Wednesday 31 March 2010

Oops! I Did it Again...{plus links to everything you need}

In "real life" I'm not one of those "lucky" people that wins tonnes of stuff {probably because I don't bother to enter much as I don't usually want the prizes up for grabs or am put off by the other 46 999 999 people who have the option of entering}. However, ONLINE, now that's a totally different story! I have a long-standing online bud called Vicki who has an expression..."Gotta be in it to win it!". I've never told her {guess she may read it here lol...} that it's thanks to that saying that I decided to at least ENTER online challenges, etc! Well, to my amazement I've been pretty successful & my latest "achievement" is here!

And some other good news! I've been shopping!! My delights will take a full month to get here I suspect but I got them all here & did you know {SA blogger/scrappers} that they are old hands at shipping to us here in South Africa? I got a good discount on postage from them as it was my first order & the postage fee divided by the number of items purchased is US$00.60 cents each {about R5} which, while it may be a lot for "overseas" folk, for us it's a steal! Check it out if you're not based in the US & need access to the latest products. {I checked out a lot of sites & chose the one with the biggest selection of new CHA product} so I've done the research for you!

MORE good news...I finally signed up
Here! and hopefully I will get a place in KR's end of year or beginning of 2011 class, despite being no. 1321 on the waitlist!!! {the "new" method is that EVERYONE on the waitlist for the next available {ie:- not booked up} class has the opportunity to register on a certain date at a certain time}...a bit like an auction I 'spose in that whoever "gets through" first "wins"! Sounds a bit like a wild bun fight but for this course I'm prepared to do whatever it takes ;-D Check it out if you're a crazy camera toting freak like me!

Very occasionally I do a little ETSY snooping {for those of you living under rocks that's an online "collective" store where crafters sell their wares} & my latest obsessional desire is this. Check it out if you love really cute {& semi-practical!} "adornments" for your craft room & all things EXCESSIVELY PRETTY! I can't afford it right's a real indulgence & I'm sure it'll be gone by the time I can actually order it so if you want it, buy it, I don't mind, really... I insist! And BTW she has the most droolworthy blog too!

I also stumbled upon this today...If you love tutorials this one's for you...and the subject today is super-cute "Prima generic" twisted muslin flowers...oooooooooooooooooh!!!!

Into "hybrid" scrapping?
Ie:- not afraid to download images, resize & print them to suit your layouts?
Want FREE VINTAGE IMAGES??? This is THE place!!!

9 links is all I have energy for tonight peeps! Until we meet again...

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Weekend Away {Captured!}

We spent this weekend up the coast visiting family who had come to visit {unfortunately no room for visitors in our house!} so of course I took my camera with on our beach walk.

Although I am using my predetermined settings usually {as opposed to manual} I think I must be getting better because this top photo needed no cropping or editing! All I did was convert it to black & white.

Definitely learning that where I am positioned is very important - the top photo is taken from higher than the subject & this one above is taken from lower. I've learnt that little things like that make a big difference.

Sometimes the focus may not be great but the composition is.

I love that the shutter speed was so fast here that the water droplets are evident on Reilly's face!

This photo is weird - Reilly looks like a cardboard cut-out against an artificial backdrop. What I call a happy accident! Think I'm going to try this again - get someone to wear something really bright & photograph them in front of a monotonous/bland expanse. Love it!

This is one of my favourites. All I did was crop it into a square. Reilly trying to catch baby fish in his hands {needless to say he was unsuccessful}.

Father & son. Shane's skintone is so different to Reilly's that I had no choice here but to convert to b/w but I think it's lovely ;-D

A rare pic of Jack looking alive & not his usual blah expression...{caught unawares you see...}

Coming in for a kiss...Grainy quality {not sure why} but I captured a moment there...If only I could get it ALL right ALL the time...

All I did here was "straighten" {used the tool to completely slant the horizon} & cropped square. Funky...

A more traditional angle.

One of my favourites that Shane & Cami are in the background. Very cool.

This one is my all-time fave from the shoot. Love everything about it.

