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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!  It is bright, early and hot here on New Year's Day - the boys have woken up very early today but I have no intention of letting them out until the usual time, so I am enjoying having a cup of tea in relative peace, and getting up to date with my blog. 

So - the first prompt for this year is to use some new crafty bits received for Christmas.  I didn't actually receive anything craft wise, but something even better arrived in the post on Monday, the 29th December - my blog prize from Jennifer McGuire. 


I have always idolised Jennifer's clean style and ethos and was even more impressed with her organisation - I have been disappointed a few times in the past when something you've won either turns up very late, or never turns up at all!

All crafters will know the joy of getting new supplies - my heart did a little skip when I saw the "Simon Says Stamp!" on the side of the box - that is something that I never thought I would see, especially in Australia. 

As you can see, the box contained a beautiful array of really thick, high quality cardstock and 4 die ink stamp pads. 

I decided to grab the intention of sitting down as soon as possible and making her a thank-you card.  I used a light blue card from the Rainbow Cardstock collection - it is wonderful to work with, and so robust - great for a really professional finish. 

A light while ago, Aldi did some scrapbooking supplies as part of their weekly specials, and I picked up a small paper pad of 12 x 12 papers and some stickers.  The oversized button stickers, flower stickers and background patterned paper were all included.

I pulled out some coordinating scraps of patterned paper for the scallop and fence detail - some scraps of a Crate Paper range from some years back fit beautifully into the colour scheme. 

When my Mum was over in the UK for the birth of my boys 2 1/2 years ago, she made herself busy with my craft supplies, by punching out loads of little flowers in assorted colours, and doing some stamping.  The stamped tag is actually a Christmas one, which I have covered up with the sticker pieces. 

The "awesome" sticker is something I would never usually use, so it was perfect for someone in America!  The "you are" came from a Project Life card set. 

Simon Says Stamp! light blue cardstock
Create It patterned paper and stickers
American Crafts Flower Shoppe jewelled flower embellishments
Project Life "Boy" mini set
Flower and heart punches on assorted scraps
Martha Stewart Fence border punch
Papermania "Season's Greetings" tag stamp
Pink gem from freebie magazine set

So - this card will shortly be winging it's way to America and Week 1 of the 2014 52 card challenge is now complete.  I have no idea where we'll end up or what further disruption we will face in this New Year, but we shall try to craft on, regardless!

Happy New Year. 

Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas Card - Kaisercraft St Nicholas

I really haven't shared many crafty projects since moving to Australia.  I have really only made cards (quite a lot, in actual fact) but it all takes time, uploading and editing photos and then blogging.  I am determined to do better in 2014 - I think it's all a matter of organisation, I suppose. 

Well, I am finally taking an opportunity to share one of the few special cards I made this Christmas.

Mum's neighbour Jenny very generously donated some Christmas supplies, and amongst them was this lovely robust A4 red card.  So that formed the card base. 

Jenny has kindly lent me her Cuttlebug on a couple of occasions, so I borrowed her Spellbinders dies to cut some basic shapes, most of which went to make labels for Christmas presents for the family. 

The lace was in an assorted bag of ribbon which has been gathered at Mum's for quite a few years.  I cut the gathered binding off the top so it sat nice and flatly. 

Cardinal Red A4 card
Kaisercraft St Nicholas Sticker Sheet
Dotted olive green Swiss Bazzill
The back of a red and white Christmas snowflake envelope for the deckle layer of the oval
October Afternoon Travel Girl journal card - (cream patterned paper on oval)
Stardust Stickles
Glitz teeny Alphabet Stickers - red

Considering my dearth of craft supplies, I am really pleased with how this card turned out, and I think the recipients were too.  I see the new 52 card challenge has commenced at UK Scrappers, so I look forward to joining in again this year, as much as I can .....

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Scrapology Christmas card challenge - December 2013

How wonderful to be able to participate in a Scrapology challenge this month! At the time of planning this post, we are still currently staying with my Mum and Dad in Brisbane, Australia, and I have access to very few of my crafting supplies. 

I do have a box of supplies that I share with my Mum - not that she crafts that often, but every now and again she says that she has felt the yen to open the box and make something with the contents.  It is like stepping back in time to see what bits and pieces I have left here during my sporadic visits over the years - and Mum has added a fair supply of recycled bits of coloured card, some peel-offs, buttons and random bits of ribbon, and the like!

Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a healthy supply of crafting magazines available at the newsagents, unlike other years, but I have shouted myself to a few bundles of papercrafting magazines, most of which have contained the Australian Cardmaking, Stamping and Papercraft magazine.  My last purchase had two Christmas editions bundled together - I think one was from last year - so with the freebie packs that were contained within, I have a limited amount of Christmas supplies from which to make cards, etc. 

Here is the one that I've made for the Scrapology Christmas card challenge:

 Quite a simple card, using everything from the supplied kit (which even included the pink card base), with the exception of the blue accent A4 coloured paper and the crystal gems.  I always cut up gem swirls and change the direction to suit my project, so the little crystals on the top and at the sides of the tree were carefully placed with my tweezers. 
An appropriate card for the upcoming summery Christmas we will be experiencing this year!
Free "Christmas Brights" kit - Australian Cardmaking, Stamping and Papercraft magazine
Prima "Say it with Crystals"  
Blue coloured A4 craft paper

I hope you join in with our projects and have a go! Merry Christmas from Down Under.  :D 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Lewis and Henry - Twenty Eighth Month Update

Daddy and I took you today to the Albany Creek Leisure Centre, where you had a play in the water. Henry, even when Daddy was throwing you around in the water, you loved it and felt no fear. You went into relatively deep water to get up the water slide and loved every second. Lewis, you seem very afraid of the water and really didn't like it when I let go of your hand. The photos on this post  are from today. 


The highlights of your speech this month were:

Henry - "cup of tea"; "Daddy - I'm coming" (into the laundry through the playroom door to see Paul who was ironing)

Henry 17/10 - "look at the full moon", "towel"

Lewis - "nighty night", "Good morning"

You both can now identify parts of the face and know new words every day. 

Right now, you both love getting into mischief and creating chaos. 

The words mostly right now are:

Dandad = Grandad
Bundaween =Mandarine

You now get your evening milk in a cup before going to bed.  Henry, you have quickly mastered using a cup, but Lewis - you still need some assistance.  Lewis, you were saying "Mumma" for Grandma, but are now saying "Bumma".  You were also saying "water" as clear as a bell, but are now saying "buddha". 

We are very fortunate in that you have your own playroom at Grandma and Grandad's, and you love to turn his canvas chair over and use it as a slide.  When your cousin Asha taught you to take the cushions off the chairs and you love to jump on them, or use them to bounce up and down. 

You are still obsessed with fans and lights and ask for them to be on at all hours of the day and night. 
Henry, you are great at throwing tantrums, and they can be ear-splittingly loud. 


Lewis, you are the king of the slippery dips, and Daddy even taught you to go down face first! You can now climb up the ladders for the slippery slides yourselves.  You are becoming ever more courageous and cheeky, but still hate sitting down in the bath and having your hair washed!  It is also a major event to try and trim your hair, whereas Henry now loves the feeling and will accept all such attention. 

You seem to be thriving, living in an extended family environment, and are growing taller and healthier each day.  Lewis, you still can be a finicky eater, but are eating paw-paws and mandarines whereas Henry you also love melon. 

Henry, you are  still ripping up books which does distress me, but I am hoping that you will grow out of this very soon. 

Other highlights of this month include:

You were baptised in St Clements Church of England at Stafford on Saturday, 13th October and we were blessed to have been surrounded by so many family and friends.

Grandma and I had a lovely coffee in McDonalds one day and you loved playing on the gym set.  Lewis, when it came time to go home, you were missing up inside, so I had to climb up the inside spiral backwards to come and find you. 

Last weekend, we had a BBQ in Broadwater Park on Brisbane's south side to celebrate your cousins Ryan and Erin's birthdays. 

We are very careful in the hot Aussie sun, but love getting out and about as much as we can. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Australia, the Unlucky Country

Saturday, 26th October, 2013

I always thought I was a proud Australian.  Throughout twenty years of living in the United Kingdom, I often met with those well-tested and worn out clich├ęs of “convict pasts” and Skippy the bush kangaroos, and mostly laughed them all off, except in the early years when the stereotypes all became a bit much, and I would bite back with a sarcastic remark when my sensitivities were wounded. 

I woke up this morning with a rude start at 4:15 this morning to the stark realisation that I am, at this precise moment, not proud to be Australian at all. 

When I met my husband, I said outright to him that I didn’t want to get involved romantically with anyone, as I would want to return to Australia to live and grow old.  Well, it took a lot longer than desired, but true enough to his word, Paul first flew to Australia with a valid permanent spousal visa in November 2011 in order to activate it. 

