern for non regular readers so I left it off.  We had to work the morning of the funeral but thankfully our new business partner was able to cover us for the rest of Monday so I could spend time with my family.  The kids had chosen to come to the funeral so we were all at the shop Monday morning.  The LOML had taken The Thinker over to the shopping centre to get a hair cut as he was looking very untidy (he says that is my definition and not his LOL).  While over there The LOML started to feel unwell (similar to how he felt just over a year ago) but like most of us stubborn individuals he refused to acknowledge that anything was happening and still drove through drive thru for our snack.  By the time he returned to the shop he was really looking bad and The Thinker was very worried and upset.  Within the next 20min he had started to go downhill with similar symptoms to last time, shortness of breathe/paralysis/tingling.  We decided to call an ambulance as they had put it down to a very mild stroke last time because they couldn't find anything wrong otherwise.  It was not expected to happen again.

I phoned my dad and told him what was happening and that I was not even sure if I would make the funeral.  I couldn't get hold of my mom to come and get the kids as she was already on her way to the funeral and is notorious for not carrying her phone around.  By the time the ambulance arrived The LOML was unable to stand unsupported.  The paramedics were wonderful and got him onto the bed and in the ambulance very quickly.  They told me it would be awhile before I would be able to see him in the Emergency Department and last time it was nearly 3 hours before I was allowed in.  They recommended that I wait and phone the emergency department in an hour to see how things were going.  So I drove the kids up the the funeral home to drop them off to my mom and sat in for the last half of the service.  I am glad that I made it just for that little bit.  All of the family asked after The LOML as they had all heard the news by then. When I phoned Emergency the doctor said he was stable but that they were still assessing him and it would be awhile yet before he would be allowed visitors.

I am not one who 'waits' well.  I need to be doing things.  Sitting in the Emergency waiting room surrounded by sick people in the middle of one of the worst flu seasons in years was not appealing.  So I drove the children to the wake and my mom would take them home from there.  My dad was glad I was there.  I helped serve some of the food, refill drinks and just chit-chat.  I left after a little bit and decided to take the train to the hospital.  It is situated right in the city centre and parking there is highway robbery, not to mention the traffic you have to sit in.  Park & Ride is a great invention (especially when the parking is free)!!!  I was at the hospital in less than 15 min as the train station is right next door.  Just as I was walking in the door The LOML texted me 'hello'.  I knew then that he was all ok!!!  He had just been moved out of Emergency and was in a holding area until a bed was allocated.  They were keeping him in for tests but he was looking very good and almost back to his normal self.

A train ride back out of the city to pack an overnight bag, then another one back in with the kids, and my very eventful day was almost over!!!  When we left the hospital for the last time that night at 7pm he still hadn't been allocated a bed.  Every hospital is currently packed with people with severe flu and related complications.  He did later get a bed in the general ward.  After many more tests and consults The LOML finally came home Thursday evening.  It is great to have him home.  They are still guessing as to what it is, but hopefully they have it right this time and it won't happen again!  He is still tired as you never get much sleep in a hospital and one of the men on his ward was just a little nuts :-)  We are all happy to have him home and well.

See, I told you it was a happy ending :-)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Storytelling Sunday - July

Welcome to storytelling Sunday (all be it just a little late!) for July.  If you would like to know more about it, or to join in on the first Sunday of each month with your own story, then head on over to Sian at From High In The Sky for more details.

In light of events this past week I dedicate this story to my Grandpa ...

Grandpa & I
My Grandpa was born in a mining town in North Yorkshire in July 1916, the middle child of three.  Both his parents died within months of each other when he was a youngster and he and his siblings became what are now known as 'Barnardos Children'.  The eldest was enlisted in the army, my Grandpa was sent to Australia to be raised on a work farm, and their sister was sent to Canada to be adopted by a family there.  They all lost contact with each other and it wasn't until the second world war that the two brothers found each other.  The eldest brother had already managed to track down their sister and reunions followed later as travel and finance allowed.  My Grandparents had five children and have seen their family grow to include sixteen grandchildren and (at the current count) 11 great-grandchildren.

My Grandpa was a private man who found it hard to express his emotions.  He had such an unusual upbringing and young adult life that I am sure that this influenced the man he became.  However, I knew him to be loving and kind.  The type of man who would do anything for anyone, but usually on the QT.  I am the eldest grandchild and there are boxes and boxes of photos of me, but I could only find TWO with my grandpa.  He obviously did not like to have his photo taken!!!

With my Grandparents (I am still the only Grandchild!!!)

He was always very precise ... PERFECTLY straight rows of veggies, PERFECTLY straight lines in the mown lawn, every tool in the shed had a PRECISE home!!!  Do you get the picture :-)  He even sorted the sticks into piles of similar size in the wood shed!  When putting in fences his kids had to ensure they were straight and that each fence post came to the same height as measured by a certain button on Grandpa's shirt.  Everything had a home but he would indulge his grandkids in all sorts of ways.

My Grandparents lived on a large block which many would now call a 'hobby farm' as it is now pretty much part of the city.  Back in its day they had a poultry farm on it until the government ran a highway straight through the 'chook sheds'.  Grandpa would spend hours sharpening the ends of sticks for us on the grinding stone so we had arrows for our handmade bows.  He turned a blind eye when we raided the veggies from the garden for a summer's day snack.  He let us shred the old newspapers for him when he was making bricks.  He would always lend us tools as long as they came straight back clean and ready to be hung in their place.  I only just realised that the tool shed was the ONLY locked building on the whole property!

My munchkins are on the left and the baby is Nephew2

I have lived away for stretches of time twice in my life and this last time I returned to a man much aged.  He still knew me when we returned, but this past year he hasn't been so well.  The last time a saw him a few weeks ago he could barely see and hear and no longer remembered who I was.  I am glad that we decided to return or I would have missed these past few years with him.  On Tuesday afternoon this past week my Grandpa passed away, just over a month shy of his next birthday.  Grandpa, I will love you forever and a day. xoxoxo

This is a more sombre story this month but my Grandpa lived a long and happy life.  I am sure the rest of the stories this month will be worth a read so head on over with a cup of your favourite beverage.