Friday, February 15, 2019

I Heart Us Australasian Blog Hop

Oooh! This one has such fresh, pretty colours and beautiful sentiments!
Welcome to our "I Heart Us" Australasian Blog Hop for February.
Did you arrive here from Megan's Blog or are you a regular visitor here? Either way I hope you will "hop" your way around following the links.  We love to share ideas with you all.

I found that the "I Heart Us" paper pack lent itself beautifully to quick, easy double paged spreads.
First up I wanted to share the Craft with Heart pages for this month.  I am absolutely loving how easy and effective these pages are.  Every month I have 4 beautiful, easy to customise pages to add to my album.  It is making it so much easier to keep up to date with my scrapping!


At a recent scrapping event a friend was working on an entirely different paper collection using the "Olivia" pattern (from our Make it From Your Heart books, featured on the Close To My Heart Blog in December)  I adapted it to work for the "I Heart Us" paper.  If you don't own our Make it From Your Heart books I totally recommend them for stunning patterns that work with any paper!  They are my go to when I am a bit lacking in inspiration.
 How awesome are our new cut-apart sheets? I love that they are such an easy way to embellish pages.  I have used foam tape to pop those flowers up (I love giving a bit of added dimension with foam tape or dots!)


So there you have it. Easy, happy pages with clear bright colours.  This is such a great paper palette to work with!  I paired it with Bluebird and Carolina cardstock, and Raspberry and Mint.
Enjoy your scrapping this month.
Now head on over to visit Maz and see what she has been creating!
Keep smiling,
Nell


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Taking Stock February

Now that the kids are back at school and life has settled a little I thought it might be time for another taking stock post
Making : Lots and lots and lots of mittens (this pattern "Kidlett Mittenz" on rav - which is quick and perfect for scrappy charity knitting)  Most of my mittens take somewhere between 30-40grams of wool which makes them the perfect scrappy project



Cooking : Pork roast
Sipping : Pepper Jack shiraz
Reading: Actually in between books - just finished "The Glovemaker's Daughter" and haven't started the new one from the library
Looking: forward to a cooler week this week.  Bring on Autumn
Listening: to a lot of different things through Google on Spotify, most often Norah Jones and Van Morrison
Wishing:I had more kindy work
Enjoying: lots of knitting, and more time for papercrafting
Waiting: for Autumn
Liking: that the pantry is still clean, and the kitchen is not too bad, and the loungeroom is cleaner than usual
Loving: the anticipation of Fibre Feast and Bungaree (paid deposit for both this week) Crafty time with Crafty friends is always welcome
Buying: new curtains for the loungeroom and a new toilet seat for the downstairs bathroom
Happy about: my gorgeous new vintage 1930s retro teapot (a gift from my lovely cousin)
Watching: the new series of Call the Midwife
Hoping: I enjoy being back working in childcare - a bit of a change for me but looking forward to a baby fix
Needing: To get more acrylic wool to finish a blanket for AKWAK
Wearing: my pyjamas (lazy day at home) - but have really been loving wearing summer dresses
Following: The Close To My Heart Blog and lots of crochet people on instagram
Noticing: How much the weather dictates my mood
Sorting: so many things - my walk in, the kitchen, the laundry..everyone seems to be on a bit of a decluttering binge at the moment
Getting: anxious about the lack of regular income coming in
Saving: money where ever I can (I have really been pretty good at only buying essentials lately - although I did splurge a little when my cousin was in town and we did the touristy thing in Hahndorf and Strath last week - I found a quilt shop I didn't know about - that was dangerous!
Giggling: over silly comedy reruns
Coveting: a Canon Selphie printer - maybe for my birthday?
Hearing: the two big ones discussing MKR in the loungeroom - that show is disgusting! How can they let contestants be such poor role models?
Obsessing: over getting projects finished while our Cold Sheep group have a knitalong happening - I've knitted almost 4000 yards!
Grateful for: a midweek getaway with my boy.  The band we were going to see cancelled but we still had an awesome time playing tourist in Melbourne
Praying: my cousin's son makes a full recovery after a nasty car accident last night
Cherishing: time spent with family and friends.  Already a few reminders this year that life is short and you have to make the most of it.
Have a good week!
keep smiling,