All 4 kiddies. Not perfect but believe me getting them all to look even vaguely normal simultaneously is one heck of a challenge!

Another favourite! I've noticed that these types of rocks {quite common here on our beaches} photograph really well. The top of the photo is not showing here against the white background though I see...

Same here - can't see the top of the photo because the sky was so light it was almost white. This was the view from our apartment. Not too shabby huh?! Only complaint was no air-con {& that is a really big complaint ...makes it more comfortable just to stay at home!}

My first ever flower photo! Not a great angle I know...

Yup...was pretty chuffed with this first insect photo...okay I know I was blessed with a pretty awesome subject! Chelsea just happened to spot him on our way past ;-D Have a great day!

Monday 29 March 2010

The ones that never made it...

Sometimes I just "scrap it quick", usually because time is short, the photos aren't the best, or I'm wanting to use up paper I've had enough of, offcuts, etc. I usually take a quick photo or two when I'm done, add the page to the relevant album & that's it. These layouts are that type. The ones that never made it...{with the really bad photography to match!}

Focus on Cami's pages I'm working my way through my 2009 Layouts folder & deleting all the extras that I don't need...{I always sort the photos within my folders from youngest to oldest, hence Cami comes first}.

See what I mean about the bad photos, lol?!? Lots of hand-journaling on these - 'cos it's quick & easy for me...Every year I do at least one school layout per child, more if there are sporting achievements to record.

Relationship layouts are one of my faves...I've noticed I have numerous pages featuring these two. They share a very special bond. {They're "tight" as the kids here would say...}

The title here pertains to the fact that Cami & Reilly were in the car when I took the photo. "Not going anywhere yet" - as opposed to the teens who, before I know it, will be leaving the nest, & are already testing their wings!

Just over a year down the line the above saying ain't as true as it was then...which is one of the reasons why we remember...

Love the above photos, even though DH looked like a lobster in them {btw 3 IPL treatments later & the difference is remarkable - worth every penny that treatment I tell ya}

Don't be horrified at the title of this one - if you read the journaling you'll understand - it's just a joke DH & Cami share!

Saturday 27 March 2010

We Could all do with a Laugh around about Now...

I've noticed the airwaves have been pretty bleak this week. Seems like so many people are having a hard time of it lately, me included. Humour is a wonderful thing & something not employed often enough I find. If I didn't have a great sense of humour - living in Africa, quite honestly, would be a chore. I received this over e mail this week & couldn't help but chuckle. Please don't be offended if you're blonde! I don't subscribed to the stereotype!!

A blonde goes to her local pet store in search of an 'exotic' pet . As she looks about the store, she notices a box FULL of frogs.

The sign says:- 'S*X FROGS' Only $20 each! Comes with 'complete' instructions. The girl excitedly looks around to see if anybody's watching her. She whispers softly to the man behind the counter, 'I'll TAKE one!' As the man packages the frog, he quietly says to her, 'Just follow the instructions!' The blonde nods, grabs the box, and is quickly on her way home. As soon as she closes the door to her apartment, she opens the instructions and reads them very carefully. She does EXACTLY what is specified:

1. Take a shower.
2. Splash on some nice perfume.
3. Slip into a very s*xy nightie.
4. Crawl into bed and place the frog down beside you, and allow the frog to do what he has been trained to do.

She then quickly gets into bed with the frog and to her surprise . . . NOTHING happens! The blonde is very disappointed and quite upset at this point. She re-reads the instructions and notices at the bottom of the paper it says, 'If you have any problems or questions . please call the pet store.' So, she calls the pet store. The man says, 'I'll be right over.' Within minutes, the man is ringing her doorbell. The blonde welcomes him in and says, 'See, I've done everything according to the instructions. The darn frog just SITS there!' The man . . . looking very concerned, picks up the frog, stares 'directly into its eyes' and STERNLY says:

I'm only going to show you how to do this
ONE ... MORE .... TIME!!!'

Now if that didn't bring a smile to your face then you definitely need to learn to laugh a little!


{btw the * is just there as a precaution against Google 42 I CAN say the word...;-D}

Thursday 25 March 2010

I've decided...{& you can too!}

I think I'm totally crazy but I just can't get
this out of my head...

