Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Snap Happy

Of late my crafting has taken a back seat to everyday life.  I am trying to capture the moments that often pass by so that when my motivation returns I will have some projects to work on.
Yesterday I took the girls out for a picnic to a local park.  It was a great opportunity to grabs some photos of them, and we also had a quick stroll near the beach as well.
Here are some of my favourites:
The effects used on the photos come from the Pioneer Woman website, used in Photoshop Elements (for more great free actions try Rita's blog).  If you have PSE I totally recommend these actions - once they are installed, you open your image it's as simple as clicking the effect you want and selecting apply.  I did alter a few of the opacity percentages on some of the layers to get the desired results, but it's certainly much quicker than fiddling with trying to add each layer yourself.

As yet I have not completed my Week in the Life project.  I did manage to capture and document each day for the week, but so far I have only collated Monday and Tuesday.  I hope to have the rest done by the end of next week (once school goes back).  I will share it once it's done as it's the first time I've used an 8.5 x 11 format for a project.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Being grateful

This year I am recording my "week in the life".  I haven't been too successful with my other attempts at scrapbooking but if I can at least record my "week in the life" in some way surely that's better than nothing at all?  It will be a bonus if it ever makes it's way into some sort of album.
If you check out Ali Edwards' blog/website there is a PDF to record the week and in that each day there is a prompt about being grateful.
Today I had a "grateful" moment.  I was randomly invited to attended a government feedback forum about family payments.  Some people there had lots of kids, some only had 2 like me, some were older, some were younger - but we all had the one thing in common: we were all mums.  In sharing our stories with each other I learned about one woman who has twins of a similar age to my youngest, one of which has a learning disability and as a result of needing to provide early intervention, has had to go back to work to fund the intervention program instead of being at home with her 3 young children.  Her story touched me and although it is somewhat selfish I was so grateful for the healthy children I have and for being able to be a stay-at-home mum.  I know some people have circumstances that prevent them from being at home with their kids, and some just choose to work, but I wouldn't swap my job for anything.  For that I am grateful.

Friday, June 03, 2011


Banners are all the rage at the minute - I'm sure you've seen them on just about every design blog.  I had admired them and thought they were pretty/cute but what use did I have for one?  ... Until we held a surprise farewell party for friends of ours who are moving (any excuse for a party right?).  I didn't want it to be a labour intensive task and I wanted to pull it off with minimal financial outlay (and save the cash for the food/drinks).
What got me onto the idea was when I came across an interior design blog where a lady had used cuttings from furniture and home magazines to make the coloured triangles and stuck them onto a white slightly-larger triangle and then sewed each triangle onto a length of ribbon - genius!  Because I didn't have any magazines to cut out I went one step further and opened up some of the free digital paper downloads I had hoarded saved a while ago.  I printed one 'fast' copy-paper page of each of my chosen plain colours and 2 of each of the matching striped pages from the sets found herehere and here - to save ink because fine detail wasn't needed.  Obviously my printer is A4, so I just printed what would fit onto the page without scaling or resizing to maintain the patterns.  I made up a template using a piece of cardstock that would allow my triangles to be the length of the A4 page width (does that make sense?) and to get 3 triangles out of the length of each page (and skipped the white background idea).  I marked each page using the template then cut them out using my paper trimmer until I was left with 57 triangles.

I then measured the rooms where the banners would hang and worked out how the spacing of the triangles would work.  I needed a total of 9.2m of banners (made up of 3 separate banners each with extra length on each end) and calculated that I needed to have a space approx 1 inch between each triangle.
For my first attempt - which I did on the shortest length of banner - I used double sided tape to position the triangles onto the ribbon, then straight stitched down the middle of the ribbon using the sewing machine to permanently attach the paper to the ribbon.

It worked no problems but it took a while sticking them on, so I decided to give it a go of just sewing and spacing as I went.  It was a little more tricky to get even spacings (but they are near enough and who's going to get out their measuring tape to check?) and it was harder to hold the ribbon taught (or in the case of the second and third banners I used bias binding because both were longer than 3m which was the maximum length of ribbon I had) with no paper underneath while accurately lining up the next triangle.  But it saved some time and it worked so I stuck with it (just don't look too closely at the sewing).
All up from printing to finished product it took about 4 hours to make my 3 banners with a total length of 9.2 metres.  I gave the shortest length to the guests of honour to take with them, but the 2 larger ones I'm going to keep for any future celebrations.  I cut some matching flowers (that I printed from the kits) to hide the blu-tac on the ends of the ribbon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

... and she's back!

