Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Brotherhood of Men Who've Lost Their Fathers.

A week and a half ago now, my husband Robert joined The Brotherhood of Men Who've Lost Their Fathers. 

In his eulogy, my Father-in-law's best friend informed us that, in his opinion, loss does not diminish with time.  He said he missed his own father more now than when he first died many years ago.

In our own peer group, the number of Brothers is still relatively small.  But can I tell you, they've rallied around amazingly.  That's because they've been there, they've lived it, they still live it - probably every day.

There's one Brother who lost his father about 13 years ago.  At the time he reacted so strongly to the event that his relationship with Robert (among other friends) was, sadly, damaged so badly it never fully recovered.  But when he heard our news, he sent a bunch of flowers.  Amazing.

And then there's the Brother who, ever since my Father-in-Law was first diagnosed with Parkinsons a number of years ago, has been hovering around (in the most loving way possible) always ready to offer Brotherly support - usually in the form of beer and late-night conversation. In spite of some fairly heavy stuff going on in his own family, he has unfailingly been there.  Amazing.

Lastly I want to mention the Brother who I'm not entirely sure shouldn't be writing fabulously successful novels instead of software . . . but that's not for me to decide.  He sent a CD full of what he describes as the "saddest, most beautiful songs," promising, "it will make you cry".  I, for one, am not ready to listen to that CD just yet.  Here's just a part of what he wrote:
"I hope you can find your feet in the new weird world. where everything kind of looks the same but every time you move you discover that there are big holes in the earth and gravity is not where it used to be". Amazing.

I thank God that Robert has these Brothers in his life.  Not because they'll make it better - they can't.  But they can walk beside him in a way that I just can't in this "new weird world".

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scrapbook Boutique and ScrapFriends meet.

Which of these do you think is yummiest?
This sketch from ScrapFriends  . . .

or this from Scrapbook Boutique . . .

I, for one, loved them both, and here is the page I created using both of them as my inspiration . . . 

When you see a page like this from me, with the patterned paper as a border behind the cardstock, it means one of two things.  Either it is a paper I have had sitting around for a while and I'm glad to be finally using it, or I've cut the middle out before attaching the cardstock down (usually by sewing for extra  stability).

No prizes for guessing which one I've done this time . . .

The pink patterned paper is from  my Counterfeit Kit, and pretty much everything else is my "Plus One".  The "postcards" are from a recently purchased Kaisercraft paper.  As well as postcards on one side, it has a gorgeous butterfly pattern on the other.  I rarely buy more than one sheet of the same paper, but if they still have this one in stock next time I drop into my local Scrapbook shop, I will totally buying another sheet or two!

 Thanks for taking the time to drop by!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's a bizarre alternate universe I'm living in at the moment.  We expect to be called back down to Canberra any day for a funeral and it keeps not happening.  I look forward to time spent at home catching up and I get called down to the Preschool for work. And when I am at home, the uncertainty of exactly how we're getting down to this funeral (I'm at home with the boys while Rob and Maddy are down with his Dad) not to mention the sadness of the whole situation is kind of doing my head in and I'm not functioning very efficiently.

Here is a page I did manage to get finished amidst the craziness, based on this month's sketch from Scrapbook Supplies Online.

Challenge #1 at the Counterfeit Kit Challenge is a quilt-inspired one, and I thought those squares of patterned paper had a real patchwork feel to them.

Remember when I said that  I wasn't sure how much I liked some of the individual sheets in the Everyday Eclectic collection?  Well the paper I used as the background of this one was number one on the list: repeating patterns of cameras on one side, grid of "fairground" photos on the other.  Rather than leaving it languishing in my stash until next century, I added it to my kit and was determined to use it as soon as possible! And I did!

This is a photo that I've passed over many time recently as not being "scrapworthy".  But not this time - maybe because we are faced with the mortality of a loved one right now, or maybe just because I'm aware of my children growing up and moving to the next stages of their lives.  The sight of my three children playing at a park together, once an almost weekly event, is understandably a very rare event these days, so I wanted to make a page acknowledging that fact, and reminding myself to appreciate the everyday moments.

My "plus one" for this page is the length of braid, my DIY mini letter stickers, and some stamping. The layered butterfly embellishment is my third attempt at filling that spot - I'm happy with how it eventually turned out!

Thanks so much for dropping by!

P.S. If you're visiting from the Counterfeit Kit Challenge, scroll on down to the previous post, that page was made using my kit also.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jay Gee's Nook October Challenge

How gorgeous is this month's inspiration piece from Jay Gee's Nook?

