Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Year in the Life project

I have had some issues with Blogger, so I apologise for not posting.  Seems to be ok now.

I wanted to share with you this little project that I whipped up in about 3 hours start to finish.
I'm calling it my "Year in the Life" project. No it's not a photo a day, or even particularly in-depth.
I am going to do one for both of my girls, but I chose to do Emily's first.
I went back and picked one photo of her that I took each month (you could cheat and not use photo's taken within each month) and printed them out.
I used 2 6x6 chipboard album covers, 2 album rings, 2 pieces of double sided paper, a bit of paint and some double sided tape.
I cut the 2 pieces of double sided paper into 6x6 pieces - making a total of 8 - 7 will be used in the album. I then arranged these so that each spread would be one side of the paper, and the next spread would be the reverse side - front then back, and used my hole punch to punch through all the papers in one go (I just marked the holes from the covers usint a pencil).
After working out the order I used a glue stick to adhere the first page to the inside of the album cover, and the last page to the inside of the back cover.
After this it was just a matter of using a emery board to sand off the overhanging bits of the inside covers, paint the front and back (and wait for it to dry, but you can keep working on the other pages while you wait), then simply stick one photo for each month onto the paper, re-punching the holes as you go if the photo covers them.
I also printed off little journal strips about events that happened each month as a bit of a keepsake. You could choose to embellish each page as you like, but I just kept it simple.
Here is my finished product to this stage:


First 2 pages.

Last 2 pages.

I then embellished the front cover using some of the leftover piece of patterned paper, a paper doily, some painted chipboard letters and some flowers and pearls.

Easy, quick, cheap and would make an excellent gift to grandparents or other relatives too. I think I may have to make duplicates of each of the girls...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fab Finds

Here are some of the cool things I have come across lately:

* Facebook app that turns your status update into a sort of digital scrapbook page.  This is so cool that I don't even mind thinking that there is someone out there who has access to all my statuses.  Just before I finished it I took a screen shot (press the PrintScreen button in the top right of the keyboard) and pasted it into Paint (you could also use Word, Photoshop, etc).  Tada, instant scrapbook page highlighting some of the interesting things I wrote on my facebook page.

* Papertrey Ink.  I know, it's a bit naughty that I like a papercrafting competitor considering I'm a Kaszazz Consultant, but if PTI had a direct sales organisation here in Australia I would join tomorrow.  I love their designs, I love their colours, I love their dies. {heart} For now I just drool over their releases every month (can you believe they have a release every month!).

* PageMaps. Need I say more?  I have a folder dedicated to all of the PDF files that I can flick through when I need a page idea, or a card idea.  Each month they release a new page of scrapbook maps (sketches) and every 3 months they release a new page of card maps. My best friend calls it the bible of papercrafts.  Definitely a 'go to' book.

* Pretty decor.  I love looking at pretty, functional items that would look great in my cupboards, on my bench or on the table.  Like this, or this, or even these. Sigh.

If you've come across something great recently, feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Motivation - Just.Do.It

I saw a nike advertisement this morning with their old slogan Just Do It (do they still use that one?).  I then took the time to follow the Hero Arts blog hop from start to finish.  There was so much inspiration amongst all of it that I am so inspired to craft.  So my motto for today: Just.Do.It!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

One Fifty

This is my one hundred and fiftieth post on this blog.  I guess that is memorable.  A milestone.
What do I have to share for this memorable milestone?  Not much.  The weather here has been crazy silly - about 28 degrees and very humid, which makes it feel more like 35 degrees.  I hate to think what the 40 degree days of summer will be like.

I had the evaporative cooling on all day yesterday but didn't open a window in our bedroom, and when I got into bed last night the bedding felt damp. Bluck (as Sophie would say).

The weather has made doing anything around the house less interesting and I've felt so lethargic.

I have not touched anything on my craft desk since I painted the canvases... in fact the paints are still sitting on the top.  No cards, no layouts, nothing.

We did have a surprise yesterday morning when I discovered 2 brand new guinea piglets in the hutch.  After we got the 3 guinea pigs and I figured out how to tell boys from girls we separated Rosie into one side, and kept Harry and Jake in the other.  That was back in September/October and we had given up on the fact that she would have any babies, so it was quite a surprise when I spotted a tiny guinea piglet in the hutch - it took about a minute to register.  Emily has decided that the 2 new babies are girls (because she said they are) and has named them Olivia and Alisa.  They are totally cute - a bit like fat little mice with no tail and a full body of fur.  They are tri-colour like their mum and dad (not sure which is actually "dad").

Emily was super excited and came rushing out the back, as did Sophie (to see what the fuss was about) and both girls were just in awe of these cute little creatures.

The depressing part is my schedule is so busy I don't know when I will next get a chance to make something crafty.  I have got a few older projects to share in the meantime.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A day to remember

My little (big) girl is 5 1/2 and will be heading off to school next year.  Yesterday she had her first orientation at Primary School.  Yep, that's right - big school! She got to meet one of the teachers and stayed in the room for an hour and a quarter while Sophie and I had morning tea in the staff room.  She was very excited when she saw one of the girls from her kinder group was there too.  I knew a few of the mums from last year or this year at the kinder which was nice.  Here's Emily before we left home yesterday morning:

I'm really glad she is excited about school.  It makes my life that bit easier.
Bring on next year!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ticking things off the list

I am so bad at starting things and not quite finishing them.  Remember this post? Well, I finally got around to getting some matching ribbon for the ties and finished it.  Did I say a week?  Try 4 months!