After what seems like forever I decided it was high time I decluttered and organised my craft space to try and kick start my craft inspiration.  I did a major purge and only kept the supplies that I really love and will use (I think the 'will use' part is extremely important).  Gone are the scraps I've been keeping.  Gone are the old papers I bought from clearance places because they were cheap (and I never really loved them).  Gone are the bits and pieces I haven't used and have no intention of using.
I then set to printing some photos that have been sitting on my hard drive waiting for some inspiration that to date had not come.  I also downloaded the recent PageMaps pdfs (which I print and keep in a binder) and decided that I would tackle the recent photo of Sophie and a May PageMaps sketch as my easy starting place.  Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE the PageMaps sketches?  I'm pretty sure I have, but repetition for emphasis.
So, here is my final product:

The best part was I used all supplies I had from months ago and it was done in a matter of 2 hours start to finish.
It has definitely motivated me to keep going and do more.
I want to focus on my scrapbooking because that is what matters most to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


My, how the time flies! My baby girl turned 2 last week. It was actually the day my week started going badly.  Miss Emily was home from school sick with a cold, Sophie had the beginnings of a cold and I totally forgot that I had arranged to pick up Emily's friend from school to come for a play that afternoon. Big Oops. You can read how my week got even better [sarcasm] in my last post. Anyway enough about me and more about Miss two.

Miss Sophie, you have become quite a little chatterbox of late.  You certainly speak your mind and tell us what's what.  Some of the things you come out with amaze us because you have remembered something or you noticed something we didn't.  I love that.  Sometimes you can be a little hard to understand but we usually figure out what a word means by repeating what we think you said and you tell us 'no' or 'yes'.  You are even starting to string together 3-4 words to make simple sentences.  One of the first sentences you said was "Look Daddy.  I'm in the water." which came out more like "Look Daddy. I in water." which happened while we were away camping last month.
You like routine and predictability.  Every morning at 11am you go down for a nap and you know when you wake up we go to pick up Emily from school.  You know when the timer on the stove goes off dinner is ready and you have to have your plate.  You know when the alarm goes at 8pm it's bed time and you don't protest about it.
You still love your "bebe's" or babies, your lion and leopard.  You can't go to bed or out of the house without them. If people mistakenly call them something else like a bear or a tiger you correct them by saying "lion, leopard".  When you are tired you play with your lion's tail and suck 'those two fingers' - the middle and ring fingers on your left hand, palm up.
You totally adore your sister (and vice-versa) and you like to copy everything she does from cleaning your teeth and doing your hair to playing with the same toys and sitting in the same chair.  I love that you love each other.  I love that most of the time you get along really well and don't fight.  Occasionally you have bitten your sister or pulled her hair which got you into trouble.
We have started to see the beginnings of the "terrible twos" - there have been a couple of times you have had a full-on meltdown and ended up kicking and screaming on the floor.  I'm hoping that this phase will pass quickly.
We love you so much Sophie, and we love that you seem so happy.  Just don't grow up too fast!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


It is no secret I'm not having a very good week.  To top it off, I'd read one of Ali Edwards' blog post about someone having issues printing with Photoshop - the same issue I've had with my PSE8.  The colours just come out wrong - in particular the skin tones become very pink/red, yet if I print the same photo using the computers default picture viewer I get a perfect result meaning the issue is the program not the printer.  Anyway, one suggestion was to check what format the files were saved as - either sRGB or Adobe RGB and match it to the setting in PSE... can you tell where this is heading?
So I open up the settings of the camera and start looking for anything to do with how the camera saves the visual images.  I opened up a tab called formatting and all it had was 'low-format' followed by a choice of either 'cancel' or 'format', and stupidly I pressed 'format'.  The screen went blank and said 'formatting' and that was the point my heart sank. Cancel! Cancel! Too late. Zip, nothing, gone.
At any other time I would have said, meh, it's ok.  I mean I had just downloaded and backed up the few hundred photos from camping last month so I had only lost the photos I had taken in the last week or so.  No biggie, except I had the photos from my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary from last weekend and the photos I took on Tuesday when Sophie turned 2.  Not one, but two events I wanted to keep the photos from in the past week.
The lesson - I should never EVER touch settings I know nothing about.  In my defence I was searching for something I thought should be labelled 'format' but didn't realise the 'format' they were meaning was wiping the whole card.  I am slightly annoyed that if I want to delete all of my photos it displays a second prompt asking if I am sure I want to delete all the photos, yet to format the card there was no second warning.  I guess they assume no one is silly enough to press 'format' if they don't actually mean to.
I spent the most part of yesterday afternoon trying to download software to recover the erased files from the SD card.  Most of the free ones seem to be demo versions that are quite happy to find files but won't let you see them without paying for the full version, and of the 2 free versions that were totally freeware - one (Pandora) found all the photos I had deleted the week before but none of the newer files and the other (MjM) found nothing at all.  I'm just hoping none of them come with a bonus virus free of charge.
I don't think I can bring myself to pay to recover the files - something in the order of $80+ for 25 or so photos makes for some expensive shots - especially since I really only want about 5 of them.  Matt took some of Sophie on his iPhone on Tuesday so worst comes to the worst I will have lost the ones I took of my parents on the weekend and I'm sure I could get them to pose for some new ones - just without the celebration.
My last attempt is using Art Plus which I downloaded from the cNet website because it got some good reviews (and is free).  If this comes up with nothing then I will have to accept that the files are gone and move on.  I'll update if I have any success.

