Saturday 31 December 2011

The Drakensberg {Our Vacation} & a Happy New Year!

Hi again :)
I owe so many of you a visit {or 5...}!! 
  I have only just returned home to 700 e mails 
so bear with me if you can :)  I'm packing my daughter 
off for ANOTHER vacation - this one with her friends! 
Then getting my other 3 school ready which involves purchasing 
ALL their stationery for the year & covering DOZENS and
DOZENS of exercise books in the next 10 days!!

This is where we've been for the last while...
pretty idyllic huh?!  You can read all about it here.

We did different things every day so had a healthy
holiday.  Lots of relaxing and lots of activity too...
golfing, horse-riding, etc.  All this less than 3 hours away :)
It was like we were in another world though - set in the
1960's (the decor was definitely a blast from the past!)
and no wifi is a bit out-dated now I think to be honest!!

Getting the kids to stand still long enough for a photo was a challenge...

 Yup this is what a Durban Christmas looks like :)  
The weather was pretty good (rained a bit for a 
couple of days) but warm Summer rain & not too hard.

Give the kids a pool and they're happy!  Add a trampoline 
& they're happy for hours!!  Throw in a field & they're
happy all day!!!  Wide open space is non-existent at the 
coast (where we live) so it's a luxury we don't take for 
granted & one we were so desperately in need of.

We laughed!  And fought of course too!!  All of a sudden
we were all together, day in day out with no computers
and no cell phone signal!  Very bonding as you can imagine!

I got my F1.4 50mm lens for Christmas - BIG love ♥♥♥ 

We ate meals together for a change and cooked from scratch 
EVERY night!  I felt positively Amish :) 
We investigated the entire area very thoroughly this time
& found all sorts of places we'd never visited before -
like this place - {can't wait to receive our rug!!}
and this place which served delicious open sandwiches and salads 
for lunch.  All in all we had a GREAT TIME and I feel like a new
person   (just wish I looked like one too!)  - more about that in
my 2012 New Year's Resolutions post coming soon!!

Happy New Year Everyone :-D

Friday 30 December 2011

Sketchabilities! Sketch 62 is LIVE!! - Your Big Nite Layout

Hi there blog friends!
I hope you are all recovering well from your festive
over-indulgences :)  Time to start thinking about getting 
back to scrapping!!  Here's a great sketch from
Sketchabilities to get your creative juices flowing!

I went mist crazy on this one as you can see!
{Well to be honest you can't really see as it has a
wonderful "Perfect Pearls" sheen to it that doesn't
show at all unfortunately but it's there believe me!}

I am doing well with my daughters school graduation dance 
album - here the photos are just focusing on the decor.

I used a lot of different mists to create that 
really radiant {and radiating} effect...

I broke up a Webster's Bouquet & reconstructed it, inking
the gold flowers up to show up the leaf veins some more.

I also split up a couple of Prima bling swirls 
& stickled over some Thickers for my title.

 I got some sheer effects going on with doilies & a Hambly
transparent overlay from my dear friend Mitra in the US.

I was trying with the mists & the sheer additions 
to emulate the luminosity of the night lights.

Supplies List for "Your Big Nite" Layout

Cardstock - DCWV 
Mists - Ranger "Perfect Pearl"
Tattered Angles Glimmer Mists - Vanilla Breeze,
Sunshine & Key Lime
Maya Road - Maya Mist - Orange Sherbet
Doilies - stash
Bling swirls - Prima
Flower & Leaves - Webster's Pages
Alphas - American Crafts Jewellery Box
Glitter - Stickles - Ranger
Journaling Pen - Creative Memories

Friday 23 December 2011

3 Scrappy Boys Card Tutorial {Hi} & THANK YOU for your support in 2011!

Hi there beautiful people :)
Just in case any of you out there are NOT CRAZY 
at this time of the year {hee hee - like THAT is likely!}
I thought I may aswell share this as it's been in my drafts
for a couple of weeks now - I sent the photos here and
simply haven't had the time to write up the post!!

This is a card I made using the December Main kit 
from 3 Scrappy Boys.  My kit has taken 3 weeks to
 arrive for the last 2 months that I've designed for them, 
so I have had to hone in on a very simple & slick style 
of creating using their kits.  (So that I can create 
7 or 8 projects in approx 24 - 72 hours, using only the
crafty time I have, basically the late evenings/nights!)

I love the challenge of using up as much of a kit 
as possible, so this time I decided to try to use up 
the packaging too!  I've seen quite a few of these 
bracket-shaped cards online so had a bit of a 
light-bulb moment when I saw this Jenni Bowlin 
Studio alphabet packaging!! 

1.  Adhere printed paper face-up to the chipboard
packaging piece using glue all over.

2.  Do the same on the other side so that both 
sides of the packaging are covered and the
papers that you want are adhered face-up.