This is the first time I have done buttonholes using my sewing machine. I was so impressed!  Sure beats the old dinosaur mum has where you have to measure the button then manually select 4 different stitches, only to find either it's far too big and the button doesn't stay done up, or it's too small and the button won't fit in it.  This one-step buttonhole is a pure genius (you can tell I don't sew much) - you put the button in the slot, lower the lever and press start.  Job done!  The only thing it doesn't do is cut the slit, but that's easy fixed.

How about this one?  Um, yep it only sat on my desk for a good few months after this before I finally finished the insides.

And on a much more positive note, I have finished my canvases!  In less than a week - that has to be a new project record... now I wonder how long they will sit around waiting to be hung on the wall?

You can't tell from the photo that there is texture on there - it is a lot more noticeable in person.  It is a bit hard getting a decent photo when they are sitting on the dining room floor and the table seems to be in the way if I get too close.  I did try painting the flowers, but they looked hideous, so I covered them back up, so you can just see the texture of them.  I suppose that's the brilliant thing about paint - if you don't like it you can just paint over it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Three on Thursday on Friday

1. Canvas x 3
2. Gesso x1
3. Paintbrush x 1

Now the annoying part of waiting for the gesso to dry so I can paint on it with acrylics... I'm so impatient!
I couldn't find impasto locally so the best I could do was the gesso - it seems to work ok.  I think the impasto would have been a bit thicker - but that also would have meant I would have had to buy more of it.  The bonus is that I bought 2 tubs of the gesso so if after it dries I dislike what I have, I can always give it another coat and cover up what I have.  I'm not sold on the flowers but it looked too plain without something there, and I'd like some texture to whatever it is.  I could have gone with circles... I still could if I decide against the flowers.  I'll be adding some Adirondack paints in creamy fawn colours (Lake Mist and Pebble), with a mid blue and a darkish blue (Pool and Stream), plus some pale green (Juniper) along with some silver highlights.  I just hope it turns out like I have it pictured in my head!
Please leave a comment - should I stick to the flowers or ditch them for some circles (overlapping different sized - kind of like bubbles)?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Motivation Musings

How many of us (or our parents) have old photos of people we don't know?
Wouldn't it be sad if some time in the future someone found a photo of your parents or yourself and they had no name, no date, no idea who you were?  Due to the nature of technology, would this scenario even be likely?  Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and social networking had meant that we can access millions of photos and people can do the same of us.  We share what we look like, what we think, what we feel, what we are doing, what we are cooking as if someone actually cares..  Do they care?  If we keep a blog, people can also learn about us - our interests, our happenings, our family, our talents, our life.  Do people read what we write?  Does it matter if they do or not?  How much of it is about getting it out for our benefit vs sharing with others for their benefit?
Scrapbookers are the historians for the future.
Tell the story of what matters to you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three on Thursday


1.  I am loving our new "deck" under the front porch.  The concrete underneath was poured with the slab of the house (standard gray), and I love the exposed aggregate we chose for the path and driveway but it looked a bit odd that they didn't match.  I didn't really want tiles or pavers to cover it up, then thought we could use some of the leftover timber from constructing our side fence to build a deck to cover the plain concrete.  I wanted it to be at the same level as the front door step but thought that the likelihood of that happening was very remote, so I was expecting a slight difference between the door step and the deck... it turned our exactly the same!  What are the chances?  It is now finished but we are considering whether to install some solar lights onto the edge near the entry.  Solar because we don't have a powerpoint out the front to run electricals and they not only come on automatically when it's dark but they cost nothing to run.  The garden is still a work in progress, but I don't think a garden is ever "done" - it always needs something doing.


(it didn't take long to get dusty)

2.  My baby girl is 18 months old today.  I can't believe how grown up she is.  I love that she is developing her own little personality (which at the minute seems a lot more outgoing and boisterous than Emily).  She never ceases to make me smile or laugh - especially last week when the 2 girls emerged from Emily's bedroom each with a handbag over their arm and wearing sunnies.  They were going shopping of course!

One of Sophie's favourite words at the minute is "book" (which comes out something like "booh").  She loves books!  She has a couple of sets of mini board books that come in a cardboard case, and she will spend ages pulling the books out just to put them all back in the case again.  I stealthily took this picture when she was quietly reading in her room last week.