Why? Well it's something that really interests me, I am bored stiff with Blogger as there's no challenge left - I know how it all works now! And because I have always been a big fan of the girl behind it all...{not least because she hails from just a few hours down the road from here...}

The timing couldn't be worse for me but I am going for it anyway! It's not a big cash outlay & I will have access to all the info for ages afterwards if I get waylaid, can't finish, or whatever other awful thing could & may well happen...bearing in mind that we are moving house during the period in question & I will be without a PC towards the end of it at least, for sure.

I need a challenge, I need something different, I'm bored despite the fact that I have so much to do. The bulk of my days are being spent doing things that HAVE to be done, that I wish I could just wave a magic wand over & have materialise without my input. This however ... I WANT to do this!

My thinking is that if I devote an hour or two to this every evening instead of reading/watching TV/blogging... I'm bound to learn something, right?

So anybody gonna join me?

Here's a look at the class curriculum!

The Bling:

1. Choosing a blogging platform
2. Configuration
3. Dashboard overview
4. Creating a post
5. Creating a signature
6. Creating/using posting templates
7. Designing/installing backgrounds
8. Designing/installing headers and banners
9. Learning to use HTML
10. Creating sidebar items
11. Using/customizing the navigation bar
12. Designing/installing a favicon
13. Photo album integration
14. Installing widgets
15. Social network integration
16. Creating fancy titles (Blogger)
17. Commenting systems
18. Add ons and plugins to make life easier!
19. Domain mapping
20. Tracking your statistics

The Business (A 50+ page printable workbook):

1. Discovering your identity
2. Branding your blog
3. Gathering inspiration
4. Defining your content
5. User friendly blogging
6. How to gain readers
7. Creating connections
8. Search engine optimization techniques
9. Promoting your blog
10. Getting and using press
11. Understanding and utilizing keywords
12. Understanding and utilizing Google Analytics
13. Monetizing your blog
14. Tips and Tricks
15. Set of 52 blog topic prompts

+ HTML code e-booklet
+ Custom designed Blogger template
+ Two sets of custom designed backgrounds and banners for you to choose from!

And a BONUS blogging calendar template!

This class is intended for BLOGGER and TYPEPAD users.

RECOMMENDED: It is recommended that you have a photo editing program available to use during this class. We will be utilizing Photoshop and Photoshop Elements to teach you how to design your own blog bling as well as to customize the provided headers and banners. It is also recommended that you have a text editing program, such as notepad.


Kayla Aimee Terrell and Wilna Furstenberg


Instructor Led (Your instructors will be available for Q/A via a private class forum from April 12-May 1, 2010)


Written Lesson, Video, Screenshot, Assignments


Class begins April 12, 2010 and ends on May 1, 2010, however students have access to the classroom until April of 2011! The instructor led portion of the class is three weeks long, after which time an instructor will be available via email for class support.



Registration Begins March 15, 2010
Class Begins April 12, 2010

Sounds exciting right?!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Spring Cleaning {in Autumn!}

You all know that I have a big move looming right? Now that should be exciting...but right now I'm not thinking that far ahead, just itching to get those Title Deeds into my little hot hands so that I can get there & start renovating. At this rate my dream of having it all done ahead of time is slipping through my fingers, through no fault of my own, as our transfer has been delayed 3 weeks so far...

I've been using the packing opportunity to tackle some decor jobs before I put things into boxes, like painting our scuffed black lamp-bases white for our new bedroom.

Originally I was going to leave my garden pots behind. I brought them in the container all the way from Zimbabwe 4 years ago & I've owned them for years & wanted something new. However, we can't always have what we want & when I saw that new PLASTIC ones cost R260 {USD$35} I decided {gulp!} that these weren't that bad lol...they were cracked {they're made of solid concrete!!} & were a tired shade of dark green, so I set to work filling the gaps & slicking on some Plascon "Canyon Road" paint.

