Thursday, 30 April 2009

Layouts no. 3 & 4 (Backporch Memories)

Our challenge during the Backporch Memories crop was to do a layout/s based on the colour scheme of this room. (Pretty room huh?)

Also taking the textural differences into account, tactile feels, etc.

The above layout is NOT MINE! I wish it was - rather gorgeous...It belongs to Lana - the DT member who set the challenge. It is her example.

I liked the look of the black cardstock backing so followed suit. (BTW you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get hold of black bazzill in this town...I bought this in Joburg on my visit last month). I'm so enjoying the scalloped bazzill at the moment. It is so beautifully die-cut (way better than I could ever cut it...) so I plonked this lovely shade of green on top. I layered 4 interesting strips (all cut from printed papers) below an A4 photo that I cut into a square & used some simple doodlebug alphas for my title. A bit of bling, a metal heart, a sticker heart and 4 brads & we're almost done. The date in MM tiny ledgers & some hand-journalling & another one down! That was a bit of a speed-scrap page.

This one was very textural. I liked it so much that I framed it (rubbish frame I might add...all I could find here & very disappointing) & gave it to my Aunt (next to me in the photo). We all look half-descent in the photo, which is a miracle in itself. I'm enjoying this particular shade of green bazzill right now...The pink marbly paper behind the top right-hand corner is the backing sheet from some embellishments I bought (why not?) so that was free ;-D The greeny/pinky strip down the side & across the bottom is local paper (Enmarc). I'm pretty impressed with their efforts. The paper is ultra cute (owls) - the texture is totally wrong (smooth & slipperywhich cheapens it - they need to make it matt) but I like the print. I added a Tres Jolie sticker strip along the bottom then stapled on some crochet ribbon ( I inked it with dark brown first) from my Cocoadaisy kit (March).

I cut up the rest of my KI Memories Lace Cardstock (the bright pink holey stuff) & put some at the top & some at the bottom (also grunged up a bit with the DB ink) then used some MM felt & faux leather flowers to pretty it up a bit & added some rhinestones & buttons. For my title I used some MM white flocked alpha stickers that I softened with a dryish inkpad (that's why you shouldn't chuck 'em away) in pink & brown respectively. The pink corner (top right) was jumping out at me a bit so I toned it down with some 7Gypsies circle stickers in nice spicy tones. It's already up on the wall in Joburg & (hopefully) a nice reminder of a happy family gathering!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Layout nos. 2 & 3 (Backporch Memories)

Thanks for all your kind comments ;-D

I don't like to nag people into doing it 'cos we are all in the same position - we love checking our e mail after a post to see who has bothered to leave one - so it is a real boost when I get so many!

Desire has asked me to explain the flower technique in the previous post. You can check the layout out there.

Cut 3 circles of any size you choose - but small, medium & large (gradually getting bigger/smaller). I used my Creative memories punch for the 2 smaller circles & traced around a round container for the biggest circle. Use your distessing tool (Mine is Making Memories but Heidi Swapp does a good one too...) around the edges. Hold on tight & be careful not to tear completely in half! Crumple into a tight ball in your fist then flatten out & ink gently over the resultant creases & the edge. I always use Dark Brown for the distressed effect...Layer the flowers one on top of the other (I put a foam pad between each circle to make my flowers less flat). When you are uncrumpling don't flatten your flowers out TOO much. Pierce through the centre of your layered up flower with your paper piercer (I used to use a dart until I got one but that was in Zimbabwe - so only do that if you are seriously underprivileged!) then attach with a brad. I used medium-sized shimmery one from Making Memories that had overstayed their welcome in my treasure drawers!

Here is my layout using the photos of my husband & the two younger kids, at the same event as my first layout (last post) First Promenade Walk. I think the paper was Fancy Pants. Great paper. Looks like you have layered shaped-cardstock on top of spotted paper, then added a border, but that's all the actual paper! So I didn't have to do any of it ;-D The funny shapes are from a Sassafrass paper from my April Cocoadaisy kit. I inked them with red & bumped them up on foamcore to 3D them. The scallop photo-corners were actually a chipboard frame I bought that was too small to fit a significant photo in, so I cut it in half, inked it all over (easy if your inkpad is newish & as I hardly ever use red it's still quite wet) & blinged up the one with cheap Body Bling from our local Chinese import warehouse. It is about one tenth of the price of Scrapbooking bling & fine for straight lines but a bit trickier for flourishes, although some of it is quite bendy!

I used my cheapie "mini thickers" from CNA & the real thing for the "walk". The dark blue paper you see on the left is actually the reverse side of the paper. You will see in the next layout that I used less than half of my second sheet of this paper and then flicked my remnant over to use under these photos. My economising is now in full swing... The "All in a Day" metal is a leftover from a 2008 Making Memories set. I just love this paper. I think it is so effective! Oh yes, the challenge here was to document something new...New Beginnings it was called.