3.  I want to get into some art for our walls.  We have a large wall in the dining room that is bare and I think it needs a nice big artwork to hang there.  I saw a gorgeous canvas set in Melbourne when we last went to the market and it got me thinking of what I could make (instead of buy).  I am thinking that a set of 3 vertical canvases to make up a large rectangle would look fab.  I have dabbled with acrylics on canvas before but this time I'm going to embrace the 3D and get some impasto happening as well.  At least I can guarantee whatever I make will be a unique, one-of-a-kind, original artwork (and I'm hoping that's in a good way, not a cringe way).  I think slightly abstract will be my style - I was never very good at impressionism or still-life.
This was my initial inspiration in the shop window (bad glare I know, but I only had my iPhone with me):

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Monday Motivation on a Tuesday

Life is too important to be taken seriously.
- Oscar Wilde

I am a bit behind on my blogging and crafting at the moment and have had zero spare time for craft related pursuits.  We are concentrating on doing some more in the garden while the weather in nice - after the long cold winter and before the scorching summer hits.  I did manage to do some painting, although it was staining the new decking we built under the front porch, not anything craft related.  We also had the pleasure of my niece visiting this weekend, so we had some family time too.
I should be back for a 3 on Thursday, but I'm skipping the Tuesday Technique this week (and it was Melbourne Cup Public Holiday last week - when we were constructing the above mentioned deck) but I promise I will be preparing another video tutorial for next week - so thanks for being patient.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Three on Thursday

You can never have enough...
1. Time.  Why is it that there is always something else you should be doing?  Something along the lines of "Hmm, I feel like making a card or doing a layout.  Oh, but I need to hang the clothes, do the dishes, wash the floors, change the sheets, weed the garden, make the dinner, bath the kids," you get the idea.  I'd like to have that remote in the movie Click so I could pause the rest of the world for a few hours each day.
2. Pens.  I have to admit that even before I knew the wonderful world of papercrafts I loved stationery.  Pens in different colours - gel pens, fountain pens, calligraphy pens, felt tip pens.  And funny as this may sound, I write differently depending on the pen.  Give me a felt tip pen and I tend to adopt a soft slightly cursive writing; give me a ball point pen and I write in a plain lowercase print.  I often also go over my writing - especially on a scrapbook layout, just to make it darker and 99% of the time it is exactly over the previous letters.  I've always loved handwriting, and my love of pens has come from that, and you can never have enough pens.
3. Stamps.  If you had told me 5 years ago that I would become a bit of a stamp addict I would have probably thought you were talking about postage stamps.  I love rubber stamps for many reasons, although I think the number one reason is versatility.  They really are an investment and you need to consider how much you would use them.  I tend to choose stamps that have more than one application, eg. background stamps that can be used on a range of card themes or layouts, or images that can be used for a range of themes.  This way I know that I will be getting value for money and I will use it over and over again without repeating the same design.  That said, you can still never have enough stamps.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three on Thursday

Three cheers for Spring!

  1. I am totally loving the nice sunny days we have been having now, which means it finally feels like Spring.  There’s nothing nicer than sitting in the warmth of the suns rays, reading a book or having a snooze.  It also means the girls can enjoy being outside more – running around, riding bikes and scooters.  Not too hot, not too cold – just right.  There is something refreshing about opening up all the windows and letting the house breathe again.
  2. The nicer weather also puts me in a better mood – more patient with the kids, more care-free and easy-going; less cranky.  It is also more motivating to get things done around the house so I can enjoy the rest of the day (see point 1).
  3. Cleaning – Spring-cleaning that is.  After being equipped with my new-found knowledge of de-cluttering and being more choice about what I want to surround us in our home, I am in the final stages of purging.  So far I have gathered approx 4 garbage bags of unwanted/unused/outdated toys, games and general household items that will be making their way to the charity bins, and a further 2 garbage bags of items collected that are no longer useful to anyone.  I still have to sort through all of the clothing yet.  My newest phrase is “it needs to find a new home” – be that a new location to be stored, or literally a different home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial

Tuesday Technique 26th October 2010.

In this second tutorial I show you how easy it is to emboss and add colour to vellum.
Vellum is commonly used on invitations as an overlay with information printed onto it, but it can easily be incorporated into your card making and scrapbooking in other ways.

Products Used:
*Ranger Perfect Medium
*Clearsnap Pearl Embossing Powder
*Kaszazz Cherry Blossoms rubber stamp
*Kaszazz acrylic block
*Heat Tool
*Tim Holtz Victorian Velvet Distress Ink (by Ranger)
*Ranger Ink Blending Tool

Thanks to Sue Bayliss for her inspirational card - suebayliss.blogspot.com

The pre-made card at the end also uses:
*Kaszazz A5 White cardstock
*Kaszazz Flourish Background rubber stamp
*Tim Holtz Pumice Stone Distress Ink (by Ranger)
*Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Distress Ink (by Ranger)
*Swirl Ribbon (Kaszazz)
All materials used in this tutorial are available from Kaszazz (Australian residents only).

Tuesday Technical Issues...

I had pre-recorded my video yesterday, just waiting to upload it today - therein lies my mistake.  For the majority of today our internet wouldn't connect (we've been having issues since swapping ISPs but we thought a new modem/router would fix that - apparently not).  Then late this afternoon (after finally getting the internet working) I uploaded my video to Vimeo but it is still sitting in a queue waiting to be converted, so I have no idea how long it will be before it is available to be viewed.  Knowing how the day has gone so far, it will probably be tomorrow.  I promise it will be worth the wait :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three on Thursday - "Finally"

1. Finally I bought a frame to put a wedding photo on the wall - we've only been married 7 years.  We have lived in that many rentals we kind of got used to not having stuff on the walls, so although I had the photos, they have never been displayed outside of the "wedding album".  I do now fear that I have an unhealthy liking of picture hooks and a hammer... I managed to hang 13 frames in one afternoon.