 3.  If you don't have enough printed paper left over then 
use a different print for the back and front of the card 
by tracing around half of the card and having a
join/seam across the top.

4.  Remember to use a very neutral print
(or plain cardstock) for the inside of your card 
so that it will be easy for you to write inside it. 

5.  Once the packaging is completely covered sand and ink
the edges of your card for a more finished look.

6.  Add a strip of printed masking tape/washi tape
along the top of your card to seal the seam.

7.  Cut out a strip of paper with a ribbon-cut 
end extending slightly beyond your card 
and adhere it just below the washi tape .

8.  To make the flower embellishment punch or cut out a 
circle, ink then distress the edges.  Free hand cut or punch
out a couple of leaves, ink up the edges then position the 
flower with the leaves adhered behind it and glue to the side
of the card, again extending slightly over the edge of the card.

Adhere bloomer tape or offcuts of bloomer tape all over 
the front of the flower then added a sparkler to the centre.

9.  Add your sentiment using whatever alphas you have left over 
- I wrote "HI" using an R and an L that I alter cut to change the
letters, then inked them in yellow.  So beyond what was supplied
in the kit I used grey, dark brown & yellow ink.

Cat's Eyes inks are SO handy for giving edges that finishing 
touch and they are very CHEAP - I have a drawer full of them!

As of now I am COMPLETELY offline for a full week.
Apparently there is an internet cafe a drive away but I don't
imagine it to be very nice or very cheap so me & my techno-
orientated family are going to have to spend ONE WEEK 
without the use of our laptops!  Can we manage it?!

Well we ARE supposed to be on a BREAK and it is
Christmas coming up so if we can't manage it now
then we need to reassess our priorities I'd say hey?!


I owe almost everyone a visit or 5 so please forgive me?!
When my daily routine reverts to normal I'll be back
visiting as per usual.  For now I hope you have a 
wonderful Christmas season & enjoy your loved
ones.  Thank you for all your support in 2011!!

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Once Upon a Sketch has a new challenge up!

My apologies for getting this up 5 days after it went 
live but let's blame it on the silly season shall we?!  
There's a lot going on!!
December 15th Challenge

Journalling Criteria/themeOur Christmas traditions. 

We would love to hear how everyone spends Christmas Day. 
Even if you do NOT celebrate Christmas, what do you do
on Christmas Day?

Remember that you are allowed to also create a card or 
altered project based on this sketch and instead of the
journalling criteria you need to use a quote. 

Guest Designers

Ivana Camdzic  (Canada) 

Ivana says: "The quote I used doesn't have too much to do 
with Christmas, but since the only family we have here in
Canada is our friends, we spend the holidays with them 
and that is one of our new traditions during the
So I decided to create a card about friendship"

Our runner up from our November 15th Challenge
Rachael Funnell  (Australia) 

Click here to see another fabulous reveal from the awesome
design team that I am so blessed to be a part of!!
Sponsors and Prizes

We welcome one more sponsor to our blog this month!

Les Papiers de Pandore is a small French manufacturer,
born in early 2010.  Earth friendly, we try to respect our 
environment by using recycled papers, vegetable inks, 
and by printing locally in Provence.  Proud of its 
"French touch", the brand features classical designs
in soft colors.

It is SUPER exciting to have you sponsor us this month! 
The winner of this challenge, as chosen by the Design Team
will receive these 2 paper lines from Les Papiers De Pandore!



One more sponsor for our November 15th challenge is the
amazing Australian chipboard company Imaginarium Designs .
They have been so generous to sponsor us all year with their
beautiful chipboard and you can purchase it through
 Seriously Scrapbooking. They are giving away this gorgeous 
chipboard collection to one randomly chosen winner. 


One lucky person, chosen randomly,  will receive this prize 
from Handmade By Suzanne!
Tim Holtz Alterations Embossing Folder Set (Dot Matrix)

Thank you Les Papiers De Pandore, Imaginarium Designs and
Handmade By Suzanne for sponsoring our challenges this month! 
We couldn't do this without you. 

Things to consider when playing along...

**This is an international blog, so anyone can enter
**You are allowed to create a card, layout or 
off-the-page item based on the provided sketch
and additional journalling criteria.  If you are creating
a card or altered item you only need to include a quote.
**You are also allowed to flip or rotate the sketch or alter it to
suit your needs, but please make sure its still recognisable.
**Post your creation on your blog or an online gallery 
and link it on the sidebar of this blog using the Link tool.
Please provide a direct link to your post, not your entire blog.
If the link tool is down, please leave a comment 
on the comments section and link your layout there.
** The deadline for this challenge is midnight December 31st, 
Australian Eastern Standard Time . The Design Team will
vote and the winners and the Top 5 project will be announced 
soon after the challenge has finished.
**You may enter as many times as you like and
combine this with other challenges.
**Also, please consider turning off word 
verification for comments on your blog.