I had transplanted my pot plants into the ground for the last couple of years, with the intention of removing them & putting them into bigger pots when we moved on, so have been busy "re-organising" my pot plant family. Ain't no way I'm leaving my agapanthus & syngoniums behind ;-D

Once a fortnight I have the help of this young Zulu man, Phili, for the best part of a day. He happily relocates heavy pots, fills up our trailer full of excess foliage which DH then takes to the dump {here our weather is so hot & tropical that things grown like wild-fire, particularly if they are indigenous}& keeps the lawn mown, etc. Generally speaking the Zulu people here do not have a great command of the English language & are known for being lazy, which has meant that I have been through quite a number of people unwilling to work hard, but Phili & I work well together & he does his bit!

And here are the 2 ladies who are helping make my life a bit easier at the moment. Mercy, our permanent helper, on the right, who has AIDS but has recently started ARV treatment, virtually free at a local hospital. She has since discovered that she also has TB {Tuberculosis} so is being treated for free at a local clinic for that too. All this means that she spends 2 days a month queueing all day for her medication. She is on the up though & has gained a bit of weight & got used to the treatment that initially had severe side-effects. Despite her ordeal she has continued helping out as much as possible with all the housework.

On the left is her daughter, Farai, who is just visiting from another province, to help her mum out. Without her it would have been very difficult for Mercy or I to manage. She has been staying with us since just before Christmas & is leaving soon. I was hoping that she would be here to help us move but that is looking doubtful now that our house transfer has been so delayed. Mum & daughter have loved being together & I'm sure Mercy will miss having her youngest with her, but at 25 Farai cannot put her life on hold forever & needs to get back to her boyfriend, her part-time studies, and her {hopefully not} never-ending job search...

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Finally...A layout {of sorts}

Okay, this is a pretty strange one, but what can I say? I was in an artsy mood ;-D

This is my Journaling Junkie Layout for Challenge 76. Our spec was to record our pet peeves & journal about what makes us angry! My layout is entitled "Don't Delay!" & is all about the way I eventually SNAP! when people procrastinate too long ;-D & contains quite a lot of journaling as usual...

I didn't have an appropriate photo to use so I found this clock one on the internet, did all the journaling in Word, including the title & all the sayings, then copied & pasted my photo in & resized it, so that I could print everything out onto photo paper as one document.

My base paper is cardboard box cardboard with the top layer pulled off around the edges to reveal the corrugated cardboard. I love using this as a base & think it's quite "safe" as long as your photo/s & other elements are all mounted onto cardstock on top of it. Right at the top there {see below}I also used some white corrugated paper that I have a stash of, saved from biscuit/light-bulb packaging.

I misted parts of the base cardboard around the edges then scraped the journaled photo paper over the plastic bag I had used under the misting, to get the messy effect around the edge/on top of the words {to tie in with the "messy" story! } I used dark brown inking on the torn edges & edges of the sentiment strips. The green paper is Kaisercraft, the piano paper is part of a busy patterned paper by Sassafras & the striped paper is "Love Elsie" {used to add a touch of red that I thought the layout could do with - aggression & all that!} - & because the stripes were uneven & I wanted to convey a feeling of disorder.

I also used some black mesh I bought for my Iris Class last year {I had to paint it white for that but I could only find black to buy at the time}. I mounted the journaling onto some black bazzill offcuts & I used a distressed metal embellishment & half a yellow mini-bulldog clip from my stash. The arrow & sentiment stickers are 7 Gypsies of course & the silver elements are Making Memories Vintage Findings {except on the right - that's a chocolate wrapper & no! I didn't eat it...} The file tabs on the top right are office file-tabs!

Materials used:- Box cardboard, White lightbulb packaging, silver foil from chocolate wrapper, Black mesh, Kaisercraft double-sided print SUBLIME Vogue, Sassafrass busy stripe {piano keys}, Love Elsie {messy stripe}, Black Bazzill cardstock, Memories Mists {Diet Cola} & {Pale Ale}, dark brown ink, half yellow mini-bulldog clip, acid distressed metal embellishment, 7 Gypsies sentiment stickers, Making Memories Vintage Findings foil die-cuts, Foamcore, Tombo glue, double-sided tape, staples, photo paper.