2. Finally I'm getting organised!  If not physically, I have lots of plans and I now know how to deal with it.  Reading the Unstuff book has certainly helped me understand that our possessions/belongings/stuff are not us, or an extension of us, so if we are done with something (not using it any more, broken despite being a cherished item or really don't like it but are keeping it 'because') it's time to find it a new home - either in the bin, sold, donated to a person or charity or given back to the rightful owner.  I found the chapter on gifts particularly useful.  Trust me, it is well worth the read - and I now look at gift giving in another light.  The essence of it is that all gifts are/should be given freely with no strings attached.  If you receive a gift that you don't like apply the above rule about finding it a new home (although giving it back may be going a little too far).  On the other side of that, I realised that I would perhaps be offended if someone didn't like a gift I gave them, but after seeing it in a new way, I understand that it's the generosity and thought that count, not the physical gift and if they chose to 'get rid of it' then that's their choice and it's ok with me.

3. Finally Sophie's hair is long enough to pull back into a ponytail (of sorts).
Just for the record, Sophie has not had a dummy since she was about 3 months old.  She discovered this dummy I had kept with some of her other baby things and now that she knows where it is, she goes and steals it, then she carries it around and pretends to suck it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My New (more permanent) Space

I finally have my dining room back.  Friday the buffet I had bought off that-online-auction-site got delivered.  The instructions were ok - just a series of numbered parts (as long as you know the difference between a JK screw and a T screw).

Note - do not ever believe the estimated construction time.  2 people, 1 hammer, 1 screwdriver, 30 minutes... I think not!  Matt and I started at about 8pm Friday night and when it got to 11pm we called it quits for the night with the drawers still to assemble and one screw head stripped and not fully in.  I had a stall at a local market day Saturday, so while I was away Matt constructed the drawers and tried to figure out how to get the screw either in or out because it was protruding so that the drawer wouldn't close.  After I got home we looked up and figured we either needed some vice-grip pliers or an extractor drill bit.  Matt went and got both, along with some appropriately sized replacement screws because 1 stripped screw had turned into 2 (when going back and putting in the final screws).  It turned out the vice-grip pliers worked really well, and the replacement screws were fine.  Job well done.  Total construction time = approx 5hrs.

So by 5pm Saturday I finally started the job of transferring all my supplies over into the new drawers, and discovered that I needed a custom height for one of the shelves in the cupboard - I needed the space above for storage, but the bottom needed to fit 12x12 albums and papers... enter the handyman to drill me some holes to place the shelf higher.  By about 9pm Saturday I had the majority of my supplies transferred over - and had purged what was not going to stay.
The top left drawer is the home to the general stationery items (pens, textas, pencils, stapler, paperclips, etc) as well as the acrylic blocks and stamp cleaning pad (and baby wipes).

The center drawer is home to most of the common tools and materials used (rulers, embossing powders, adhesives, re-inkers, paints, etc).

The top right drawer is home to embellishments (ribbons, glitters, buttons, bling, pearls, etc).  I think this will be my favourite drawer.

The cupboards underneath house the bigger and heavier items, such as my Cuttlebug and trays that hold the folders and dies, the trays that house my ink pads, the box where I store all my A5 cardstock, my stamps (in CD cases), my 12x12 albums, and so on.

The little brown faux leather desk organiser is now where my most used tools are kept (archival pens, nail files, distresser, craft knife, scissors, bone folder, etc).

Unfortunately there isn't enough space in the buffet to hold my other craft items (like sewing machine, jewellery supplies, knitting and yarn, etc) so I have to find these a new home elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial

I did it!  I made my first video and uploaded it so I could share it with you (I'm still learning so please be forgiving).
This is a technique that I have been using quite a bit recently to quickly and easily colour in stamped images.

Please leave a comment about my video - as to what you like, how I could improve, and any techniques or topics you would like to see in the coming weeks.
As always, you can email me at rachel.witthaus@gmail.com if you have any specific questions or would like to place an order for any Kaszazz products (Australian residents only).

To update my current craft space, we finally put together the buffet that is now the home to all my papercraft supplies (and is the surface I used in the video).  Never believe what the instructions indicate as to the time it will take to assemble any flat-pack furniture.  Anyway, I'll post more about the "move" tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Figuring it out on Friday