The process of emigration was long, painful and expensive.  As the main driving force behind the progress of his visa, I stuck the process out and doggedly persevered, even whilst undergoing IVF and maintaining a full time job.  It was a closure of one link in the chain that finally saw us managing to sell our house in Hertfordshire and a lot of our possessions by the end of August and saw us touch-down on Australian soil at Brisbane Airport the evening of 12th September, 2013, with four suitcases and two over-tired toddlers in tow. 

Paul has attacked the job search with enthusiasm and determination, and I can say that I am very proud of him for that.  These qualities have diminished and faded as the weeks have gone by, and I have often said to him “keep going – don’t give up” or much stronger words to the same effect. 

He is a highly qualified railway engineer with twenty years experience of one of the most sophisticated locomotive systems in the world.  Eurostar International was regarded as an elite institution within the rail industry and Paul mostly took a lot of pride in his work. 

During the latter years, Paul has undertaken a lot of extra-curricular study in order to gain new European standard “F gas” qualifications in air-conditioning and refrigeration.  He has garnered enough certificates over the years to be able to plaster half the rooms in this house.  But for Australia, this is not good enough. 

When Paul has become dejected or disheartened thus far in his job search, he would say to me “this country is de-skilling me”.  I never believed this was true, until this morning. 

I have accepted that Australia (or more importantly and objectively, a section of its employers) won’t recognise his prior qualifications in electro-mechanical engineering.  Most of the jobs Paul has applied so far for have been considerably beneath his skill and competence level.  So after a bit of research, we both have started the process of getting the above recognised through the “Recognition of Prior Learning” route which Paul has discovered through conversations with trades people.  This is conducted by “Skills Tech”, an organisation allied with the TAFE (Technical and Further Education) colleges which teach most of the qualifications for “tradies” here, if not throughout Australia, then certainly in Queensland. 

I originally thought that this particular piece of work was going to cost $400, but discovered by email late yesterday afternoon that we would, in fact, get a bill for $2,400.  I thought “ok, another financial hit” – but kept that information to myself for the time being. 

After thinking a bit further about options, Paul has yesterday come to the agreement to seek temporary work while this process would be completed, as we have now realised that it would be futile and soul-destroying to continue to apply for jobs until he has obtained that first raft of recognised Australian qualifications. 

He is not even sure whether he will pursue the recognition of his air-conditioning and refrigeration qualifications at this stage – our money and equity for a potential future home are disappearing faster than a lottery winner’s intent to spend it. 

When I made an appointment for him with a temporary recruitment agency yesterday afternoon, and mentioned that Paul had a forklift driver’s licence, the agent on the other end of the phone said “nope – not even that is recognised”.  And that was the end of the line for me.  Amongst the myriad of higher and tertiary qualifications in Paul’s arsenal, for not even a forklift licence to be recognised – that is truly a de-skilling process indeed and an absolute disgrace. 

And it is totally not fair.  When Paul has said to me “if I knew then what I know now I would never have come” – the first time, it made me really angry.  The second time, I cried and was so upset at the thought that we would potentially turn around and return to the UK.  Now I realise that I totally agree with him. 

It is an appalling arrogance and at worse, a total con for Australia to have recruitment fairs in London and one year to say “we need you – your skills are in short supply – please come over”, and in the next year turn your back on someone who has spent a lot of money and sacrificed a great many things to get here. 

We have spent too much money to go back.  We will have spent a great deal more money on getting Paul trained and re-skilled, armed with the appropriate Australian equivalent qualifications.  Our dreams of having a decent standard of living in our own home by the ocean somewhere are rapidly disappearing. 

I believe in dogged persistence and determination to achieve your goals.  I have often raised a harrying war-cry and had angry outbursts at Paul or other close friends who didn’t want to see things through to a particular end.  I will grit my teeth and stand by Paul to see this painful and expensive process through – but with the realisation and the awareness that this system is not right.  Australia – I wonder how many other skilled tradespeople you have conned like this.  My family now believe that these organisations are set up to make money.  I am not talking about the appropriate training and experience for apprentices, but about recognising the skills and qualifications of immigrants who make it through Australia’s stringent process.  (I do agree with a very stringent immigration process – you have to absolutely want to come, and have researched it through to the end – no argument with that, whatsoever.) What I am talking about is opening one door in invitation to come to that country, and then closing that door before an appropriate job can be obtained.  By the way, the door marked “exit” to the country is closed, too – because we would have lost too much to go back. 