What draws your eye first?  For me, it was that door, and I immediately thought of a certain older sheet of paper in my Counterfeit Kit, as well as a certain cut file in my wish list at the Silhouette online store . . .

As you can see, that "gate" cut file (which is the Rolls Royce of cut files, it is amazingly intricate, and took AGES to cut!) made it's way into my collection, as did some new little birdies (swallows, I think, if you're interested) to match my brand new bird-and-butterfly-themed-stamps . . .

And when I say new stamps, I mean bought only an hour before . . .that's what I call "using what's new while it's still new"!

Enough teasers, here's my finished page . . .

That's me and Maddy on Christmas Day way back in 2005.  This is what I think of as an every now and then, just-for-fun page. It doesn't particularly tell a story, but captures a moment together and expresses the sentiment, spread your wings . . . and SOAR!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How long is a piece of string? (or other equally hard to answer questions)

What do rhinestones, doilies and die-cuts dogs have in common?  They're my "plus one" on my first page made using my October Counterfeit Kit, "Eclectic Pizza Plus One".

I seem to have made a few puppy-related pages lately, and possibly a few more to come . . .

The papers on this page are a mix of Basic Grey "Konichiwa" and Echo Park "Everyday Eclectic".   As I told you in my last post, the "Everyday Eclectic" collection was my latest purchase.  I seem to be having a bit of a love-hate relationship with the whole idea of paper collections lately.  The love part is how easy it is to put them together to make a page you know will match.  The hate part (although hate is too strong a word, more like don't like quite so much) is when you look back on those pages, it is soooo obvious that they were made with that one collection.  The other don't like so much part is that when you're trying to limit the size of your stash, 12 papers (or 18 or whatever) from the same collection doesn't seem to provide quite the same variety in your stash as the same number of papers from a range of collections would.

So the question I'm asking you today is:

What do you think is the magic number of papers to have in your stash?  Enough that you've got an inspiring range of designs and colours that mean you're ready to sit down and create at a moment's notice?  But not so much that you're drowning in a sea of paper that you know you're never going to use?
Have you found that "sweet spot" yet?  If not, where are you on the journey? 
I look forward to hearing what you've got to say, and maybe we'll talk more about it later!  Until then, I hope you find time to create this weekend!

PS. I'm also linking this page up to the Scrapbooking Soiree at Jennifer's Jumbles, so if you're visiting from there, I'd love to hear what you've got to say, too!

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Counterfeit Kit: "Eclectic Pizza (Plus One)"

Here is the inspiration kit for the Counterfeit Kit Challenge this month:

Ah, where to begin? The kit reveal or the name?  Actually I think I'll tell you how I came up with the name for my kit this month . . .


 As a bit of a birthday treat to myself, last month I lashed out on the Echo Park "Everyday Eclectic" collection kit.  I'd been seeing it on the blogs everywhere, it seemed, and I was loving what people were creating with it.
When I got it home, however, I started to worry that I didn't love all the individual sheets as much as I thought I would.  I did actually make a page only a few days after buying the set, and I do love how it turned out - wasn't Hamish cute when he was a puppy?!

almost finished, bar the journalling on hidden tag

Even so, I was very happy that the sheet of journalling cards was in this month's inspiration kit, as a push to keep on using that collection! I pretty much built my kit on that basis, without too much reference to the other papers, although I think my colours are similar.


As a relative newcomer to "kit" scrapping, I'm still experimenting with how to store my kit each month.  Last month, I tried keeping my embellishments and stamps in a couple of open containers on my desk.  The theory being that this would keep them on my radar and encourage me to use them.  What happened instead, was, they ended up more like distracting "visual noise", cluttering up my desk.

It's a scientifically proven fact that a clean desk is more conducive to creativity*, so this month, I decided to try a different approach. I'm going to restrict my entire kit to what will fit into a pizza box, which can sit under my desk when I'm not rifling through it.

(Plus One)

If you're a regular visitor, you'll know that I often set extra challenges to myself, usually in the stash-busting department.  This month, rather than filling up my kit with embellishments, I'm going to challenge myself to add one (or more) item from elsewhere in my stash, whether it be cardstock, ribbon, flowers, brads . . . you get the picture!

And now the reveal:

 L to R: top row - EP everyday eclectic letter stickers, one sheet ledger paper, 4 sheets from Everyday Eclectic, one sheet SEI (quite an old collection I think, but relatively new to me, I think I bought it for 20cents!)
bottom row - Everyday Eclectic elements sticker sheet, butterfly patterned paper from Crate Paper, (a bit different in terms of colour, but I didn't end up using it last month and I really like it and want to use it before it gets old!), butterfly "lace" paper, 4 sheets from Basic Grey "Konichiwa".