Firstly, sorry to my readers that I have somewhat neglected my blog over the last month or so.  It has been a busy time for us (always something to do or somewhere to be) which has meant that I haven't found the time to be able to get crafty.  In that time I have come to some realisations and I hope to be able to carry out my new plans.
Last month was our 7th wedding anniversary - where did that time go?  We didn't go anywhere special (normally we spend a night away without the kids) but we did buy each other gifts.  I got Matt a puzzle as well as a new messenger style bag for him to take to and from work each day.  The puzzle was just because I saw it and liked it and I know how much he likes doing logic puzzles (e.g. the Professor Layton series as well as Scribblenauts on the DS).  It is kind of a mixture between tetris (each piece is a certain shape) and checkers (you try to make certain patterns using the coloured squares).  The messenger bag was primarily to transport his lunch and any accessories/devices. He had been using his laptop backpack but with being on the train in peak times it became a bit bulky and he very rarely takes the laptop any more, so a smaller option seemed a good choice.  Boys are so hard to buy for!
As for me, I got this little beauty:
Matt decided he would give me an abstract clue as to what I would be receiving by telling me 3 little words - "It's in America".  My instant reaction was "It's a Kindle".  I mean what else could be in America? (Um, yeah, it could have been a thousand different things!).  I've never said I wanted one, but a friend of mine has one and I had been telling him about it a long time ago.  I don't even know what made me jump to that conclusion straight away - maybe after those 7 years I can just "read" him (pun intended).  So for those who don't know what a Kindle is, it is an eBook reader that Amazon make/sell.  There are a few others on the market (Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc) but the new model of the Kindle was recently recently and the price is hard to match.  It uses it's own file format of books that you download via the Amazon Kindle store, as well as accepting Mobi files not restricted (e.g. out of copyright as found on sites like gutenberg.org) and PDF files.  It holds 4GB which is something like 3,500 books.  The screen uses a special "ink" (think of it like metal filings) that get loaded for each page, and the display is designed that it is equivalent to reading a book (no glare and great contrast) - and it's not backlit like a computer or LCD screen so it doesn't use battery to keep the page displayed, and reverts to a screensaver if it's not used in a certain period which also locks the keys.  Where available (on some of the Kindle files) you can enable text to speech and it will read to you (it sounds a bit like a GPS).  You can also customise the display by changing the fonts, size of text, etc (depending on the file type).  I think it is awesome!  I was a little concerned about protecting it, so I whipped up a padded sleeve for it using some leftover fabric and quilt batting (seen above).  I used to borrow books from the library, but my problem was that I rarely remembered to return them on time.  I think the last time I borrowed books I had $17 in fines to pay - which was only from the previous lot of books!  This way, there are claimed to be over a million books available for the Kindle, with pretty much all of the pre 1930's books being out of copyright, and therefore free - to keep, no late fees.  Amazon also offers some books at discounted rates or for free for limited times, while the others range from about $2 to $14 or so dollars, so it is still much cheaper than buying the paper/hardback version, and it saves on space - no physical books to store!  Which brings me to the next topic.
One of the first books I downloaded was Unstuff Your Life! by Andrew Mellen.  I had been looking at Peter Walsh's books about organisation (he's the guy that has been on Oprah and cleaned out people's wardrobes, cars, etc).  Man I need that guy at my place.  I am a terrible clutterbug.  Unstuff received better reviews from readers so I opted for this book instead.  I am 50% through it and I am so motivated.  It is written in such an honest and somewhat light-hearted way that just makes you want to act.  I will continue reading to the end, and then on my second pass I will be putting his ideas (well, more like instructions) into action.  I am sick of living in a space that is untidy (mail on the bench, shoes in the hall, paperwork all over the desk... you get the idea).
As part of my approach to a clutter-free house I have finally purchased a buffet unit that will be my new scrapbook/craft space, which will have it's home in the Family room.  When we moved in I had the spare room set up as my craft room (table and bookcase), but Sophie kind of needed a place to sleep, so it all got moved out into the family room, but it wasn't working and I didn't like the layout of the room so I had a rearrange of the TV, couches, computer etc and there just wasn't a spot for my table any more... so it found a home at the far end of our dining area as a 'temporary fix' but has been there for the last 3 months at least.  As a result our dining table isn't exactly fully functional because it has lost half it's space to my craft table (old dining table).  The delivery of the new buffet is scheduled for today, so let's hope it's not too difficult to put together - then I can set about moving all my stuff and finally getting rid of the old dining setting (if you need a second-hand 6 seat extendable dining table and chairs let me know).  The top will serve as my new crafting surface (or where needed I can sit down at the dining table) and the inside will house all my supplies.
I have been planning to do some videos for a while, so maybe I can make my debut by showing you my new compact craft space.

I also have plans for the blog.  I can't guarantee I will stick to it each week, but I would like to follow this schedule:
Monday - Motivational Monday will involve a quote or picture that can be used as inspiration for either crafting or just a "feel good" day.
Tuesday - Tuesday Tutorial will include either a video or a step-by-step instruction of a project.
Thursday - 3 on Thursday will be me sharing my favourite 3 things at the time (might be photos, stamps, tools, or whatever takes my fancy)
Saturday - Saturday Special will be for one offs, which won't be posted all the time - just when there is something extra to share.  I know that I often don't get time to read blogs on the weekends (it's our family time) so I will try not to post much on the weekends so you can enjoy your time with family too (and not be playing catch-up on Monday).
There may be other posts in between, depending on how much crafting time I get.

So, after all of that, I hope to be posting regularly again as of Monday.
Happy Crafting.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby, baby, baby.

With my "baby" having a nap and Miss 5 watching last week's Junior Masterchef online I got over an hour this morning to test out some of the new Kaszazz stamps.