My next layout (no. 3) was for the Overkill challenge. You had to use a LOT of one thing so I went overboard on the bling. I used cheap rhinestones that you buy in packets here. Quite a few for R10 (USD1) - a good price for South Africa. I attached them with a glue dot each. I used the back of a printed Dreamstreet paper as my backing paper. Perhaps that was a waste but it looked so good against the photo I couldn't resist ;-D

I drew the flourishes by hand with my metallic pens & blinged them up a bit. Then used more of my cheapie stick-on bling (it comes in lines as you see on the "photo corner" - that is the length you buy it in - each strip is about R5 (USD50c) and self-adhesive). I cut around the shaped-cardstock brackety shape then flicked the paper over to the reverse side then distanced it a bit, in order to fit in the bling in the space.

The Title is made up of letters from The Crazy Store (like the Dollar Store in the States) and the date is from Making Memories Tiny Ledger alphas. I hand journalled with my Creative Memories pen & that was it - Done! Oh, and then I added a little Making Memories Leather flower & a bling centre to the centre of Chelsea's sunglasses - just for fun! ;-D

Layout time( Backporch Memories no. 1)

I've got 13 new layouts to show you remember? So here's the first...
I figure I'll sneak one in between blogposts whenever I get the chance. I'm still busy clearing my inbox after 4 days of absence & see that we have rolled into another day, so thought I'd get this up before retiring. So much for putting my feet in to soak & reading my new book (see last post) Ain't gonna happen...

At last I got these photos scrapped...6 months later! The challenge here was to make the flowers...self-explanatory really...I have seen them around on other people's layouts & was dying to try them myself. So easy, so cheap, so effective! The scroll, flower outline stickers & "beautiful" word are all OLD stash (Doodlebug) so I was happy to see them go ;-D Paper is my new Cocoadaisy April kit. Simple but nice... I want to do some more similar...I can't wait to make some more flowers...think I'm going to use up a whole lot of offcuts (I have 4 barrels worth...) & make some for my my spare time, (???) LOL!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Check out this Link!

Here it is...

Hope this gives you something good to think about this week & work towards in this coming month. This is really achievable...One layout...Let me know if you take part...we have to keep our layouts under wraps until the competition is over so I can't go posting it here on my blog (or anywhere else for that matter...) but will show you all as soon as I can ;-D

So, you've probably gathered by now that I'm back....Duh!...Joburg was wonderful. It was also freezing for us, now used to the humid climes of the tropics here in Durban, and also due to the fact that my Merit student son, Jack, checked out the temps for Durban, not Joburg, when I asked him to "check on the temperatures..." when we were doing our packing! Apparently he didn't hear me say "Oh that's fine then...just the same as here!" when he told me what they were - so we arrived with one sweater each & summer pyjamas. Needless to say, we froze our butts off & I am NEVER going to Joburg again without my own king-size duvet in the boot! And a proper jacket...not that I own one...I will have to look into buying one sometime soon, before the summer stock hits the shelves again.

I now have a 3.9kg neice, called Lyra & a very happy (& exhausted) brother- in-law & wife. 17 hours of labour, the first 7 with no pain relief, & an emergency caesarean at the end of it all...Jody is a tiny girl & she pushed & pushed but baby was just too big. She was desperate for an all-natural birth, and I agree wholeheartedly with her, but it just wasn't to be, maybe next time. I had a caesarean with Chelsea, because she was breach, followed by 3 natural births, and reduced the pain relief each time, until, with Cami, I had nothing. For me, it was the best as I don't react well to medication & preferred to be totally in control. Each to his own though, as long as you have an experience that you are happy with & baby is not in distress, that's all that counts isn't it?

We missed seeing the baby, due to the prolonged labour, as we eventually had to leave Joburg to face the long drive home. We lurked as long as we could, hoping... The hockey was great & the Joburg model C schools were highly impressive. At least I know if we ever have to relocate that the schools are wonderful. Joburg was quite quiet, due to the long weekend, so even the traffic wasn't that bad. We did, however, manage to get lost, for 2 hours, right in Central Joburg, by the notorious Vodacom building, so that was exciting. I actually loved it, brave girl that I am (I have had so many "incidents" I wasn't phased) & took some great photos (scary when you have to keep putting the window up & down to avoid someone grabbing your camera & running off with it...) so that was my adrenaline rush for the week...will post my collage later in the week (when I have made it, LOL!)

I didn't win any prize in the Back Porch Memories crop lucky-draws, but did get 13 layouts done & now know how to "forum" (what's the verb? Like blog?) & post to a gallery within a forum, link back, etc, so I am happy that that is no longer a grey area for me. I actually really enjoyed it & was sad that I missed the Cocoadaisy one this weekend, particularly as I subscribe there now, I did do some scrapping though-7 hours of it (through the night as it was a surprise & I had no time to do it before I left) to get a little (70 page...) mini-album done for my new neice. I had no idea it had so many pages - preparing it seemed interminable! It was fun to do though & the first time I have ever prepared an album with no photos. I titled each page then placed a mat for the photo to go on to & embellished. I had no time to photograph it unfortunately.

It was actually a very busy weekend & I am not really ready for this week at all. I have 2 good Zimbabwean friends here that I need to see this week before they go back (all Zimbabweans descend on Durban every April school holidays...they have to get out of that place for the sake of their sanity & also to shop for boring things like food & toiletries) & am behind on my Design Team submissions for the first time this year, so tomorrow I have to get down to some serious scrapping. Today was all about school circulars, paying bills & grocery shopping, etc.