All I added to my pizza box other than that was:
  •  the rest of my white thickers
  • washi tape and bakers twine (as much because they have no actual home in my craft room as because I like them and will probably use them!)
  • the remains of the Everyday Eclectic papers from the "run puppy run" page (including of course the journalling card sheet
  • and a few other off-cuts, but nothing like last kit!
So that's it, Eclectic Pizza (Plus One)!  Are you joining in the Counterfeiting Fun this month?  Whether you are or not, I hope you find time to do something creative, and have a go at the "Plus One" - dig out something old from your stash!

*OK, so it may not be a scientifically proven fact, but it's certainly what seems to work for me - the more the clutter encroaches on my desk, the harder I find to create!

September Counterfeit Kit wrap-up.

The story so far . . . 

Way back in August, I put together a Counterfeit Kit which included LOTS of  off-cuts.  When September rocked around, I knew I had a pretty busy month ahead, and also that I didn't feel like my August kit was "finished".  I therefore decided to do a smaller "add-on" kit, and see how I went.  I actually had ridiculously high hopes of that stack of off-cuts whittling away to nothing, but life kind of got in the road of that particular plan, as it has a habit of doing . . .

Here's one page I did finish but hadn't posted yet:

 Here's what I guess you would call a "page kit" I've kept out for a skateboard-themed page for Rohan.  I'm still undecided about that misted shape - whether to keep it, ditch it, or alter it somehow (ahh, the randomness of home-made mists, especially if you forget to test it first!)

Finally, Maddy and I had a bit of fun making some mini-notebooks.  I'd first gotten the idea from Elsie at A Beautiful Mess, here, although there are plenty of other versions out there. 

For the pages, I used some old half-used exercise books that came home from school last year.  I like to keep a few around for notes to school etc, but thought this would be a fun way to re-purpose them. All the larger pieces of cardstock and thicker papers were fair game to be used as covers.  All the die-cuts I used were either left-overs from previous projects, or cut from the scraps in my kit.

  Like Elsie, I used embroidery cotton to hold my books together.  I added washi tape as seam binding to some books and left the others plain.

I loved both sides of this paper, so I used both positive and negative of this shape!

Yes, a few butterflies did flutter on down!

Maddy took the "mini" in the mini-notebook idea very seriously.  I couldn't find hers to take a photo, so check back in a couple of days and I'll hopefully have updated with a picture of her gorgeously tiny creations.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mini recipe book holder from a cereal box

Hello blog, Have you missed me as much as I've missed you?  It's the last day of the school holidays here, a holiday which, for us, did not go quite according to plan.Two camping weekends were replaced by a week spent visiting my Father-In-Law, who is still critically ill in ICU down in Canberra.  Not to mention the worry before and since. 

But I did manage to get a bit of craft done, so let the catch-up blogging begin!

One of the September challenges at the CKC was to be inspired by a favourite character.  So let's start with a book extract, followed by some history, shall we . . .

The Harry Potter books are among my favourites.  I couldn't tell you how many times I have re-read them! This year, Maddy and I have been reading them together. Although we've been moving at a (MUCH!!!) slower pace than I'm used to, I've been loving re-discovering the characters and the adventures through her eyes.  One of our favourite moments: in The Philosopher's Stone, when Hermione discovers that Ron and Harry are trapped by a plant called Devil's Snare. She remembers ". . .  it likes the dark and the damp." 
"So light a fire!" says Harry, and Hermione fluffs around, panicking about the absence of any wood, to which Ron responds "HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?"

Several years ago, I went on a quest to find a holder for the mini-cookbooks I owned.  The advertised offer in the back of one was no longer available, and I couldn't track one down from any other source.  Fast forward a couple of years to about a month ago, when I started organising by recipe collection (a work in progress, and a blog post coming your way once I'm finished).  I'm still frustrated by the way those little mini-books disappear amongst their larger counter-parts, and wondering yet again what to do about them.

Perhaps my sub-conscious was working on the problem for me, because I finally had my Harry Potter moment . . .


So here's my mini recipe book holder. . .  I started out with a cereal box, which I cut to size:

It was simply a matter of folding the rest of the base up and gluing to make the remaining side.

Next I covered the whole lot with cardstock and some patterned paper from my Counterfeit Kit.

Some people like to get a bit excited with the embellishments at this point . . . me, I find that art tends to get in the road of life (or is it the other way around?) and prefer to keep it pretty flat.  I ended up just doing a few cuts on my Silhouette and covering the lot in Mod Podge.

Hooray! My mini cookbooks finally have a home!