Nell

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Good Reads, Knitting, Liberty and Summer Days

Ah January..how I do love long lazy days at home.  I might love them even more this year now that we have aircon (LOL)

It has been a wonderful break.  Lots of knitting! I decided to step out of my comfort zone and embrace colourwork.  I got the Strange Brew book towards the end of last year and I have to say it really is an excellent resource and has made first attempts kind of fool proof.  After a couple of Strange Brew Hats I've been playing with the Fearless Fair Isle Pattern on ravelry.  Colourwork is so great for using up little scraps!  I think I am a bit addicted.
"Fleet" and a Fearless Fair Isle original both out of scraps!
I made "Kind" slippers for Mum and Gubby for Christmas - now I want to knit a couple of pairs in chunky homespun!

I have signed up for two stash busting challenges in an attempt to get wool out of stash.  One runs for a whole year and focusses on using what you have pattern wise too so rest assured that I will be popping in to show you what books I have been knitting out of from time to time.  I have just started a pair of 5 ply socks (Patons Bluebell in a lurid shade of purple - which I am certain would survive a nuclear explosion but is really not enjoyable to knit with) using Ann Budd's fabulous "Getting Started Knitting Socks" book.  I have been knitting socks for quite a while now but I do like that she gives patterns for all different gauges of yarn, perfect for my AKWAK knitting.  There is also some playing with sideways mittens patterns for AKWAK and I am waiting patiently for some non 30 or 40 plus days to finish the sleeve on my Isla cardigan.  Currently I have knitted more than 2000 yards since January 1st.  Even my non-knitting husband was quite surprised by that - he said "Basically you've knitted to the roundabout and back!"

The hot weather and long holidays have also meant lots of reading time.  I started with Clara Parkes "A Stash of One's Own" which was thought provoking and funny and just fab holiday reading.
We've had a few library trips so I have also enjoyed The Tatooist of Auschwitz (beautifully written so as not to be too heavy despite the subject matter), Four Seasons with a Grumpy Goat (a memoir about a tree change in Tasmania - light and funny), The Room on Rue Amelie (sad and beautiful love story set in World War II) and Little Gods (by a Melbourne based author Jenny Ackland - this one was really special, a vivid portrayal of an Aussie childhood - similar style to Tim Winton without being quite so prosey, thoroughly enjoyable)

The heat has really been knocking my garden around - my mornings are filled with buckets and hoses and cursing our terrible irrigation system.  There will be casualties.  The upside is that the heat has attracted common brown butterflies to the hebe.  There has been a kaliedoscope of butterflies for the last 3 weeks.  They are just beautiful!

Last but not least I wanted to show you a special gift I received from 2 lovely friends before Christmas.  They knew I was feeling down about not being on staff at kindy next year and wanted to cheer me up.  I have only ever been gifted one other quilt, made for me when I left Melbourne (leaving another job I adored) by the talented Jenny Grierson.  This second special quilty gift was carefully chosen to include brown shot cotton and..liberty..after a conversation where I had wistfully suggested that I would never have enough liberty to make a quilt.  Such a special gift and I love it so much. Thank you Kirsty and Narelle.  It still makes me smile every day!

So now we have hit that crazy point in the holidays where there is still so much to do and not enough time to do it in.  Before we know it school will be back and we will pick up the thread of our "normal" lives.
Happy last week of holidays to you!
Keep smiling,
Nell




The kids have been delightful this holidays - disappearing into the kitchen to make wonderful creations together!