So the only way is forward.  I am (mostly) very happy to be home. I am delirious to be able to spend a lot of quality time (maybe too much!) with close family.  I hope to spend more time with friends of very long standing, in the foreseeable future.  And I am also very happy for my twin sons to be able to grow up as Aussies, and be granted the chances to travel the world; for whatever path they take or whichever global location in which they choose to live, to have their professional skills and experience to be recognised and valued internationally in order to be able to live and work in different lands and to experience different cultures. 

 Because I would hate for them to have to go through what we are living through now.  When Paul quipped about how living in a shack on the beach would be all we could afford to do in Australia, I laughed and thought he was joking.  Now, we am faced with that possible reality.

Australia – at the moment, you are not our lucky country.  If I didn’t know any better and believed everything I heard on the news, it would seem that your only qualities are a thriving criminal culture full of violent, organised bikies and lying, corrupt politicians.  I hope that within a relatively short space of time, our perceptions can be changed. 

I ordered an abundance of good luck the other day.  I am waiting patiently for it to arrive!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Wednesday, 23rd October - a good day

Yesterday, after a series of knock-backs and hits from negativity, Paul and I took the boys for a walk in the beautiful Centenary Park near Mum and Dad's home of Bald Hills in Brisbane's northern suburbs. 

The Pine River adjoins one side of the park, and feeds into a lake which hosts a plethora of wild life - black swans, ducks, fish, and even snapping turtles. 

After a stifling hot day, it was so beautiful to be out in the fresh air with a very healthy breeze blowing off the river, and for the boys to enjoy some outdoor time in the local park. 

It was the second day Lewis and Henry have been able to climb up onto the slippery slides on their own, and Henry even tackled the metal grid to get up to the other slide. 

Lewis, yesterday you said "Dandad" which made Grandad very happy, after weeks of "Mummy", "Daddy", or "Mama".  Henry, you said "bless you" to Grandad after he sneezed, and we all thought it was very funny. 

Yesterday morning, before the sun got too hot, you boys were helping Grandma to water her garden with the washing water.  Seeing that Queensland is in the middle of a drought, every bit of water is saved and  re-used where possible.  You both put your hats on in anticipation of getting outside - it is quite a routine now, and you have been known to even wear them at night! 

Henry in this photo of you, you had a sticker on your face. I had recently bought you both sticker books for $1, and you love playing with them. They end up more underfoot and are tracked throughout the house, but such is life!
We gave you buckets and containers for the water.  More of it ended up on both you and the patio, but not to matter at all! 

Lewis, you love being out in the garden when it is not too hot and I often find you in one corner or cranny examining things in minute detail. You love playing with dirt and scoop it from one hand to the other. You don't ever seem to get bored with this kind of activity and can repeat this kind of thing over and over for a seemingly long time.

Daddy and I made more progress on the job seeking front at lunchtime, and after the official business was done for the time being and you got up after your sleep, it was then nearly time for the evening meal.

Daddy bought some chicken and cheese rissoles, and I decided to experiment on you, but it was a good meal night and then we went for the walk. It was the second time you had eaten corn on the cob, and you both loved it.
About 5 o'clock, the sunlight streams in through Mum and Dad's back windows but then it doesn't take long to transition into evening.  It is pitch black by 6:30 - there is not much twilight here, and once the sun is over the horizon, the night sets in. 

Last night, after the cobwebs and the bad stuff had been blown away, I ordered some good luck for all of us.  Today is the start of it! 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

First Weekend in Australia ....

After a long and seemingly never ending journey which of course did eventually finish, we arrived in Brisbane on Thursday evening, 12th September to record winter temperatures.  Our first outing was to my brother-in-law Michael's birthday party on the south side of Brisbane on Sunday evening, 15th September. 

I think we were all still in the depths of jet lag, and I was developing a nasty cold, but it was wonderful to have such a family orientated function on our first weekend in Australia.  With two brothers and a sister, and numerous nephews and nieces, an O'Shea gathering means lots of noise and movement, but this time the Brierley side of the family was more represented with our additional presence.  Food is done on a LARGE scale, and a definite highlight was the butterflied shoulder of lamb on the barbie - DE-LIC-IOUS! 

Grandma Brierley and boys.  Their first experience of an Aussie barbeque! I think their personal favourite was strawberries with marshmallows on skewers - I think I will be leaving off the marshmallows!  

Bronwyn O'Shea with Lewis applauding the happy birthday singing to Uncle Michael and Benjamin! 

Lewis approving of Uncle Michael's caramel birthday cake with Michael's mother, Lee O'Shea.  Michael's brother, Chris, in the background with Lachie at the side. 