My feet took some serious strain this weekend, as I took only closed-in shoes (at the advice of my newly acquired podiatrist) as she told me the slops I wear are slowing down the healing process in my feet (long story - 3 years ago - never fully recovered). As I don't wear the shoes I took with me for long periods of time, I had no idea how uncomfortable they were & ended up with blisters all over the place!!! Those 3 pairs of shoes are now in my "to give away" space & I am back in my slops & much happier for it. She told me I ideally need to live in Crocs. I went looking for some today (when I was grocery shopping) & tried on a pair in each colour. They make me look like a clown-they aren't my style-I can't bring myself to wear them...I'll just have to have sore feet for the rest of my life. Off to soak them in a bucket of radox & hot water & read my new book...Digital Scrapbooking for Dummies...that's me! LOL!! ;-D

Friday, 24 April 2009

13 Layouts Loaded!

Phew! That was a mission...13 layouts loaded here at last! Go to Gallery. The Challenges close off today midnight EST (4p.m. here in Durbs as we are 8 hours behind). I am off for the weekend today so I had to get mine in ahead of time. If you want to take a look you can find my layouts in various different galleries there. Namely 1) New Beginnings x 3 2) Overkill x 3 3) Interior Inspiration x 2 4) Fontastic x 3 5) Paper-Flower How-To x 2 . I will upload them all here when I get back. I thoroughly enjoyed the online crop. I only did one class & the rest were challenges. I got pages scrapped that really needed doing. With about 500 entries into their lottery so far my 13 aren't even 10% (and I'm sure the entries will be flying in thick & fast today...) so I doubt I'll be the lucky winner of a 6 month kit subscription, but you never know! Somebody's got to win...That's what I always tell myself anyway ;-)

My feet are killing me from all the standing I have done this week to get 13 layouts completed (I stand when I scrap - can't work any other way...) & I'm pretty exhausted so am looking forward to a nice long kip in the car on the journey. I have my mini-album gift to finish but am just going to have to do that there...This week has gone by in pretty much of a blur for me as I've been on such a crazy scrap mission. I have seen a visible dent in my stash - so that is a good sign - will do a bit of stocking up this weekend - YAY! Desperately in need of page protectors & albums though so yummy embellies & the like will be last in line - boooooooo...

Jack has injured his ankle at hockey practice so we are hoping he will be able to play. It is swollen but we have been diligently heating/soaking/icing/strapping it so we hope & pray ;-) I am feeling a bit fluey but think maybe a relaxing weekend will sort that out...Not sure how relaxing this one will be in reality though as we have 3 lots of relatives to see & at least one lot of friends. Would like to fit in more but, as we have to be at hockey matches all day, this is doubtful. Sorry Bernie! ;-( I have an inbox FULL of e mails as I haven't ventured in there much this week so HANG IN THERE if you've asked/told me something. I will be back on earth on Tuesday!!!

I've had lots of enquiries about the flowers. I haven't photographed them due to lack of time & inclement weather (IOW the only time I had when I could have photographed them it was raining!) so you will get to see them shortly I promise ;-) BTW Jacki (especially) I have looked into the Etsy shop & it is quite possible to have one based in South Africa. There are quite a few (just type "South African sellers" into the search bar) & you will find them - go to "Payment Options" & you will see that there is an SA alternative to Paypal called Setcom.

I think I will probably open an Etsy shop as it doesn't look too difficult & is not too expensive, but the downfall is that overseas people will probably have to pay a fair bit extra on postage, which will be offputting. The only way around this is if I have more stuff on offer in my shop (apart from only crochet flowers) so if any of you South African Crafters have any goods you would like me to sell via my Etsy shop please e mail me. They don't have to be ongoing lines - they can be stock you are trying to get rid of - I will discuss everything with you via e mail. I have done some major research into it this week. If there is more on offer in a shop there is more chance of a buyer thinking it is worth their while buying online & getting multiple purchases posted. Alternatively you can start your own Etsy shop & we can link ours together - meaning that buyers can view both of our shops & select from both & send the stuff together. If you are not in Durban though then one of us will have to send to the other first & there will be the payment to settle/split so this is a bit more complicated.

Was it just us or did anyone else have 3 power outtages last night??? How frustrating as each & every time I was uploading photos to the gallery & had to start from scratch setting up my tabs between the gallery & the forum...uuurgh!!! On that happy note I bid you Farewell!

Happy Weekend & all that...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

My Little Shop of Sketches Layout

This came out at Little Shop of Sketches last week so, if you follow their blog, you would have seen it by now. I am enjoying following sketches more & more now that I have a little bit of practice. It is a great starting point & soon takes on a life of it's own. I was feeling quite adventurous with this one so enjoyed playing with various different elements. I used some Basic Gray Plain paper for my backing cardstock(from the Sugared collection) as I bought the whole Paperpack a couple of weeks ago on special, as it is a 2008 range. Both the lime & the darker green plains are from the same range & I added in some white scalloped bazzill & a couple of medium sized doilies for good measure!