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Something Fierce Feature Paper Blog Hop

Welcome to our Blog Hop for the January feature paper "Something Fierce"  Did you arrive here from Shaunna's Blog ?  I hope you enjoy clicking through all of the links to see everyone's different takes on this versatile paper pack.  The colours in it are fabulous for our Australian Summer photos!
Sticker quotes look great in a stitched circle thin cut.  I have also used leftover cardstock and our numbers thin cuts to do the "12" in the corner.  Thin cuts are a fabulous way of turning scraps into great embellishments.
I just love the bright, clear colours in this pack.  They are easily customised to suit pretty much any photos.  This pack also works exceptionally well with our Carolina and Bluebird cardstock and ink. Don't be put off by the super-cute dinosaurs as you can easily avoid dino-themed pages (simply by turning the paper over!)
The bright primary colours in this pack make it perfect for fun kid's pages.

My cute niece is affectionately known as "T-Rex" so I liked adding the dinosaurs to her page!

This was my take on the Workshop Your Way layout - not a dinosaur in sight.

That is it for me this month - I may confess to being "all scrapped out" - I have just returned from a 3 day scrap retreat with some scrapping buddies and actually completed over 100 pages.  It feels good to be getting those albums up to date!

Now hop on over to Maz at Amazing Creations to see what she has been up to!
Until next time,
Happy scrapping,
Nell



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Card Captions Stamp of the Month Australasian Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to our first blog hop for the year.
Did you arrive here from Shaunna's Blog?  Whether you are new here or a seasoned scrapper please enjoy hopping along to all of our blogs to see what we've been creating.  We love it when you leave us a comment too!

January's Stamp of the Month is an absolute must have.  I recommend a sentiments stamp like this one for every beginner scrapper/cardmaker.  It is a perfect addition to your "toolbox"

Confession time: I woke up super early this morning and rather than toss and turn got up and played while the rest of the house was asleep.  My daughter shares a bookcase partition with my scrapping room so I had to scrap on a corner of the kitchen table.  I crept in and grabbed a couple of blocks and my black ink and little tool caddy and the "Something Fierce" Workshop Your Way without waking her.
You may notice that all of my examples this month use only black ink and two blocks (a 1" block and a 1x3 1/2" block)  Most of my cutting was done just using my microtip scissors.  I know that this stamp set would work beautifully with any of the papers in our range but I wanted to keep to using Something Fierce.

I think I have mentioned before that I am big on teaching my kids gratitude.  We generally have a basket full of thank you cards easily accessible for them to write thank yous.  My son has recently lamented that "there are only girly cards left"  (meaning too many butterflies and flowers!) so these are to restock the basket.

Don't throw that sticker sheet away until you have thought about the bits that are left - the little zig zag borders are the bit left over after the stickers were removed.

Stamping directly onto the PML cutouts or pre-made journalling dies is a great way to add extra dimension to your work.

This stamp set is not just for sentiments - how cute is that little star?  I have been using "leftovers" from my Craft with Heart subscription as they coordinate perfectly with the feature paper pack for the month.

This one was made especially for a dear brave little girl who has an extended stay in hospital.  Paired with a set of our watercolours and a visual art diary it will be a perfect recovery present.

Sometimes it is great to have a couple of generic cards on hand.  This is perfect for a new job, new house, promotion, graduation, or any job well done!  I love the little dots to make an effective border.

Part of my strategy to get organised this year is to make Birthday cards for my friends and family and put them in a 12 month file under the month of their birthday.  If I mark in my diary the week I need to send cards (and to whom) then it should all work perfectly.  I will have two nieces turning three this year and one of them (Tiana) is sometimes affectionately known as Ti-Rex.

This is part of my strategy to send cards "just because"  All of my really best friends live interstate.  Catch ups are rare so when they do happen I want to be able to send a photo of that moment afterwards just so they know I am missing them!  Can you see the little scraps of cream paper under the dinosaurs? They are bits that are cut away from the sticker carrier sheet so that I can still stick my photo under the dinosaurs.

And I couldn't let you go without pointing out that this stamp set is not just for cardmakers!  Look at that border!? With sentiments like "hello" and "love you" it is also perfect for adding to your layouts.