Friday 16 December 2011

Merry Christmas! {a couple of weeks in advance}

***Just popping in to let you know that I won't
be around online & here on the blog as much as
usual during this holiday period, due to other 
commitments, but things should be back to normal 
by mid January so I'll see you then!***
I've been offline the last few days due to a couple
of thefts that have kept us busy with the Police &
insurance companies.

Hubs starts his leave today, so he'll have a few weeks
away from the office & this will give us the chance
to get away here & there & get some work done
around the house when our visitors have left. 

Everything is unpleasantly crazy here in Durban at this
time of the year but no matter how hard I try to plan in
advance each year there are always those inevitable trips
that have to be made to various stores at the last minute.

I vow each year to plan more in advance but I never
manage entirely - with our  "end of years" here being
so busy, being the end of the academic & financial
year too - it's been work,work, work right up until now.

So we just have to brave the crowds & delays & do
our best to get on with what we need to do under the 
circumstances, where carols have been replaced by
the booming voice of a pushy salesperson let loose
with a microphone.   It's a horrid, materialistic
bunfight & I'll be happy to leave it all behind me soon.  

My daughter is home for the holidays too & has been 
doing a bit of gallivanting around the country.  She's off 
again at New Year so I'm savouring every moment with her - 
time is so special now that we share so little of it together. 
I'm locking my studio door & spending some time away
from the computer for a little while.  I'm sure I 'll miss out
on some stuff while I'm out of things but we all have to get
off the treadmill every now & again - a break will give my
brain & body a chance to rest & rejuvenate, which is just
what I'm in need of right now. 

So I'm wishing you a Merry Christmas a couple of 
weeks early!  I have pre-scheduled some posts for
reveals that are going live, etc & will be back on
the blog  "for real" some time in January.

Kids go back to school mid January & my daughter
goes back to uni mid Feb, then I'll start rolling
full-steam ahead again.  Meanwhile, I hope you all
try to do the same - take things a bit easier,
step back & enjoy the season!

Thursday 15 December 2011

Sketchabilities Sketch 61 - Hallelujah Layout {plus a quick Layout Photography tip!}

Time for another sketch challenge over at Sketchabilities and
this time it's full of circles!!  Now sometimes I love 
me a good circle sketch & other times I have some 
photos pre-printed that I am really dying to use!  

I'm sure it's the same with you so...
don't feel that you HAVE to cut your photos into circles - 
there are many ways to approach a circle-based sketch, 
and I chose to bring the circles in via my embellishments.

I kept this one very clean & simple in keeping 
with the mood I wanted to create.

I took these photos of Jack at his school musical, 
from in the crowd, and no flashes were allowed, 
so I had to pump my ISO up really high. 
I was very happy with the results tho...considering!

 I printed out the photos on an A4 sheet, as a 
Picasa collage, and then cut them up separately.

This works a treat if you remember to keep the
"grouting" wide enough so that when you cut 
between the photos you still have a white border 
showing all around, if you like this effect like I do!

The pen is actually silver - I just can't find a decent white 
journaling pen that hasn't dried out the next time I reach for it, 
it's annoying me actually as I had to throw 4 away the other day!

The gorgeous doily embellishments are from Martha Stewart Crafts.
The song he was singing was "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen,
hence the title.

The alphas are Webster's Pages - they are SO handy - 
I have almost all the different colour combinations!

Supplies List for "Hallelujah" page

Black cardstock - American Crafts
Doily - stash
Doily embellishments  - Martha Stewart Crafts
Alpha & Numeral Stickers - Webster's Pages
Silver journaling pen - Aquila Unique


***Now for the tip!***
I'm sure I'm not the only one that has had to
rephotograph a layout because I've only seen,
afterwards, when I have already uploaded the photographs,
that there are "little bits" of fluff, etc, on it. 
Here is how I solved the problem!

I bought myself a big cosmetics brush, that lives in 
my studio, in it's packaging case, that I keep especially
for brushing off all my layouts before I photograph them!

 It works an absolute treat & is 100% my own idea
{well I have never read about it anywhere else!}

I only wish I had thought of it sooner...
I don't know how I ever lived without it!!

Tuesday 13 December 2011

3 Scrappy Boys 12 Days of Christmas Crop {Christmas Tree Embellishment Tutorial}

Just sharing a quick tutorial I did today for the last 
day of the 3 Scrappy Boys "12 Days of Christmas" Crop.
I shamelessly scraplifted this idea from my friend Chantal's
layout here - I did warn her so am hoping she is flattered
rather than mad with me!!
We're really in the swing of the Christmas season here &
it's leaving me exhausted!  We are having to go out 3 times
a week in the evenings, and that is usually my studio time, so
I haven't been too productive of late & amazed even myself
that I managed to whip this tutorial up today, but it was my
Design Team day, so I had to do it (always a great motivator LOL!)