I inked the white bazzill with dark brown ink & used the top sheet of the paper pack as my journalling block (the front cover that shows all the papers included inside, in miniature rectangular blocks, as well as having some white space which I thought would be great to journal in). I cut the paper to the size I wanted & measured out the space I had to journal in, then printed my journalling on some A4 bond paper first. When I got it fitting the space nicely I stuck the printed paper ON TOP of the A4 bond paper - so that the area where I wanted the journalling was DIRECTLY ON TOP OF THE PRINTED JOURNALLING. Then I printed it AGAIN - now directly onto the printed paper. Use masking tape for this & it peels off easily.

You can't go wrong with this method if your paper is nice & flat & not too thick. Be careful, because it can get stuck in your printer when it is feeding through. If this happens your paper will be crunched - fine if you are doing a distressed layout but, if not, your paper will be ruined! Don't panic though - just pull the printer forward & open up the back - it is much easier to pull out the crumpled paper from here rather than the front.

The front cover paper I used had a watermark type floral print on it that I emphasized with the use of buttons - as the flower centres - and doodled the petals with a green milky then added some scrolls/leafy tendrils with my silver paint pen. I inked the area where the edge of the paper would rest against the white bazzill, with dark brown, in order that it stood out. My ink pad is quite dry now so I just swiped it directly onto the cardstock vertically & horizontally over the corner area.

Don't throw away your inkpads until they are bone dry as dryish ones are good for making subtle marks on backing papers, not only for edging. By the way, if yours, like mine, eventually decide to leave home & come away from their backing use tweezers to apply them. I keep a big pair of plastic tweezers in my ink case (can't remember where I got them - think they were part of one of Cami's games!) but regular ones are also fine - bigger is easier though so always be on the lookout, especially at Toys R Us ( a doctor's game is ringing faint bells???) For more control you need to actually be able to fold the inkpad in half - you'll get the hang of it in time - it's like eating with chopsticks - you improve with practice!

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I used some Stickles glitter on the doilies (top & bottom). The buttons, antique lace, MM Lovenotes ticket & circular calendar, silver ribbon & green cotton lace are all from the Cocoa Daisy February/March kits. I also used 3 jelly elements from Love Elsie & a bling dot for the "I" in snowing (which uses SEI letters I've had for yonks) The rest of the title uses el cheapo Thickers-type self-adhesive alphas courtesy of Nat-Stat & available at CNA - not bad, they would make a killing if they could produce a large Thickers-type size. They are only R10 (USD1) per sheet, but lack vowels as usual so I have bought 4 sheets in each colour so I have lots of A's & E's & I must say they are coming in rather handy!)

If you do a quick count you will see that this layout has 6 layers (not including the backing paper) - to get all these layers in position takes a bit of planning (especially as I only work with double-sided permanent tape so have to get it right first time) but I think the end result is worth the effort. To acheive the same effect play around with your papers - cut them down to interesting proportions & layer everything up BEFORE sticking anything down - then remove everything layer by layer - face down next to your layout & start sticking from the bottom up. Either photograph your layout (cell phones are quick & easy for this) or make a little corner mark with a pencil where each paper is to be positioned, just remember to rub this out afterwards for a professional finish!

As the journalling is quite small it appears illegible in the photo so, to put you out of your curious misery, it reads:-


Journalling:- Okay, so it's only hail, but, to me, it's snow! I have lived in Africa all my life, so, when I came across this I got overexcited! It was actually really scary as we got caught in a hailstorm driving back to Durban from Joburg in January 2009. We had to pull over & wait for it to pass...Made for a good photo op anyway (through the windscreen of course!)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Susan Boyle - apparently not pretty enough...

Oh how sad...that people can't bear to look at someone that doesn't fit the commercialised bill of "beautiful" (aka slutty, raunchy, Lady Gaga (who I also happen to love BTW) style blah, blah, blah). Somehow I don't see Susan reinvented as Suzie B, in red leather with a long platinum blonde wig. We must all remember that this lady is nearing 48. Personally I think Madonna, at 50, looks ridiculous. She isn't 26 & her youthful looks are gone, never to return, no matter how much money she is prepared to invest in diet, exercise & cosmetic surgery. If I were her I would retire, enjoy my cash & start eating! I agree that Susan needs a good foundation, a hair job & a serious eyebrow tweak. Those things go without saying. But anything beyond that would take away from her marvellously sincere appeal. After all, you can close your eyes if you like, there's no questioning where her talent lies...

This is all over the internet at the's an idea of what could be done with a bit of tweaking...I say YES! Within reason & not because she's ugly, just because it would bring out the best in her.

Withdrawal Symptoms

That's right...that's me...splitting headache & all! (No Kidding) I haven't been near this pc for 2 solid days & it's killing me, LOL! Bad news is I won't be able to be near it for long now either, in fact, I'll only really be able to get down to business once again on Tuesday. Oh how I wish for a laptop...We are going to be away this weekend & I hate using unfamiliar pcs let alone asking if I can hog someone else's bandwidth. As you know I have committed myself to Back Porch Memories (see blinkie for link) for the week so am busy scrapping up a storm, hence the lack of pc action ;-)

So far I have completed 6 single layouts. Now for me that's a lot. I've told you before, I don't do anything fast. I can't multitask either. It's just gotta be me, a cup of tea, some music (Slumdog Millionairre soundtrack at the mo) & possibly a cat at my feet. And so it goes for hours...I've been into their gallery & taken a look. There is one contributor whose work is lovely & a lot of other speedy scrappers...The grand prize is a 6 month sub to a kit club, a worthwhile prize, randomly generated, so the best idea really would be to snap a bunch of recent (or old for that matter) layouts, providing they fit the specs given, but it's not my style. I want to learn something here - so I'm going all out to make an effort & produce pages that don't need any finishing off later. All done, all finished, snapped & into their albums. Done.