Update: I found the 'Art Plus' software to be the best. It found more files than the previous Pandora one and showed thumbnails of each photo rather than having to click on every single file to preview, so if this occurs to you it would be worth giving it a go. I didn't have any luck recovering the missing files possibly due to the fact I think what I did was a "low-format" which erases all files (and even though I immediately cancelled it, it was too late) where as a regular "format" just resets everything meaning the old files can be recovered until they are overwritten).  The 2000 files it did recover were not the ones I wanted, but it was worth a shot. Lesson learned. Moving on.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Small accomplishment

I came across a post from Creating Keepsakes Blog that showed how to edit a photo in PS elements so that only a small bit of colour remained - you know the ones... all black and white with one element left of the original colour.
I had given it a shot before by creating duplicate layers and deleting parts... let's just say I wasn't very successful so I gave up on ever being able to edit my photos that way.
If you are eager to try this technique with your photos check out this blog post.  It was so easy - it took me about 10 minutes to go from this:

to this:

Pretty cool huh?
I look forward to trying this technique again.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I think for a while there I lost my focus.  In fact, I don't know that I have it completely back yet.
Challenge is my word for the year - my one little word.  Despite not yet completing my challenges I set myself, surprisingly I have found this year to be somewhat of a challenge to me.  I'm a teacher, I should know all about school BUT I've never been on the other end.  The getting up in the mornings to get someone else ready for school.  The packing of the school lunch to ensure there is adequate snack and lunch offerings that will be eaten.  The rush out the door to make sure someone else isn't late for school.  The alarms I've set myself (literally) so I don't forget to leave home on time for drop offs and pick ups.  The arriving at school 20 mins before start and finish times to ensure I get a carpark and be at the classroom door when the bell rings.  The dinner rush that ensures the girls are in bed by 8pm each night.
To date I have been very much a 'go with the flow' parent.  For example, if dinner wasn't until 7pm that was ok because the girls could go to bed a bit later, and they would just sleep later in the morning. Not. Any. More.  This has been a challenge for me.
In all this weekday rush I have lost my creative focus.  I know what I want to get done, but somehow it is getting pushed out of the spotlight.  Instead of using the 1-2hrs of Sophie's nap time to pursue creative interests I've found it easier to catch up on some recorded TV watching.  Sad, I know.  Add to this the fact I've been busy around the house spring-cleaning and re-organising, I've had a cold for the last week and I haven't been running for 2 weeks.  I actually feel worse for it.  Who would have thought I would actually miss running?
Another challenge has been in relation to Kaszazz.  I have decided that as much as I would love to continue, at the end of this quarter (end of this month) I will be cancelling my position as a Kaszazz Consultant.  I would like to publicly thank Kym, Deb, Fi, Corrie, Katherine, Leah and all the other wonderful ladies that have motivated, supported and encouraged me along the way.  I still maintain my view that Kaszazz is the best quality and value direct sales company in Australia.
So right now I'm trying to focus on my priorities and challenge myself to accomplish my goals.

Monday, February 14, 2011

project 12 - january 20eleven - take 1

I challenged myself to complete project 12 this year and already I'm off to a bad start.
Emily started Primary School this month, which meant a large part of last month was getting her ready and organised, then these last 2 weeks have been about creating a new routine.  All of that meant I had not even touched my scrapbooking stash... but on the plus side I am super energised to create some new things :)
I set aside some time on Friday and completed the January layout for project 12 and I have only just now realised I didn't use the 2011 sketch (oops):

I really like these papers/card I found from DCWV called Citrus - perfect for summery layouts.

I guess this means I need to go back and do another layout for January - this time I will try to use the right sketch!  I think my February layout will have to be devoted to Emily starting school.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


On my shopping expedition the other day I noticed a new shop had opened locally called Typo.  Think Smiggle but in more of a fashionista, olde-world, grown up way.  I walked into the shop, drooled over everything and walked out again... I couldn't decide what out of everything I wanted the most.  I can tell this place will be feeding my stationery addiction.
They do have a website so you can see some of their products.  From the looks of it they are affiliated with Borders and Cotton On.
On my wishlist at the moment is some of these bulldog clips that have urgent, file, etc. written on them (see #20), these nested frames (see #16), and some of these letters in our initials (see #17).
I think I will be returning very soon...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A personal challenge