1.  Fold a piece of offcut paper in half and mark 
out your Christmas tree/triangle shape.

 2.  Cut out your tree shape then fold open & repeat, 
making your next tree slightly smaller than your first.

 3.  Use your cut-out trees as templates and trace around 
your larger tree, onto a piece of offcut paper.

4.  Grab a bunch of offcuts & cut them into random 
strips, approx 1/2 to 1inch wide and various lengths.

 5.  Add glue all over your triangle shape.

6. Adhere different offcut prints horizontally across your tree
shape, adding some strips of printed masking tape/washi tape
if you like.

 7.  Cut around  your tree shape (do this by placing your 
tree template over your adhered strips, tracing around & 
cutting out the triangle shape).

8.  Cut a brown offcut strip approx 1cm wide to use as a 
tree trunk, find some plain cardstock to use as a base for 
your layout, some fun Christmas photos and start creating!

Come back tomorrow to see the finished layout!

Sunday 11 December 2011

Imaginarium Design Team Call {My Top 10 Favourite Chipboard Layouts}

I'm shooting this post up just after midnight as I don't 
want to miss the cut off date for The Imaginarium Designs
DesignTeam Call which is the 12th of December, 
Australian time {that's quite some hours ahead of South Africa}
so here are my 10 favourite chipboard projects,
all using Imaginarium Designs products.

I've seen MANY applications ALL OVER the internet so I'll 
try not to waffle too much here as I'm sure Jane & Natalie 
will have their work cut out for them just getting to so many posts.  

If you look down my sidebar you'll see I have a permanent
link to the Imaginarium Designs blog & also to the  
Seriously Scrapbooking store, which is the exclusive stockist of 
ImaginariumDesigns, where they ship worldwide at actual postage costs.

As part of the Once Upon a Sketch Design Team we are 
blessed to receive FREE CHIPBOARD as one of our perks,
thanks to being sponsored by Imaginarium Designs on an 
ongoing basis.  

Yup, I get a goodie bag every so often, loaded
to the hilt  with the wonderful stuff, and now I get the chance
to load quite a few of them into one post - I had fun reminiscing!

1.  {above} Chipboard alphas - dry brushed horizontally 
across for a clean, fresh look.

2.  Chipboard alphas. leaves and frame - painted in 
two different colours & glossy accented for shine

3.  Alphas & a flourish painted in a subtle two-tone mauve & 
pale gold, glossy accented with a teeny bling addition to the flourish.

4.  Chipboard border painted then attached using bronze 
brads to reinforce the vintagey "for all time" theme.

5.  Chipboard Frame & flourish - the frame is painted then 
glittered for a subtle shimmer .  The flourish is gessoed 
then lightly inked with brown.

6.  Chipboard Frames & butterflies - gessoed, glittered & 
randomly dipped (see butterflies for full 2 tone effect).

7.  Chipboard Swirls (altered by cutting) then stickled
{see the dark bluey purple on either side of the photo}.

8.  Chipboard alphas & cogs - First I used the cogs
as a mask & misted over them then I painted them 
black, stippled them with gold then varnished over
them.  I did the same to the alphas.  

When I posted this layout some people actually thought 
the cogs were metal! {due to  the high sheen from the varnish}.

9.  Chipboard Butterfly - painted & blinged but before I 
adhered it I really got some mileage out of it by 
using it as a mask in 3 different places on my layout.

10.  I saved my favourite until last!  
Chipboard alphas, flourishes AND birdcage!!
The alphas were sponged with black, stamped with white then
swipedover with a red inkpad to tone them down a notch.

I used the same technique on the flourishes but swiped over 
with a yellow inkpad.  I used an all-over background design
 stamp to create that jungle-print design.  Lastly I embellished
the flourish with teeny yellow roses.

For the birdcage I first gessoed it then painted in 
2 different shades, tissued some of the paint off to 
blend & create the texture then sealed with matt 
varnish for a soft sheen.  I threaded a ribbon through
the loop at the top & placed a rub-on (still on it's
backing card) behind the cage with the image of a bird.


Phew!  Gotta love chipboard for it's versatility yes?!?

So there we have it!!  I hope you enjoyed taking
a peek at my favourite chipboard projects all together
& hopefully I've inspired you to try out some new
techniques using this versatile product.

Remember to go here to check out the exact
chipboard I have used plus plenty more!
I've linked you DIRECTLY to the correct section
of the store.  Happy shopping & see you Monday :)