Then it's straight on to a mini-album for my neice (or hunch is a neice) who we hope to be seeing this weekend if he/she arrives on time, ie:- tomorrow. I bought a cute ready assembled album at CNA (actually a photo album so no room for 3D embellishments) but the pages are all printed & I have some BG 6 x 6 mini paperstacks & Creative Memories journalling cards that I'm going to cut & stick so that all my sis-in-law's gotta do is add the photos & the journalling. Oh, and I'll embellish a little... So that should be easy enough, just not sure how I'll cope scrapping in the car on a 6 hour journey! Could be interesting. We've already given them the normal gift - baby clothes & requisites, as we saw Jody at the wedding a month ago. She is not a scrapper (yet,lol) so I am giving her the album, together with a pack of metallic gel pens for her journalling & may add some alphas, etc (cash permitting) & give it all to her in a nice big toiletry/cosmetic bag, so all her supplies stay together safely.

Durban has suddenly cooled down to rather chilly, which is always a bit of a shock after our interminable summers. I actually had my electric blanket on last night & was ultra toasty ;-) This weekend seemed to pass particularly speedily. Saturday morning got chomped up by chores & Saturday afternoon saw me so mesmerised by Susan Boyle (see previous post) that I spent 3.5 hours watching every single Youtube video I came across, on her performance & interviews. I am a strangely obsessive creature & she really captivated me. Saturday night was a good family evening with lots happening all around the house from chess matches to homework to DVD viewing. We go in phases in this household & at the moment we are in the "Wild Child" phase. We are all in love with the movie (hence we bought the DVD) & we each have our favourite lines. Cami keeps shooting her hand out at any willing passers by & enunciating "Whoella Novella - Harriet - Head Girl!" - meaningless if you haven't watched the movie but hilarious if you have...Needless to say peels of laughter follow...the joys of childhood!

Sunday morning saw Jack make the Ethikwini under 15 Hockey team, set to try out for Provincials shortly, then off to Callaways at the Mount Edgecombe Golf Course to celebrate. Chelsea had breakfast with her gang at Gateway while Jack was at trials so we collected her on our way through to the driving range, which worked out perfectly. Shane & Jack hit a bucket of balls each (yes, Jack's idea of a treat is more sport...) while we enjoyed a leisurely lunch & argument (the order of the day for my teenage daughter & I at the moment ;-D). We are onto the subject of tertiary education already. With her 16th birthday looming (& the fact that she is a year young for her class - long story) means that we have almost exactly a year left to decide upon a course of action for her life & find a relative degree for her. Having no direction in life makes this all the more difficult!!! Talk about frustrating...

Fortunately I managed to talk her out of au pairing in Europe & theme park operating in the US. Her opinion is that, seeing she'll be only 17 when she matriculates, she has a year (if not two!) to loaf around at our expense! Kids!!! The things they come up with...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

In Absolute Amazement...

I watched this video on You Tube. My husband's friend in Ireland told him about it last night on MSN. I am completely affected by it. I laughed. I cried. I laughed again. It's a MUST SEE. Embedding is disabled as per (I presume her) request, so you need to copy this link then paste into your browser. Do it now. Change your perceptions. Feel ashamed. I did.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Busy scrapping...

This is where I'll be spending a good portion of my time this week & weekend. You should go check it out - their design team have some wonderful classes & challenges lined up - starting today & due in by Friday 24th - and the grand prize is very worthwhile. Remember, SA Scrappers, that Wednesday is a public holiday here and (after voting of course) you may find some time to do a layout or three...

I figured I'd give this a go. I've been scouting out forums lately because people tell me how addictive they are. Personally, I don't see the appeal as I like "doing my own thing" & have literally hundreds of layouts lined up, with photos already printed, so I don't need to be making Organiser folders & mini-albums at this stage. I'm hoping that the bug will bite though & that I'll get some regular 12 x 12 layouts done to fill up my albums, as it sure is a good way to motivate you & give you a deadline to work to.

There are 13 challenges going on & 4 classes and you can enter 3 layouts/cards/etc per selection so you could acheive 17 x 3 = 51 projects if you were Superwoman & had no life! ;-) Obviously though, it is all up to you & these talented ladies have worked very hard to prepare a sumptuous feast to share so I am going to give it a try & see if I enjoy it. One thing I know for sure is that I will end up with more layouts than if I didn't do it and that's a good thing!

The way it works, in a nutshell (I have just spent 2.5 hours there looking into ALL of it) is you do the work, post to their gallery (have never done this before so hope it is straightforward) then go into the "thread" (you'll see how to do this soon enough if you are inexperienced in forums, like me) & leave a link there to your layout. You need to upload everything one-by-one & then go into each thread to add your links - one per project. I'm figuring this could be pretty time-consuming so am not making any promises that you'll see dozens of my layouts in their gallery next weekend, but if you check back on me, hopefully something will be in there,lol!