So what do you think?  Hugely versatile and lots of fun.  The other thing I LOVE about this set is how easy Close To My Heart have made it for you to obtain it.  We have a brand new Seasonal Expression packed full of gorgeous new product.  Choose any of your favourite things up to $82.50 and this stamp is yours for only $8.50.  That is money well spent!

Happy New Year to you.
May your scrapping bring you joy this year!
Now click on this link to Doris' Blog to see what clever ideas she has been creating!
Keep smiling,
Nell


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pondering and Planning..

Ah those lazy days between Christmas and New Years.  I've written before about how much I love them.  This year it feels like the dreaming and planning and reflecting that I usually do around now started way earlier.

On November 25th I felt compelled to write:

"Next year I will:
bake more
make more
write more
get back to taking "real" photos
take pleasure in the simple things
get outside more
go barefoot more
recognise that being me is enough
recognise that being me is more than okay
pick more flowers
smell more roses
do small, sweet things for my children
pick up the phone and call far-away friends more often
send cards for birthdays
send cards for no reason
recognise the good in people
learn to let go of "things"

Next year I plan to be happy just being in the moment.
Life is a gift.
It is messy, extraordinary, and wonderful."

As 2018 draws to a close I realise that although it has been a great year (with lots of terrific family memories and catching up with friends)  mentally it has been a really tough one.  Working long hours in a job that I love, but is rapidly changing to be not quite the right fit, knowing full well that through no fault of my own I wouldn't be there in 2019, and trying hard not to be bitter and twisted about that. I am trying to be kind to myself as I work through change, and trying hard to think positively about the year ahead (as scary as some of it may be)

I have not had a lot of time and energy for my Close to My Heart business for quite some time so I am looking forward to changing that next year and also hoping to be back to sharing ideas regularly here and participating in the Blog Hops.

I am also hopeful that more free time might mean more blog writing.  I miss this creative space and sharing recipes and crafting projects with you all.

Hannah and I both got cookbooks for Christmas so there may be some experimentation this holidays.
There is definitely going to be a whole heap of crafting as I try to get my stash under control! I have been reading "A Stash of One's Own" - fabulous and funny and thought provoking.

It is Indie Giftalong time over on Ravelry and I have thoroughly enjoyed not Opadooing this year - the plan was to make 8 items.  So far I have managed 2 hats (with a third on the needles) and 2 pairs of slippers, and half a pair of socks, and a pair of mitts.  The plan is to finish the Beeswax Hat, and another pair of slippers before midnight on New Years Eve and quickly finish a crocheted wash cloth and that will be my 8.

I did quite a lot of pre-Christmas gift knitting - finishing off a cardi for Tiana, and socks for Grandpa and school hats and mittens for the girls.  My little nephews requested earflap hats while I was home for Christmas so that will become a project for early 2019.

What about you?
What are your plans?
Do you make New Years Resolutions?
Are you big on list making at this time of year?

Where ever you are, who ever you are, I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, and that you are using these quiet days wisely,

Keep smiling,
Nell

p.s. I had planned to pepper this post with photos but the camera and computer have decided not to talk to one another again - THAT will be a major focus for 2019 - getting photos and technology sorted and under control! If you really want to see photos - check out my projects on Ravelry, or my photos on instagram.




Thursday, October 11, 2018

Taking Stock October 2018




It has been a while again hasn't it?
I was reminded by two friends quite recently that I do actually have readers here who like to hear from me. If you are lurking maybe you would like to leave me a message in the comments because you know, sometimes, blogging does feel a little like you are shouting into a void.
My friend Jill said she especially missed these "Taking Stock" posts and then Pip over at www.meetmeatmikes.com (who is a way more diligent and creative blogger than I am) obligingly put up her Taking Stock October list, and who am I to fight tradition?