 Michael with Ryan (his younger son) preparing the birthday candles and anticipating that caramel cake .....
Watch out, Uncle Michael .... here comes Lewis!  
And here's Henry with Aunty Nerida, joining in with the birthday singing. 
Our first week was full of the jobs which took priority - applying for our Queensland drivers' licences, signing onto Medicare (the Australian health system) and getting our bank accounts sorted out - all of which took a LOT of time. 
It was therefore especially significant to escape the bureacracy to spend some time with family - and what is more Australian than a large-scale, noisy barbecue?  Looking forward to much more of the same in time to come. 


Thursday, 15 August 2013

August Scrapology Card Challenge - Milestones

Hello everyone and welcome to the August card challenge for Scrapology.  This month, Sandra challenged us to make a card with the theme of "milestones".

Well, a close friend and former colleague mentioned on the phone that her 40th wedding anniversary was coming up - and I thought it would be nice to send her a card.  Great coincidence that it could also serve dual purpose for our challenge!

Red = "ruby" so I searched through my scraps bag and found this piece of patterned paper.  I do really like monochrome cards and find myself making them quite often. 

I have also been turning to my Creative Memories square punch quite often and have used this fundamental design as a basis for many cards.  The hardest thing is to properly align the squares of paper to the card so it doesn't look like a botch job! 

I know this card will still be too busy for my friend, as she told me that she likes very graphic designs with lots of white space.  So I have left it very simple - added a strip of wide coordinating satin ribbon and softened the edge with my Martha Stewart iron fence border punch. 

I stuck most of the flowers down with glue dots but the leafy flourish, the numbers and the flower centres with wet glue. 

I had made the card and took a photo - and realised that I had attached the ribbon with a crease in it!  Normally I don't worry too much about that kind of thing, but this time it really showed up in the photo much more than in real life - so I very carefully got out the iron, and dealt with the crease.  I was a bit concerned before I started that I would damage the card more than fix it, but luckily the iron did its job with no detriment and this time the photo was greatly improved. 

I hope my friend likes her card but more importantly, has a lovely celebration!

Patterned paper -
Bazzill cardstock, white and red
Creative Memories Square punch set
Plastic numbers
Various flowers
White bead flower centres
Die-namics My Favourite Things Leafy Flourish die
Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels Four
Wide Red Satin Ribbon
Scrappy Glue
3d Foam
Glue Dots

Why don't you join in with our challenge and create a card with a "milestones" theme?  As usual, there is a fab prize to be won!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Lewis and Henry - 2 years and one month update

Dear Boys -

Saturday 6th July:-
The actual day of your 2nd birthday was a pretty low key affair, being that Daddy was working nights this week - so it was a highlight that we spoke to Grandma and Grandad Brierley in Brisbane on Skype, and then Grandma and Grandpa Jones came and visited us and played with you for over an hour. 

Monday, 8th July:-
A good friend, Gill Parry, came to visit us - now only to meet you for the first time, but to say goodbye.  You have both just woken up from your nap, so were uncharacteristically shy, and took a while to warm up! You eventually felt more at home so we were able to take some nice photos. 

10th July - Today being Wednesday, we went as normal to the Maple Cross Community Centre where the Rickmansworth Children's Centre host the toddler group. July has progressively gotten hotter and hotter as the month has passed, and we are now experiencing a heat wave.  All the activities were based outdoors in the field, and you were both in your element, running around in the sun, and getting drenched in the baby bath filled with blue gel. 

This morning, Henry - I was thrilled when you picked up a rubber duck - and said "duck!" Another word in your increasing repertoire. 

Lewis, you are responding more to direct requests - you are finally grasping that when I point to things, you should direct your attention to them.  This has taken a little while for you to understand. 

Saturday, 13th July - the day of your second birthday party dawned bright and hot, hot hot!  It has since been hotter, but it was 31 this day - we were very grateful that Tara and Ian brought their gazebo for the children to play in during the party. 

I was mostly in the kitchen, or buzzing around cleaning up, but each time I turned around, Henry - you usually had a cocktail sausage in one hand, and a mini quiche in the other! People tell me that Lewis, you were eating quite a lot too.  I do remember seeing you with a dollop of dip on the end of your nose!  I know you both enjoyed your cake, because your faces were smeared with blue icing. 

Friday, 19th July - my colleague and friend, Paul Cave, came for a visit and to wish us well.  He had great fun playing with you both, and I know he was delighted to see how much you had grown!  He saw you at 6 months when I took you for a visit to the office at Southall.