The journaling reads:- "I hardly ever get mad to be honest, but once every few months I go beserk! Boy oh boy you better watch out! Not much makes me mad - individually - but when I do get angry it is usually because there is just too much on my plate & too much going wrong simultaneously. I don't like screaming and shouting, or even stressing, so I just ask nicely and often people take advantage of my laid back disposition and fail to take the action I require. Eventually I go ballistic, because I've asked countless times and been ignored, or not really taken seriously.

The last time this happened was in January this year when I had been asking my daughter for at least 2 months to get to grips with her messy bedroom. When her friend came to stay and lost her mobile phone I wasn't surprised we couldn't find it in all the jumble! After endless hunting & fuming as the true extent of the mess unfolded before my eyes I lashed out and swept everything off the surfaces with my flailing arms, all over the floor, then proceeded to tip out all the drawers! It felt good I have to be honest! Poor Chelsea was obviously very upset because she could see that I had lost control, and I realise this isn't the right state of mind to be in, so am just glad my hissy fits don't come round too often!" 2010

Monday 22 March 2010

A Great Day Out in Durbs!

Oops, it was a public holiday today so I was thinking I'll post these photos tomorrow... Monday...but I've just realised that TODAY is actually Monday, better late than never!
Every Saturday morning there is a fleamarket held here on Essenwood Road {which now has some unpronouncable Zulu name but it'll always be Essenwood, no matter what the signs say...} I've never "got around" to going...initially I steered clear of anywhere "close to town" after our first crime-ridden 6 months here, then I got too busy, but this is the year of spreading my wings - wow am I glad I did - I have been twice now & it's definitely one of my fave outings!

This avo spread on homemade bread brunch is one of the main highlights for R28 {US$3.75} it doesn't come too cheap, but has feta & roasted veg on top too & the option of adding whatever sides you like, from the array of pickles, seeds, herbs & home-made chutneys! "To Die for Doll" as they say here in SA!

Cami & Reilly are hardly health-conscious so their choice was the "chip 'n dip" {also with whatever sauce/s you fancy" }. Note Cami's french polish on her finger nails - one of the benefits of having a 16 year old sister!

I took these photos while reclining on the grassy bank at the side of the market - where we ate our brunch - listening to local reggae band "The Meditators" - their music is so mellow that it's tempting just to close your eyes {something I don't advise doing in a public place in Durban ;-D} & stay put for a couple hours...

The park was full of regular people {as opposed to vagrants & criminals - the usual clientele} so for the first time ever {apart from the beach} my kids got to benefit from being in an open, municipal area & enjoying an amenity. You can see Reilly there standing on the swing & Cami next to him, sitting down on the other one. We didn't investigate the giant balls at the back but there was a charge for those & I think they are only for smaller kids.

There were ample food vendors selling a wide variety of offerings, from traditional "bunny-chows" {hollowed out loaves of bread with meat or vegie fillings} to more Indian food - curries, rotis, flatbreads, etc {bearing in mind that Durban has a massive Indian population, second only to Mumbai I think...} Greek delicacies, all the usual sweet stuff {cupcakes, etc} & the local staples like the "wors rolls", melktert {milk tart} etc. So it pays to arrive hungry!

There were several groups of buskers playing music with the guitar case open for donations close as we'll get here to the "tubestation" experience in the UK...the above lot were pretty terrible! ;-D

These guys were highly entertaining. They are "human-statues" & literally hold their poses for ages...until someone drops a donation in the case in front of them...then they dance about all over the place for about 10 seconds...then FREEZE! I couldn't think of a worse job in this humidity as the sweat must have literally been rolling down their backs, especially with hats/wigs & make-up on!

There were several local vendors selling brightly-coloured wooden items or gourds like these. I used to have a house full of them in Zimbabwe when there was literally nothing else to decorate with, so quite honestly I'm over them!

These were GORGEOUS...only problem was I didn't have enough cash on me {& they only take cash at the market...} and it's something I don't usually carry - it being by far the safer option here to use "cards".