Making : mitt and hat sets out of locally hand-dyed ethical merino (seriously like knitting a cloud)
Cooking : sweet potato chips out of Leah Itsine's "The Nourishing Cook" (thumbs up all around)
Drinking : coffee (but wondering if I could pretend it is Friday night and start on the red wine)
Listening to: the crackle and pop of the fire and Maddie with kids' cartoons on in the background
Reading: "Dancing on Broken Glass" recommended by one of my kindy mums, also "Yarnlandia" by Clara Parkes
Next read: "Frankenstein" as our last Ravelry Goth Reading group hurrah (start and end with Frankenstein)
Wanting: another week of holidays
Looking: at the Better Home and Gardens Christmas Special (a friend and I have a challenge to see who can buy it first each year - but I swear it is getting earlier and earlier and every year it is more disappointing than the last)
Daydreaming: in the garden - I've planted a lot of great stuff this holidays with more to go - the front garden is becoming a reality now - hedging plants in and Dan got water plants for the pond for his birthday. I have willegia and philadelphus and a flowering quince to go in and we have added a mandarin and a cumquat to our orchard.
Deciding: That life is pretty good right now, and that these holidays have been enough to sustain me for the next 9 crazy weeks
Wishing: The next 9 weeks weren't looking so gaga
Enjoying: Having all of my chicks home in the nest - even James has been home for the holidays
Waiting: For the spring weather to properly kick in - I am so cold
Liking: The way my garden looks and smells at this time of year (hello Lilac!)
Wondering: What next year will look like? Will it really be okay? Will I be able to rise to challenges? Can I find change liberating instead of scary?
Loving: Sleep-ins, and baths, and time spent with kiddos
Pondering: How amazing it is to be re-united with my pen friend after 14 years! Yay for a good use of social media!
Considering: those lovely yarn advent calendars I see popping up everywhere - a lot of money but how worth it for the excitement of a mini-skein every day
Buying: nothing - trying to curb spending
Watching:The Hunger Games movies with the two eldest - still seems bizarre to me that our Toy Story and Disney Princess Days are over
Next watch: Outlander season 4 - it has to be coming soon!
Hoping: next year holds more time for old-fashioned letters, long walks, gardening and crafting
Marvelling: at skills I didn't recognise in my children - Maddie's eye for putting a quilt together, Hannah's cake making skills, Dan finding his groove with a great group of friends
Cringing: at the list of jobs that didn't get done on the holidays (hello pantry clean out?)
Needing: faith in my own abilities, and a belief that it will be okay
Questioning: Whether I can maybe get myself into more of a blogging routine
Smelling: woodsmoke, and sweet potatoes cooking
Wearing: jeans, and my boots, and a long sleeve tee (wishing for dress weather)
Following: beautiful knitting projects on instagram
Worrying: about living on a reduced income next year
Noticing: my lilac is in bloom and my veggies are growing before my eyes
Knowing: Summer dress and flip flop weather will be here before I know it
Thinking: I have wonderful friends
Admiring: the delicate style of Alicia Paulson www.rosylittlethings.typepad.com - she puts such beautiful colours and items together, many times I have oohed and ahhed over the photos of her home
Sorting: kids clothes, and clutter
Getting: frustrated at the lack of progress on the decluttering front
Bookmarking: healthy recipes on instagram
Coveting: a yarn advent calendar
Disliking: mean spirited people
Opening: packets of dried fruit and nuts
Giggling: at my children's sense of humour (all different, all developing their own style)
Feeling: optimistic, and terrified, and sad, all in equal measure
Snacking: on so many blueberries and mangoes - cheap and delicious this year
Hearing:birdsong
Mourning: the sudden loss of an acquaintance - a stark reminder not to take life for granted
Missing: my weekly walks with the school mums
Hoping: I can find a sudden passion for housework
Remembering: the fun we had with our secret Pimms group
Looking forward to: more fun with a Close to My Heart friend and her family tomorrow
Hoping: that you and yours are happy and well and enjoying this perfectly imperfect life!
I promise to be back with some crafty photos soon,
Keep smiling,
Nell
xxx