Henry, as each day progresses, you are picking up more and more words.  Saturday, 20th July - you now can say "chicken" even though it comes out more as having a heavy scouse accent. 

Wednesday, 24th July - Today was the day we exchanged contracts on the house - at nearly 4:00pm, after being on the market since 29th September.  Daddy and I were very happy on this day, as it meant we could book the flights to Australia and confirm that things were definitely on the move.  This was also the day Henry, that you put your little bear in the highchair after breakfast and tried to give him some water.  So adorable!

Thursday, 25th July - Henry, when you were in the bath, you stood up and tried to wash Daddy too by rubbing his arm with the washcloth. 

Friday, 26th July - Henry, when you run around with your hammer from your workbench, you point to it and say "am!".  In Operation Aeroplane, I give you puzzles to do whilst in your highchair - Lewis, you call puzzle "diddle".  AAaaawwww! This has now been adopted by Henry. 

Friday, 1st August - we took you to the dentist for the first time.  It all went quite well, considering.  You both sat on me in the dentist's chair, and Dr Adam Deitsch tried to take a look in your mouths.  At least there were no obvious holes, and that was a good thing. 

Sunday, 3rd August - We had a family day out to Beale Park - our first one.  We had only been in the park a matter of three minutes, at the most, when Henry, you decided to take a dip in the coy pond. It was terrifying, as you went in well above your head, but luckily Daddy was able to fish you out before too much time had passed. We went on a lovely train ride around the site which you boys loved, and you had lots of funs on various swings etc at lunch time.  We then went to Grandma and Grandpa's for a visit afterwards. 

At the entrance to the Park ...

On the seesaw ...

Lewis and the lion ...

My boys

You both walk down the stairs now, holding my hand.  It is how you are learning to count - each time we go up and down, there are 14 steps to count.  As the month has progressed, you are both starting to walk up the stairs rather than crawl.  This time next month, we will have left the UK and be in transit to a new adventure in Australia.  All change!

Love always
Mummy xxxx

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

52 Card Challenge UK Scrappers Week 15 - Make the Words the Focus

This week, Nat set the challenge as "Making the Words" the focus.  I pondered about this challenge for a while, and then took the brief literally. 

I had this glossy orange paper sitting around and rather than waste it, I backed the card with it and "patched" the background together where I had cut away from a sheet of paper.  I had previously cut an orange frame with Spellbinders, but it didn't look right, so coloured the frame and the flower with a black Promarker.

I have decided that rather than wait for the right time to cut into papers, with the amount of papers I have - just do it! So I am making cards for friends to give them messages before I move to Australia.  This one was for my lovely friend and neighbour, Roberta. 

I then coordinated the card with black and white.  I had the remainder of a Prima "Say it with Gems" black swirl, so used it here.  It adds some sparkle and dimension in real life, though you can't really spot it in the photo.  I used some black card candy in the middle of the flowers, and then covered it with orange Stickles, as I did with the word I wanted to accent, and the main flower. 

I can use the remainder of the lace paper in my Project Life pages, as we have just had the boys' second birthday party/our farewell do.  I think the message on the lace paper is pretty apt!

Orange glossy craft paper
ki memories black glitter lace paper
Orange Stickles
Black and white flowers
Black card candy - Craftwork Cards
Prima black "Say it in Gems"
Black button
Assorted flower

Monday, 5 August 2013

52 Card Challenge - Week 29 Nordic Theme

This week, for the Week 29 challenge over at UK Scrappers, Nat set the participants a Nordic inspired challenge. 
As I am actively trying to use up anything "snowy" related, this Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses paper jumped out at me as the perfect main ingredient.
I am also trying to use up odds and sods of this and that - just so I transport a pared down and more cohesive scrapping stash. 
I added an oddment of red satin ribbon, and some cotton lace and just a few tiny spots of red Stickles on the middle of the flowers to add a little bit of sparkle.  A Hero Arts greeting matted on green Bazzill completed the card. 

Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses Powdered Sugar
Red Satin ribbon
Cotton lace
Hero Arts "Miracle of the Holiday"

Sunday, 4 August 2013

52 Card Challenge UK Scrappers - Week 25 Sticker Sneeze

Nat set an interesting challenge this week - get out some of those old stickers and get using! 

I know for certain that I wouldn't have been as productive without this challenge - it really pushed me to stop thinking about the product and just get on with it!

I had half a sheet of Rusty Pickle "Grinchmas" stickers left.  They really looked awful sitting side by side - the colours clashed and I had kept shoving them aside in favour of other things. 