First up, a simple card using the Jumpsuits stamp:
I stamped the jumpsuits with Ancient Page inks, then used Lyra Watercolours to colour them in.  A bit of Glossy Accents on the collars and cuffs gives a little bit of definition to them.  I used an 8x8 piece of white card folded in half to give me a DL (business) sized card, and used some distress inks and blending tool to give the background some colour (blue for sky, green for grass).  I then used a piece of kitchen string as my clothesline, and these cute mini clothes pegs I found a few weeks ago (I knew they would come in handy) and stuck it on with Glossy Accents.  The sentiment is from the new colour rubons - which is actually a chocolate brown colour.  Very easy and quick to make.  Total time - Approx. 20 minutes.

Next, the same concept but slightly different:
Again these jumpsuits are stamped with Ancient Page, coloured with watercolours and highlighted with Glossy Accents.  This time I stamped the front of the A5 cardstock with the new Flourish Background stamp using Victorian Velvet distress ink.  I then stuck on the pegs using Glossy Accents and finished with the new sentiment stamp (I love that it is nice and big), using the same ink as I had stamped the jumpsuits with.  Total time - approx 20 mins.

Next, I wanted to do a really simple card using only a couple of supplies - just to show that it doesn't need to be costly or difficult to make your own cards:
This card uses a total of 5 materials.  I used a piece of Ivory cardstock and the new Adorable Border stamp to stamp 3 times across the top using Antique Linen distress ink.  I then used the same ink and the Welcome Little One stamp on the bottom.  Lastly I grabbed some coloured pencils and chose 3 animals to colour (I did debate about leaving it uncoloured but felt it was too plain.  You could colour as few or as many as you feel suits).  Total time - approx 10 minutes.

Lastly, I wanted to try out something I had in my head since ordering the stamps:
I quickly noticed in the new product catalogue that there are in fact 3 different sizes of each of the animals!  The smallest is in the Adorable Border stamp (as seen above), the next is found on the exclusive Rollagraph wheel, and the largest is found in the Adorable Un-cut Set (as seen above) - so my idea was to use these to create versions of families.  You could do 2 big and 1 little, 2 big, one middle and one little (if there is an older sibling) or any other combinations as it fits!  I used half a sheet of A5 cardstock (to make a gift card rather than a greeting card) and first stamped the sentiment (which I mucked up on a previous attempt of the same card - but we won't go there...) which is also found in the Adorable Un-Cut Set - and is a miniature version of the sentiment used on the 2 cards above.  I then stamped the large giraffe, then the little one (by carefully only inking the giraffe, and with the assistance of a stamp-a-ma-jig) - all with Ancient Page Sienna ink.  I then got out my distress inks (ok, who am I kidding, they never get put away) and used an aquabrush to colour in the spots on the giraffes using Scattered Straw, added some grass using Shabby Shutters and finally blended on some sky using Broken China.  Total time - approx 10 minutes.

You may also notice in the backgrounds of my pictures are the new papers available from Kaszazz.  Each photo is a different page and shows both sides (one side is at the bottom and the other behind) - with the exception of the second last one - I just love that side the best!

As always, if you would like to get your hands on these awesome Kaszazz products just send me an email at rachel.witthaus@gmail.com.

Chaos in the Haus

Firstly, I'm sorry for the neglect of my blogging.  I really didn't think I was a particularly 'scheduled' person, but with school holidays at the moment, miss 5 having a sleepover at her grandparents', running around doing the once-in-a-blue-moon errands that normally get pushed aside, having both girls home all day long (accompanied by numerous screams and crying episodes), our TTD (see last post) and completing a monthly 8-card challenge, I haven't got as much time to craft as I would have liked.  I've come to appreciate routine!
When I received my new product order I just wanted to jump right in and get creative with those gorgeous new stamps, but I had other commitments and I rather responsibly (very not like me) have put them aside... until today!  My house is a complete disaster zone (with 2 kids home all day), the kids are driving me mental and will at some point likely need to be taken out to run amok but I will make time to make at least one card, and if all goes well, maybe even a layout!  Ok, so maybe completing a layout is dreaming...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wrap Up

... from the Kaszazz Team Training Day, which was held across the country this weekend.

1. The long awaited Die Cut Machine was released - the Bellish! Ezy-Press.  The Ezy-Press is a manual die cut machine that will fit an A4 page through it.  It uses dies to cut and plates to emboss, and comes with all the pads you need to use both the Ezy-Press dies/plates as well as some of the other brands such as Sizzix Sizzlits and Cuttlebug dies.
The Embossing and Cutting plates/dies are sold separately and both the machine and the accessories are exclusive to Kaszazz.
Here is a YouTube video to give you a bit of a demo:

2. The SB Foundations Range of Papers. This release is the best one I've seen yet - it has been well thought out, and the designs are gorgeous.  The papers lend themselves to vintage elegance with the Emily Rose and Lilly May papers, while the Cyan Jade and the Jordan Belle make great baby themed projects.  I really love the muted colours - very timeless!

3. Coloured Rub-ons.  I have never been a fan of rub-ons, I've always had issues with them sticking to the backing sheet or not transferring properly... until about a month ago when I tried the standard Kaszazz rub-ons (fully expecting the same as my previous experiences) and was amazed.  The regular rub-ons are really good quality and transfer so easily - I'm converted!  Now, Kaszazz have released 4 designs in COLOUR - and they are awesome!  The designs are identical to some of the stamps so everything is coordinated (love it!!).