After seeing a few of my friends on Facebook writing about C25K curiosity got the better of me and I googled it.  I found out it is a program to get you from the couch (inactivity) to running 5kms non-stop in 9 weeks.  It appealed because I would like to get fit.  I would like to lose weight.  I've tried.  I've failed.  But anyone that knows me, knows I don't run.  I got Ds for Physical Education - not for want of trying.  I am a spectator, not a participant.  Hmm, challenge.  That one little word.
I was in a department store yesterday when I noticed they had a sale on sports apparel and I decided that if I was going to tackle this challenge I would need some appropriate clothing - including a supportive bra to minimise the bounce (not exactly easy for a well endowed lady) - which is one of the reasons I don't run.  I can't remember the last time I bought a sports bra.  I don't think I have ever owned workout gear apart from tracky pants, and I don't think they count.  I figure if I'm going to look like an idiot (me trying to run), I may as well look semi-stylish while I'm at it.
I have printed the timeline found here but as suggested I will progress at the rate my body tells me to, so it will likely take me longer than 9 weeks because I am so out of form (read: about as unfit as you can get).
I have also subscribed to the podcasts by Robert Ullrey found here.  I can't vouch for the music on it but he also tells you when to run and when to walk according to the schedule.  This will be on my iPod while I'm out in the big wide world... looking like a semi-stylish idiot running the pavement.  Challenge: convince myself that no one cares what I look like or how uncoordinated I am, it's about what I will look like.

If you are like me and are overweight/obese, you have got to watch this video - so motivating!

My personal challenge is to be a better me.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

project 12 - December twenty ten

As promised or should I say challenged, I completed a layout using the December sketch from project 12 (see previous post).
It has been so long since I completed a scrapbooking layout I felt so 'rusty'.  Hopefully with more practice I will get back into the groove.

Another challenge presented itself while completing the layout.  I can't stand spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation and most things grammar - not that I am perfect at it by a long shot, but I often pick up mistakes in other people's writing.  I am one of those people that refuse to talk in modern abbreviations when sending text messages.  Anyway, I noticed after I had printed and stuck down the journaling strip that I had inadvertently left out a word, meaning one sentence didn't make sense.  I did debate adding in the missing word with a pen, but thought that it would only draw attention to it.  I then debated if I should rip it up and re-print it (including the cutting, border punching and inking) but decided I should just let it be.  I am letting go.

Journaling reads:   
I love that you will both let me take photos of you.
Emily, you certainly take every opportunity to strike a pose for photos.  I still have to get you to say something as I take the photo or you give me a fake, cheesy smile.  Those blue eyes, porcelain skin and those curls are just so you.
Sophie, you certainly don't sit still for long.  Normally when I try to take a photo you are up and gone in a blur.  Fortunately you are a little copycat and were quite [content] to copy your sister today and sit still while I took your photo.  You have such a cheeky smile.
December 2010

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

project 12


Scrapbook and Cards Today have begun their new project 12.  The awesome Becky Fleck (of PageMaps fame) creates a double page (2 12x12s) sketch for each month that is to be completed throughout the month so that by the end of the year you have a years worth of layouts.  They don't need to be done about the month - although I think that is a great idea and is more like an Ali Edwards Project Life which is right up my ally.
This is my first crafting challenge to myself this year.
I will be using the December 2010 sketch today with the photos I took of the girls last month.  I'll be back to share it later... yet another challenge.

Monday, January 03, 2011

one little word

Each year Ali Edwards uses one word to focus on for the year.  It is a chance to meditate on what you want to achieve and what you want to aim for - a goal.  For the year twenty eleven my one little word is challenge.  I have thought long and hard about this word and what it means to me.

"a task or situation that tests someone's abilities"
I want to put myself to the test.  I want to embrace the unknown and learn.  I want to push myself out of my comfort zone.  I know by doing this I will gain experience, enjoyment, satisfaction, friends, skills and so much more.  I am excited my the possibilities that await.

"an attempt to win a contest or championship in a sport"
I want to participate in more challenges, in particular scrapbooking challenges.  I want to attempt more.  The saying goes 'you've got to be in it to win it', but for me, winning isn't the most important part.  It is about being in the running, trying, participating, having a go.  I hope that by being challenged I can succeed with my goal of more scrapbooking layouts for the year.

I want to challenge myself and be challenged.

(dictionary definitions provided by

twenty eleven

I am embracing a new year of papercrafting possibilities.
I am looking forward to more scrapbooking and hope to achieve at least one layout a week.
I am eager to try some new techniques and hone my style.
I am enjoying every moment with my girls.
I am recording memories as Emily starts school and Sophie keeps developing her own unique personality.
I am hopeful that I will regularly post on the blog - even if it's not craft related.
I am excited about the prospects of twenty eleven.