First time I used my Spellbinders Pointsettia die - I cut a flower from Basic Grey "Scarlet's Letter" range, and then used the die to outline flowers using my Inktense water colour pencils and coloured part of two flowers in.  I really like the end result!
The bling really made the difference to this very simple card, the sticker of which was outlined with Silver Icicles - the thicker Stickles. 

Went to town a bit with all the embellishments above - quite a busy card. 

I like the simplicity of the one above - I used the robin from a set of Christmas stamps and just added some felt ribbon. 

Even more basic - just added the bit of left over felt ribbon, and a couple of stars punched out from glitter paper and a few little gems as accent. 

How satisfying - all those stickers are now used up, as is most of that Basic Grey paper. 

Rusty Pickle "Grinch-mas" Stickers was the common elements in all these cards. 
Papermania felt ribbon
Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses "Powdered Sugar"

Saturday, 3 August 2013

52 Card Challenge - Week 13 Take Inspiration

For Week 13, Nat's challenge was to take inspiration from online/elsewhere as the basis for the card.

The above was my inspiration - so pretty.  I've pinned it from Split Coast Stampers.  I took the ribbon banner elements and turned the card into this:

My starting point was that really bright ribbon that I wanted to use up.  I remember purchasing it yonks ago - some DCWV self adhesive ribbon.  Great idea, and lovely quality - just want to get it used. 
I have also been dipping into my sequin supply a lot lately.  They were coordinating colours but when I'd stuck them on, they were a bit too pastel - so I covered them with Stickles.  They looked too odd, so I then bordered every second plain card ribbon banner with Stickles to make them tie in. 
I also covered the blue sequin stars with Starburst Stickles and then stamped the greeting with Versafine  in two different colours. 
I'd also like to duplicate this card directly from the image - it is just beautiful in the pinks.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 2 August 2013

52 Card Challenge - Week 28 Deck Chair Stripes

This week, Nat challenged us to use Deck Chair Stripes as the Week 28 challenge -

My card couldn't have been simpler! I think a piece of Basic Grey as the deck chair mat, with a piece of Kaisercraft paper to mat the embossed dandelion clocks.

Several years ago, my friend Linda lent me her embossing folders whilst on a scrapbooking weekend, and they have been sitting unloved in a drawer for a very long time.  The rub-on leaves were CherryArte ones which had stuck to the backing sheet, so I simply cut them out and used them as such on the card. 

For a wee bit of dimensionality, I added some teeny tiny pearls which I bought by mistake - they really only require the most miniscule portion of glue to make them stick! Then a "Got Flower" flower by Prima - I still have a bottle of these in all assorted colours on my desk and I find them very handy for card making. 

The message was from a freebie stamp set which doesn't shop up very well.  I guess the quality is pretty poor, but I do really like the font!  I shall perservere, but if not worth it, it shall go in the bin!

I like the simplicity and "quietness" of this card.  You can't often say that about my projects!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

52 Card Challenge - Week 31 Ribbon Banners

This week on UK Scrappers, the 52 Card Challenge hosted by Nat invited us to use ribbon banners for the Week 31 challenge. 

Impossible to believe we are that far into the year already, but so we are.  I went  to the Bellaboo crop on Tuesday night, which is run by Kate.  I was really unprepared and shot a few card making supplies in at the last minute.

When I found out her birthday was approaching, I put together this card for her.  The Bellaboo blog is also running a challenge for July called "Flower Show".  So  I also entered this card for that challenge. 

I put in my blue scraps bag and a few colours of ink, some Stampin' Up paper from last year. 
Kate's challenge was to use some supplies from the Bellaboo shop, so I bought some coordinating double sided papers from Kaisercraft - the "Miss Nellie" range. 

My ribbon banner die is by Stampin' Up!

One of the best things about going to a crop is sharing other people's supplies, which they are happy to do.  I happened to have the Glossy Accents and twine in my Cropper Hopper.  The journalling stamp is "Curly Cute!" by Stampin' Up - a beautiful set.

Another Kate brought along her dies and a lovely collection of embossing flowers, so I used the smallest Tim Holtz distressed flower and other flower dies and middles to embellish. I wouldn't have normally used so many patterned papers together, but I did like the result. 