Each layout you do gives you another entry into the Grand Prize Draw, which is randomly generated, so, basically, the more work you do (of any standard? it would seem...) gives you an extra chance. I suppose no-one wants to post "scrappy" (pardon the pun) scrappy work to an online forum tho'. So that's me covered there for a while ladies. I also have DT work due in that day & am still working on the dreaded crochet flowers. The first lot go on sale tomorrow, here in Durbs, at my friends scrappy Open Day (2 - 5 in the afternoon). Any locals wanting to attend need to e mail me & I will give you further details. Lots of stuff on sale tomorrow at excellent prices. Will try to click some photos of my flowers when I am photographing all the dozens (ha ha) of layouts I will be doing & get them on the blog someday soon.

Am thinking an Etsy shop may be the way to go with this but not sure if SA peeps have them...need to do some further investigating...some other interesting news...I may have myself a part-time job...can't say more than that at this stage but can tell you that it involves doing the 2 things I love most & if you don't know what those are by now you haven't been listening!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Take the Personality Quiz!

You Are a Papaya

You are a calm, balanced, and mild mannered person.

While you're peaceful and together, you're also quite complex.

You are authentic and honest. There are some very distinct elements to your personality.

You are exotic and original, but you don't flaunt it. You allow others to discover your subtle complexities.

What Tropical Fruit Are You?

Is it a compliment dya reckon???!!! I'm a paw-paw! Well, I love paw-paw, in fact, right after this post I'm off to get some from the fridge...Honestly though, I'm flattered by Blogthings, thank you! I love all their adjectives.


10 nice words for me today! Thanks to Stefanie for directing me here...I had fun & it made me


Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wednesday Blog Awards

Desire, over at
Doing Life gave me this cute award some time ago & I have only just got to sharing it with you. I am to pass it on to 5 fellow bloggers, whose blogs make me smile...This is tricky because I have a good chuckle at so many blogs, and also because all the blogs Desire selected are ones I also love myself!

So here are my 5!

Penny (PMB)
Heidi (NZ)
Jenny (Durbs)
Jenny (NZ)
Jessica (USA)

Hope you like!

Remember to post this award onto your blog, nominate your 5 peeps (don't forget to hyperlink them) & add to your side-bar. Penny ;-) Know you are new to this - just highlight the person's name then click the icon on the task bar on top of where you type your post (it looks kinda like a cloud)...on the RHS of the T icon (with the different coloured squares) then type the blog address - including http:// in...once posted I always check my links to see that they go through. Don't forget to link my name too (hey, I also like a bit of free publicity!)...

Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Easter Photo Delight

Herewith my Easter photos...

Inspired by my big square punch, recently acquired, I decided to test out the "CD cover - square" crop size on Picasa & create grid collages instead of mosaic ones, for a change. I really don't like our garden (rented) so I used the soft-focus function to blur the background as much as possible! We had our hunt a bit late in the morning & the sun was directly overhead so there was too much shadow, but the kid's fun was more important to me than perfect photographs. This way I can scrap Easter Sunday in one double layout, instead of numerous pages...nice!

The cats were bemused & intrigued by the goings on so I had to include them in the collages! I didn't choose the kids outfits but I told them all to go for something nice & fresh - yellow/blues & make sure they all "tied in" together...they did a good job I reckon! When I print these out I am going to go for A4 size so they will all be a lot clearer than how they appear here. The photos in the above collage were taken against a white wall (of our house) which is always an effective, uncomplicated background that does away with any distracting elements.

Jack was very sulky & complaining about having to change into something more suitable, so I had to disclude him from this photo because I was laughing so much at his cross expression that the camera was shaking all over the place!

Here he is making an effort (hard to believe...) but not too bad...

And here is more of the real Jack! His dad threatened to take away his chocolate unless he co-operated...could have something to do with the sudden appearance of a smile! ;-)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Tips for budding photographers...

What a lovely long weekend it has been. It seems that, all around the world, everyone has been chilling...If only there were more times like these! I have been particularly laid back & enjoyed the bonding with my kids & hubby. I have done a bit of scrapping (will show you later-not yet photographed) & spent many hours at my pc editing my photos & organizing "My Pictures" into lots of neat & organised folders. I recently bought Stacey Julian's book, Photo Freedom & am working on getting all my images into an easily retrievable format. No.Easy.Task.

Soon I will be starting my photography course & I am so excited for it. I have tried SO HARD over the last few years to improve my photography, and I have. Looking back at old photos is the only way to measure your achievement as your standards rise alongside your achievements so it is all too easy not to recognise them. Boy, was I bad...All kinds of background interference in my photos & weird compositions, huge feet in the foreground, etc. I think I am on track with all that now but am hoping to learn how to get the most from my lovely camera (Nikon D40) SLR.