Aren't those words the perfect decor? Can't wait to add some of those to the walls of our new home! They are made of seeds threaded onto wire & are very popular in home decor shops all over Durbs right now.

And I really admired these guys...The Meditators - local reggae band - apparently they don't get paid any kind of "retainer" at all by the Fleamarket organisers, and there are 8 of them altogether. They set up on the lawn with massive speakers, amplifiers & mixers & spend a solid 4 hours there with hardly a break, all for a pittance I suspect {whatever donations are tossed into the case in front of them}.

When there are so many criminals not prepared to work for a living it was great to see this bunch do their thing & in my opinion the Fleamarket just wouldn't have the same vibe without them.

Friday 19 March 2010

Friday Recap { & Party Photo Share}

Where do the weeks go? Another one down..Thank Goodness for the weekends - however would we finish off all those half-done tasks without them?! I have spent plenty of time this week taking, dowloading, editing & printing photos {& e mailing them to friends & family}. Could that explain how "we" used ONE GIG in 5 days...surely not?!? I am doubtful as to the security of this "wireless internet" thing & often wonder if our {very close-by} neighbours help themselves at times...

I was also appointed official "decor" photographer at the weekend baby-shower & wanted to get those photos edited, collaged & returned via e mail as Shelley & co. were waiting with baited breath for them ;-D I love that I can do something "useful" for those I love - who do so much for me...

I've bought a simple {yellow - sooooo my colour right now...} mini-album to make-up for Shelley {for when she actually delivers Joshua - or at least on our next visit...} as another gift to her. Hoping these collages will make that little project quicker & easier & think it should be a "clean & simple" approach in keeping with the bright primary colours of the decor anyway.

Each table had a theme:- Above - "Wheels on the Bus" {transport - train, tipper trucks, etc} & below - "Hickory Dickory Dock". I had nothing to do with the planning as I only arrived the afternoon before. All the props were already purchased/hired/etc & I just helped with the layout of the tables & the food organisation/prep.

It all looked stunning {as I'm sure you can imagine - although I don't have one overall shot of the entire veranda - would need a wise-angle lens for that ;-( } As I love all things scrappy related so these folks love all things "events" related & have an entire store-room FULL of tablecloths, overlays, etc from past parties!

The food was absolutely delicious {hence my ZERO weightloss for last week!} so this week I have been doing my best to *starve* which hasn't been easy! DH has been diagnosed with high blood-pressure {he is totally shocked as he has ALWAYS been in PERFECT health despite eating almost ZERO fruit & veg} & has no clue where to start researching remedies for his condition {whereas I'm always googling this & that!} so I have already laid down the law & got him eating bananas & vegetables - i.n. m.y. p.r.e.s.e.n.c.e. o.r e.l.s.e!!!

These cupcakes looked GORGEOUS with twinkly {obviously edible} glittery powder on the icing & marzipan animal toppers but tasted DRY & TASTELESS...unfortunate as they cost R12 each!!! IMO that's a crazy price - especially since 6 dozen were ordered...Party games were also organised & I won "Baby Bingo" & some delicious mint chocolate sticks - {repeat* - hence the ZERO weight loss this week lol...} so GOOD TIMES were had by all ;-D

Apart from my usual routine I've had a painter here {at long last} giving "the old lady" {our rented house} some much-needed "make-up". Sick kids going down like a domino effect {lots of 48 hour tropical bugs go round here in our climate...} Mercy now diagnosed with TB {tuberculosis} so rushing around to hospitals & clinics as there is a shortage of medication country-wide {remember this is Africa...}, something strange going on with our house-transfer & spending time daily trying to get to the bottom of w.h.y o.n. e.a.r.t.h. i.t. i.s. a.l.l. t.a.k.i.n.g. s.o. l.o.o.o.o.n.g..., liaising with workmen as to how we are now going to achieve 6 weeks worth of renos in what now looks like it will be only all my garden pots a makeover using Plascon's ***Canyon Road*** awesome terracotta shade & choosing bedroom paint colours, getting them all mixed up & ready - definitely the *highlight* of my week!

Happy Weekend Y'all!!!