4. The Stamps.  Need I say more... I love stamps, and these are just the best!  The first 7 pages (yes, 7 pages of stamps) are baby themed - with images and sentiments that are brilliant - including messages/verses you can stamp inside the card.  The next 5 pages are themed more towards girls - friends, little girls, etc.  Then the next 6 pages are the pre-released Christmas stamps.  I am so happy that Kaszazz now has a baby range!

5. The Accessories.  All of the new ribbons are now featured in the Sep10 New Product Flier, along with a "Pewter" Embellishment kit (which looks silver to me), baby charms, new shaped sticky bling (brackets, borders, hearts and stars), the White Share and Tell album (adding to the Black and Brown), 2 exclusive Rollagraph wheels that match exactly to the stamps, a paper piercer (finally!) and some new scissors to cut the rubber stamp sets.

If you would like to see the full flier, click HERE.

I will be putting in my order tomorrow, so if you would like me to add anything just email me at: rachel.witthaus@gmail.com
I am also holding a FREE Make and Take at my place on Friday 1st October - 7pm.  Email me if you'd like to come along and sample some of the new products in person - I guarantee you will be impressed!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bit of Bling

I normally just colour this stamp with my watercolours, but this time I thought I'd try and bling it up a bit.  I stamped the main image, coloured the bear with watercolours and cut it out.  I then stamped it a second time on a sheet of double sided sticker paper (JAC).  Because it is a large image, I only inked the flower part the second time.  I cut out the middle and petals separately, and stuck them both on the card with the top backing still on.  I peeled off the petal backing and sprinkled over the purple glitter (Grape Fizz) and used a dry paintbrush to dab the glitter onto the double sided paper, then brush away any excess - this helps stop the excess glitter falling off everywhere, and also from cross-contaminating the other colours.  After all excess was removed I then peeled off the centre and repeated with the gold glitter (Honey Glow).
The card is finished with some ribbon, a few of rhinestones, the sentiment and a ruled border around the edge.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Product Release - September 2010

The countdown is on!  The Kaszazz new product release is happening on Monday 20th September - only 5 sleeps to go. Here is a sneak peek of what the theme of the release will be:

If you would like to be added to my email list which I send out when there are new offers, new releases and specials, just email me and let me know (you can opt out at any time).
Email: rachel.witthaus@gmail.com
For those on my email list, I hope to have a newsletter ready to send out on the 20th with all the new products!

Dressed to Impress

There are some elegant dressmaking mannequin stamps going around at the moment, and I've seen a few people have cut it out and embellished it as a dress.  There wasn't one card/project in particular, but I've seen numerous so I thought I would have a go at drawing/making my own.  I got the outline semi balanced (it's not perfect) and cut out a template because I can see myself re-creating this in the future.  Once I traced and cut out the mannequin shape using white cardstock, I then set to wrapping some lace trim around it to make the dress.  It's all held in place with some double sided tape in the back, and after wrapping and tying a ribbon around the middle I used some foam squares to adhere it to the front of the card.  Some layered scalloped card at the bottom, and some dots for the background at the top, and this would make a great Bridal Shower, Engagement or Wedding card.
I've actually had this heart ribbon slider sitting in my stash for longer than I care to admit, and it made a nice accompaniment to the 5 mini pearls as a necklace and the 4 mini pearls as an embellishment on the bottom of the dress.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I really like "Thinking of You" cards because they can be used for numerous occasions - as a pick-me-up, for a friend, when someone is mourning, if someone is sick... etc.
I fell in love with all of the "old book" creations that use either old children's books, sheet music, etc.  I went op-shopping (which is a little out of my comfort zone, but with some encouragement I think I could take to it like a duck to water), and found an old children's dictionary (without pictures) for $2 - perfect!  I brought it home and popped it on a shelf with some of my stash.  And there it has sat for months.  I've seen so many creations and thought "oh, I could do that with a dictionary page", but never got around to it.  It seemed like I was doing the unthinkable by ripping a page out of it... but I finally got up the courage, opened it to a random place and tore out a page.

I used some distress ink on the edges to give it a bit more of a weathered look, because in all honesty, the book is only as old as I am ;) and it is still in really good condition.  I then stamped the Cherry Blossoms stamp onto the torn page and coloured it with chalks.  I used the rest of the page to punch out the scallop circles for the flower and I used Smooch Spritz on it to give the flower a gold shine.  The kraft coloured base gives it a warm, old-fashioned feel to it.  I used a strip of scrap patterned paper down the side to ground it.
My inspiration for this card came from Card Patterns Sketch 80, in particular the card by Tracy Schultz.  I just love that the word sentiment is at the top of the page - it totally fits with a card.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Thinking of You with Cherry Blossoms

Well, it is now officially spring here in Australia, although you wouldn't have known it the first few days.  We had some horrible weather over the weekend with winds so strong it woke me up in the middle of the night.  I don't think I have ever heard the wind so bad before - it was literally howling against the front of the house.  Lots of places around Melbourne got damage from falling trees, etc, but we were unharmed and no power outage so that was a bonus.  North of the state copped a pelting of rain, with some flooding to some parts where creeks and rivers have burst their banks.  Lets hope that the real Spring weather comes shortly.
One of the icons of Spring - especially in Japan - is the Cherry Blossom.  This stamp is still one of my favourites.  It is just pretty.  This time I have paired it up with one of the supplies that is so often under-rated - chalks.  I have to admit that I didn't own chalks before I became a Kaszazz Consultant, and probably wouldn't have bought them except they come in the starter kit... but they are so handy!  I know I don't use them nearly enough, but they are so quick and easy to use, not particularly messy, and add a nice subtle colour to images.