I find cameras confusing...I am not really one of these "manual" people & loathe going through all the instructions...although I have done so at times & it has definitely helped. I don't feel confident instructing others but am told that my photos are good so...I would definitely advise getting a "real" camera first-off. You really need TWO honestly. An SLR for when you have time to set shots up (mine is used mostly at home) & a digital camera (teeny one) for your handbag. Mine "lives" in my bag - so I never miss a moment. But, give me an ultimatum, & I would choose the SLR hands down.

Whenever I can tho', I use my "big" camera. It is only 6 megapix (it's the D40 - not the D40X) & it's all I could afford BUT takes photos streets ahead of my little digital camera (Panasonic Lumix - never buy one - 10 megapix & rubbish quality) I enquired about this strange phenomenon (at a local photo printing store) to be told that this is not at all unusual & "pixels aren't everything". Apparently the size of the camera is important - the bigger the better (something about the light box - light reflecting - blah blah) so, despite the allure of those cute little pink metallic things, just remember, they can't compete with the real thing!

A Photo Editing Program is essential if you want to tweak your prints. I had 8 on my pc & uninstalled 6 of them recently. Don't need them...Better to streamline & simplify. Picasa is the best I have come across. As a photo editing tool. NOT as a photo storage program. My Pictures is fine for that. No need to move them. As & when you need to just click "import" on top LHS of Picasa & move them in to do your tweaking...then "export" them out...centre bottom of screen...and put them back in My newly tweaked.

I'm starting to learn just a little bit more about composition...things like "depth of field" for example. See bottom right of the above collage. It's when there are different elements progressively further & further behind the first. It definitely adds a different & more "alive" dimension & interest to photographs. I tend to take the bulk of my shots as "portrait" -vertical - orientation &, through cropping (making them smaller) I change some to "landscape" - horizontal - for visual interest. I know I could just do this at the time but I'm more concerned with capturing the moment & can do the "turning" later.

I also love taking action shots, something I never used to do, until I started photographing my son's sports matches. I have a "sport" setting - for photographing moving objects - but at times have no time between shots to change settings, & the above shot is just taken on "auto". In good light, when the shutter speed is fast, this is entirely possible (catching a non-blurred image without using a fancy setting). Picasa is very user friendly re: editing tools. They are all pretty self-explanatory & I have never had to read any online tutorials or the like. The "retouch" tool is a particular favourite of mine, now that I have a teenage girl prone to spots. She loves it when I edit them out! Just in case you thought she had a flawless complexion ;-)

Something simple - I used to think that the subject in the centre was a good position-noooooooooooooooooooo, I have since decided (no idea what the actual "rules" are...) that photos like this one (above) are better...Off centre is good. Remember the "rule of thirds" in design? Well, it applies to photography too I reckon. Now, if you are a "pro" photographer like some people I know then "sorry!" I don't know a lot, but I have learnt a little & am happy to share...

Friday, 10 April 2009

Journaling Junkies April Layout

Herewith my latest submission for Journaling Junkie this week...

Our spec was to create a page about something significant to us that would need an explanation for others...

Before you read on - if you are one of those people who struggles with journalling (or if you think your journalling needs ANY improvement at all) - go & visit this site & sign up as a follower - this girl works hard & would love some support - PLUS you will be the one to benefit!

I received 3 Basic Grey Paper Packs this week & this is (practically) all from the Sultry range. All except for the thickers Platform alphas I used for the date. I kinda felt guilty that it was so easy 'cos all the papers already co-ordinated - ridiculous hey?! I am really all about simplifying things - well, I am trying to be. I'm enjoying cutting around printed elements on papers so much these days, & the novelty doesn't seem to be wearing off...The smaller elements were all pre-cut stickers so that was simple. I just bumped up the 2 hearts with foamcore for some dimension.

As for the little dots around the title & on the brackety strip above the date - I took these from inside the holes on the scallop strip (see above the photo) By pushing them through with my paper piercer. Top left hand corner semi-circle shape is a full circle stuck over the edge. Just flip the paper over after & cut off the excess...(Keep it for somewhere else of course,LOL!) I hand-journalled in dark brown & inked the journalling strips with my lime green inkpad. So that's it girls...easy peasy this week & pretty effective nonetheless I reckon.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Bloggy friends are real too!

I met Penny Woolridge today! Woohoo!! Feels like I've known her for ages...well, I HAVE kind of known her for ages...but only via Blogland & e mailing re: our Cocoa Daisy Crew Kit Club. Our first kits arrived this week & Penny was passing through (she's inland & I'm coastal) so we hooked up. My teenage daughter, Chelsea, was intrigued...she always asks me if I've met any of my bloggy friends & (when I tell her NO) she tells me they can't be my friends then!

I have to admit to being slightly nervous (Chelsea compared it to a blind date,LOL!) but it was wonderful & we chatted away over cappucino, etc...Chelsea was seriously impressed & took this lovely photograph. When we had gone our separate ways Chelsea said "Well, that wasn't actually that weird...she's more normal than you are!"...which kinda says it all really...

We spent last weekend at Tinley Manor Beach & this was the (obviously defunct...) air-conditioning unit outside our apartment - LG - When Life WAS Good...needless to say the apartment wasn't the plushest...

Nonetheless we enjoyed the nearby beach...just a stone's throw away...

But this is as far as I made it into the sea...not being a beach girl at heart...

Someone spent every minute in the water per usual...