Stampin' Up! patterned paper
Kaisercraft Miss Nelly - "Her Smile" and "Her Laugh"
October Afternoon "A Walk in the Park"
American Crafts
Stampin' up! Curly Cute stamp
Versamark chalk ink - Lagoon

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

UK Scrappers 52 Card Challenge Week 30 - Use Inspiring Supplies

Wow - over two thirds of the year completed already - that's scary stuff.  Nat set an interesting challenge this week - with the forthcoming Craft and Hobby Association show coming up in America which shows all the soon to be released new scrapbooking and craft products, choose an item which has been your favorite or most eagerly anticipated, and use that on your card. 

The item I chose was a Simple Stories 24/7 journalling block cut down from the 12 x 12 sheet.  My inspirational supplies are not necessarily Simple Stories - it could have easily has been Echo Park, or Project Life.  I like the different sized journalling blocks available for the pocket scrapbooking system that I have now adopted. 

The colour scheme was determined by the Simple Stories 24/7 journalling block - dark grey, with splashes of gold, red and grey blue.  I found the scroll die cut when having a clean up - I am very pleased to have used it here. 
The rest of the card was mostly scraps; I have also used my Memory Box "puffy clouds" dies for the first time and added foam pads for two of the smaller clouds.  The card didn't look right until I added more of the Doodlebug sequins that I have rediscovered lately - so useful for little accents here and there!
I added more dimension to the smaller flower by adding a middle from patterned paper, and then filling it with grey accent beads. Trying also to use up my hoard of rub-on alphas - they disintegrate over time, and it would be a shame to waste them. 
Quite a different style of card for me - but I am very pleased with how it turned out! The card would have never turned out like this were it not for the 52 Card Challenge. 
Various patterned paper scraps
Freebie magazine paper (Scrapbook Magazine) (Blue arrows)
Fresh "Beauty" Scroll Die Cut - 29th Street Market My Mind's Eye 2008
Memory Box "Puffy Clouds" die
Bazzill "Just the Edge" strip
American Crafts Trademarks "Jane" rub-on alphas

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Project Life Mini Album Part 5

This is the final instalment of the mini album I produced for my parents in law, which I gave to them on Father's Day. 
I am not too certain of how long it took me to do, as I did it on and off amongst other things, but my guestimate would be two weeks. 
Page 33 above uses all materials from the Scrap Pad - the stickers, the borders and the tags. 

Page 34 adds some small metal tags which I was luckily given in a grab box and the last journalling box contains a poem about the bluebell by Emily Bronte - I found some quotes and poems by googling them. 

On this bottom journalling box on Page 35, I used some old stickers and Basic Grey rub-ons.  

On Page 36 above I used a leafy flourish die cut by MFT - all other shapes from the K'Ology Verbena Scrap Pad.  

Page 37 - a different rub-on, and some small Got Flowers by Prima.  I am so glad I still have a collection in my stash - they are the perfect size for so many things - I often need a small flower to finish off a card.  I think I remember doing a swap on UK Scrappers for different colours - it has certainly come in useful. 

Page 38 - More of the same.  Just using different scraps of paper in different colour ways and some of the Scrap Pad stickers - made these pages really quick to do. 

Page 39 - Another rub-on by Basic Grey.  I love the shots of the boys here. 

Page 40 - Henry in the bluebell woods with another quote - and then Henry by a puddle as Grandma leads Lewis back to the car.  Henry was trying to drink from the puddle after this photo! From here, we have another change in colour and theme.  

"Daddy and the Flying Babies" - page 41.  Using up Doodlebug rub-on Pool medium Alphas, with mostly Echo Park "Scoot" sticker sheet and some washi tape. 

Page 42 - Henry going up up up!  Quickest pages of the album - stick and done - perfect!

Last page - Lewis in hover mode.  I love the little coordinating plane paper with lots of stickers, one of which I customised with old rub-on letters.  Last journalling box also contains washi tape and some glittery Doodlebug heart stickers.  Those are probably my favourite pages - more up to date stash, and quickest to do.

Here's the album cover - all finished!  Phew. 
I had intended to just put the Hodgemoor Wood pictures in, but then the album arrived and was much bigger than anticipated.  My advice would be to take some time organising your pictures and the order you want to put them in, and then go through the album and fill in the picture slots.  Because my album was a number of diverse times, I was happy to change the papers and the decorative elements accordingly to try and use different stash.
I think the album would be equally effective and quicker to do using just one range of papers and embellishments and sticking to that all the way through.  Using something like a Scrap Pad with its own coordinating stickers and die cut labels is perfect as it cuts down the selection process and the time to prepare. 
I certainly would use something similar again, if the pages were a mix of portrait and landscape aspects.  I hope you have enjoyed flipping through the album and covering almost two years of my boys' lives in 43 pages! Thanks for stopping by.