Materials: Ivory cardstock, Pink Bazzill, Chocolate Ancient Page ink, Pebbles Inc Chalks (Basic Brights), Large Cherry Blossoms and Mini Messages Stamps,  Kiwi Smooch, Pearls (Kaisercraft) and ribbon (non-kaszazz).

Happy Crafting.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Scraplift with Flutterbys

Grrr.  After having a cold for the last week and was almost fully recovered, I was laid low yesterday with fever/chills and a nose that would not stop dripping/sneezing.  I'm feeling a bit better today but I'm still not 100% :(  Who would have thought you could get 2 illnesses at the same time?
Never mind, it was a good excuse to ignore the housework this morning and scraplift a layout I saw on the Ranger blog from the talented Jennifer McGuire.  As soon as I saw it I just wanted to break open the inks and get stamping.

Here is my scraplift of the layout:

I used 2 stamps - both from Kaszazz (Fancy Flourish and Butterfly Medium) and 15 different inks (Colorbox Fluid Chalk: Pink Pastel, Tangerine, Yellow Cadmium, Olive Pastel, Deep Green, Prussian Blue, Warm Violet, Lavender, Blackbird.  Vivid!: Garnet, Red Hot.  Ancient Page: Cardinal, Stone Grey.  T.H Distress:   Faded Jeans.  Colorbox Pigment: Frost White).  I did actually stamp out the butterfly in about 35 different colours, but just chose the ones I thought went together the best.  The base is a 12x12 Black cardstock page with the middle cut out (which I used to mat the photo), and a piece of Oatmeal 12x12 cardstock trimmed to 11x11.  The writing was all done freehand with a Black Signo gel pen and my set of felt-tip pens (I thought these were great value at approx $20 for 25 pens in a roll-up wallet).
Thanks for checking out my blog :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'll be back...

I can't believe how long it has been since I posted anything on my blog.
Miss 5 has taking a liking to playing the free games online at ABCkids, so it has been a bit of a battle over who gets the computer - I normally give in and let her play it.  Hubby now has started his new job, so I've just inherited his laptop which he no longer requires - it's nothing fantastic being about 3 years old and all, but it is compact and portable - yay!  The last time I was using a laptop was when I was teaching - got to love writing out all those lesson plans and reports (NOT!).
We recently bought a new printer, which is proving to be a total gem.  We have had our old Brother multi-function for a long time... probably 5 years?  It was a good printer (for a 5 year old printer that cost $100 at the time) and served it's purpose well but the quality wasn't any good above a standard printed document.  Of late I have downloaded a heap of digital paper files with the intention I could print some of them and use on cards and layouts, but it just wasn't working.  It was a bottom-feed printer and struggled with anything thicker than printer paper, and it refused to take my A5 cardstock (and I couldn't get my hand in far enough to help it grip onto it and push it up and into the rollers)... so we decided we could upgrade to a decent printer.  After much research online I came down to a list of 2 Canon and 2 Epson printers.  After further comparing properties of each we decided on the Canon MP990 - which is a multi-function suitable to print photos and also scans negatives and slides (which was really the clincher for me, having all of our wedding photos as negatives).  It prints lovely quality photos (clear/crisp and great colour) which I am loving!!!
I also received a pressie in the form of Photoshop Elements 8 from my parents-in-law, so I've been having a bit of a play on that of late, which has been eating up my craft time.  I really need to set aside some time to learn all the functions to get the most out of it, but the little bit I have done is awesome.  I was totally hooked after I downloaded the 30 day trial at the start of the year.
I hope to get creative this afternoon after I drop Miss 5 at kinder and while Miss 1 is having a nap.  I now need to channel my inner mojo...
I'll be back!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Colour Create Challenge 51

The Colour Create Challenge 51 is to use Ivory, Duck Egg Blue and one other colour from the inspiration picture:

The book second from the left reminded me of the Tim Holtz distress ink colour Pumice Stone, so I set about using that as my 3 colours.

I started with an Ivory card base that I cut a scalloped border along the bottom, which I then stamped with the Dotty Stars Border stamp by Kaszazz, using Ice Blue Colorbox Chalk ink.  I then edged the card with Pumice Stone and Broken China T.H distress inks.  I cut a strip of ivory card, ran the paper distresser over it, and used the same distress inks to colour it all over.  I double stitched the top and bottom of the strip before adhering it to the base card.  I used an accent strip I've had in my stash since forever to cut the circle of baby hands out, which I ran the distresser around and inked slightly with the distress inks.  I then mounted it onto another piece of ivory cardstock and freehand cut around the blue circle - which has any imperfections covered up by also running the paper distresser around.  This circle piece is attached with Magic Mount, and the card was finished with 3 pearls

If you are interested in getting your hands on any of the products in italics mentioned above, feel free to email me at rachel.witthaus@gmail.com - I can send to anywhere in Australia.