And loved the bonding time with her dad...who loves the waves as much as she does...

Reilly & Cami enjoyed their dad's undivided attention for a while...

Chelsea found a giant anchor that she thought would make a good photo prop...

And posed for a great series of photos for me while the others played beach soccer...

Can't wait to scrap some of these awesome shots...

Doesn't this little girl have the longest legs???!!! Just like her dad...

As you can see I've been playing in Picasa again...

Have a fantastic Easter weekend!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

My Journaling Junkie Layout for end March.

Did this one last week for my DT sub...We had to do a series of photos depicting an event or process & document what was happening/what thoughts came to mind at the time...Go here if you want to get some ideas that really push the envelope WRT documenting the important stuff...

Here Reilly is enjoying ( yet another) jawbreaker...

Glad this got me going to get this layout done. It's about 6 months old & needed doing before I forgot the details ;-) Apart from the backing cardstock (Colourmates) all the rest of the papers are Cocoa Daisy. The green stickers are from my stash - I bought them on sale & have regretted it ever since as I find them hard to use...The l'il black glitter ones are MM & have been SO handy...on almost every layout this year...The bigger letters are from the sticker sheet provided by CD (Creative Imaginations). Little stickers on bottom right are MM tiny ledger alphas mixed colours - have LOVED using these.

Enjoying all the cute buttons I find in my CD pack each month...Also love that blue shaped cardstock...This time I decided to cut it up instead of just using the whole sheet adhered to a piece of plain cardstock as a background.

I can't stop tearing, even though I've seen a lot of people going in for heavy distressing instead these days. PLEASE TELL ME - anyone who knows - how is that really heavy distressing achieved? I have a Making Memories black plastic distressing tool with a small blade inside. It's cool, but doesn't rough things up quite as much as I want it to at times. Any ideas what I can do or what I need to use/buy for a more distressed look? Would appreciate some feedback here... Thanks ;-)

Title reads:- 4 X 4 = 16 Hours of Fun (AKA The Art of Eating Jawbreakers)
Journalling reads:-
Step 1 : Remove from packet & start to lick.
Step 2 : Pop into side of cheek & bond with hamster.
Step 3 : Swap cheeks for good measure occassionally.
Step 4 : Eventually (after 3 hours) attempt to bite.
Step 5 : (If step 4 fails) Climb onto top bank & throw onto (clean) floor!
Step 6 : Pick up pieces & stuff into mouth.
Step 7 : Chomp on pieces (30 mins).
Step 8 : Chew on gum found inside (30 mins).

Found it quite challenging using all those photos on one layout. Am much preferring the "bit of breathing space" look these days...although I know that it's not really practical to showcase every photo alone on a single page if you are as snap happy as I am!

Still Scrapping...

And making good use out of my new Cocoa Daisy kit... This one was my Little Shop of Sketches submission for last week. Go here for more inspiration from my DT sistas...

A lot of the supplies used were from my kit, except for the Making Memories jelly alphas (the red polka-dot ones) & the Making Memories tiny ledger alphas (the black ones that spell out "eccentric") & the bling crystals. I finally got my sewing machine set up in my scrappy space & sewed around the circle. I enjoyed myself so much I just wanted to keep going (hence quite a few rotations,lol!) I inked & distressed the edges a lot as I've been inspired lately by a lot of this on the web.

Got the staples & the dymo out too...and left the chipboard raw this time (except for the bling) Love the filigree butterfly...These kits are very well put together & definitely stand out from the crowd, in my humble opinion.

This layout was a submission to a Recipe Challenge that called for a lot of particulars. I found this very difficult, to be honest, as it was so restricting...I had made a promise to take part so I had to stick to my word ;-) It took a LONG time but I was over the moon with the result...again, almost everything was from my new Cocoa Daisy kit, except for the glitter chipboard piece (Making Memories) & the filigree heart, heart button & 2 little heart brads...oh, and the bling! And the dark brown Bazzill...and the metallic paint & ribbon (I cut it in half & frayed it...MM again I think...)

The dymo & the staples are there again - my new faves...oh, & the masking tape - simply torn - love it...Enjoyed scratching in the still wet paint (under the journalling strips) & loved the torn out "triangle" with the crunched & distressed/inked cardstock attached attempt at paper layering.

Recipe Ingredients

3 photos (2 have to be slanted)
3 patterned papers (1 needs to be cut out, as mine is ie. floral)

2 plain cardstock
1 chipboard piece
Glitter & bling


Alphas for title

4 hearts

4 Buttons



Paint or Stamping

1 Memorabilia item (ie postcard, ticket stub etc)

Paper, beige cardstock, rub-ons & big black alphas all courtesy of Cocoa Daisy. Little black glitter alphas are Making Memories. I had no ephemera on hand so cut out a little calendar of March this year & circled Jack's birthday with a fineliner...also stuck in a barcode off one of his recent clothing purchases...just for good measure ;-) I probably made it tougher than need be by deciding that I would NOT do a pretty pretty girly page. I love making unusual things work & thought if I could get a page done of my gorgeous but brooding teenage boy using bling, etc, & not have it turn out naffy I would have achieved a lot. Turns out even HE likes it...

May actually win something this time...will let you know...