Friday, December 29, 2017

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that Jazz!

So Christmas is done and dusted and it really was a lovely one with just the right amount of presents, family, extended family, beach time and down time and more food than could sink a ship.

I have been indulging in lots of knitting time while the Giftalong was on and this year even managed an Opadoo (which means nothing to non-knitters but is a pretty big deal if you have been hanging out on ravelry!)  These were just some of my projects:
Downton cowl for Hannah's teacher

Onder for Maddie's teacher - loved this one so much!

Clan Fraser boot cuffs for my brown boots - Jack got very excited by the possum/merino yarn!

Tiana's Coming Home Cardigan - I love this pattern so much I think I will queue it in my size!

Shallows Mitts - perfect for last minute gift giving and super economical to make

Hypen - I see lots of these in my future - perfect for handspun!

All of these are in my Ravelry projects if you want more details.
We are now in that lazy haze between Christmas and New Years, one of my favourite times of the year - nowhere to be and nothing that needs doing, plenty of time to reflect on the year that was and think about the year to come.

Next year I want to get back into blogging crafty stuff more frequently. I will still do the Australasian CTMH blog hops but I want to do more informal posts as well. I am giving myself permission not to do anything in March (which is already Mad March) and also in November/December which is when the wheels fell off this year!

I am beginning the year "Cold sheeping" to get my fibre stash under control (there may be more about that in a later post) - the plan is to use up lots of my stash on charity knitting in January!

I am hoping that the year ahead holds less stress, more gratitude, more appreciation for the sweet, simple things in life, a greater awareness of the preciousness of family time.  I hope to learn to say "no" graciously, to master new technology, to be more confident in myself and my own abilities, to practise better sleeping habits and to try out some new recipes. So no New Year's Resolutions as such, but lots of thinking going on.

Where ever you are, who ever you are, may the year ahead be bright and full of potential.
Keep smiling,

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Self-imposed quarantine and all things boringly domestic

Oopeday! I realised this had never been posted.  This is what happened mid term 4! Pretty ick and I had to bow out of a lot of commitments including blog hops!
So it appears that 3 out of the 5 of us may have whooping cough (despite being vaccinated - and please people, let's not go there about the whole vaccination versus not debate - everyone is entitled to their own opinion)

Anyhow, Hannah and I have been in quarantine this week and feeling truly miserable. Today the drugs finally kicked in and I was able to do a few domestic type things around the house.  Mostly washing, but also a double batch of cornflake cookies (which is really just my basic biscuit recipe with handfuls of mixed fruit thrown in towards the end and then rolled in cornflakes)  This is the recipe that I was taught when I was about 8 and it works for everything - choc chip cookies, jam drops, etc etc and also doubles as a pastry base when you need one.

Put 125g of butter (real butter not margarine) in the mixer bowl and then add about the same amount of sugar.  Put a good splosh of real vanilla and mix on high until it gets creamy. Add 2 eggs and mix. Then just thicken with SR flour bit by bit until the mix will roll into balls without getting your hands gunky.

If you want to turn these into the best peanut butter biscuits ever then just add a big spoonful of peanut butter and a bit more flour and a couple of handfuls of peanuts.

We had lots of eggs because we've been sick and off our tucker so I made a big zucchini slice too. It felt good to be back pottering around in the kitchen.  I think Spring must be getting to me as I even cleaned the kitchen and wiped down tiles and cupboards!

My garden is looking magnificent. All of the bare rooted roses I planted last year have come into their own and are flowering beautifully.  I do so love my David Austens.

We've lost quite a few of the shrub natives in the wet last year so I have replanted some and it is delightful to see the little honeyeaters discovering them.  We've had so many of the little green and yellow friends this year with not so many fairy wrens.  I may need to fix that with a few fuschias.

Being sick has made me think a lot about home comforts and comfort food.  I find that I am not really a materialistic person (flash cars and money don't do it for me) but I do really love sweet, simple things.  When I am sick nothing tastes better than tea in the mug from Nanny's house.  My morning toast is always nicer on a fine china plate and when it is buttered with a silver handled butter knife.  I have told you about my little blue jug collection? Roses always seem rosier in a blue jug.

When my throat was really sore I craved rice pudding and scotch finger biscuits.  That is really much more an emotional response to food than anything else.  I wonder why some foods and objects can trigger that sort of response in us?

Thankfully a new load of book arrived yesterday to cheer me up.  I love these Gail Pan ones - can't wait to get started on a few Christmas gifts out of these when I am feeling better.

I am still knit, knit, knitting on a test cardigan for me in a lovely Spring green. I can't wait for it to be finished. I am so much better at lots of little projects than one big one!

fingers crossed Hannah and I get the all clear tomorrow.
Keep smiling,

Taking Stock: December

Well hello there,
It has been a while hasn't it?
Life got a bit crazy there for a bit but we can finally see the holidays in sight now!
Time to take stock - December already and Little Miss Sassy Pants reminded me today that it is only 8 sleeps till Christmas! Sheesh! Not sure how that happened and feeling quite ill prepared but oh well, what can you do?

Making : fingerless mitts for Hannah
Cooking : apricots and vanilla bean for apricot crumble
Drinking : water, lots of water (and now a ginger and vodka drink that my hubby just handed me)
Reading: the last of the Outlander books
Next read:whatever the library throws at me this week
Wanting:to start my holidays
Looking:at the lovely blanket on Attic 24s blog and wondering if I really need another project?
Playing:fetch with the neighbour's dog (we are dog and cat sitting until just before Christmas)
Deciding: to be a better house keeper in 2018
Wishing:the cleaning fairy would visit
Enjoying:the smell of the roast and the apricots
Waiting:for holidays to start in ernest
Liking: the thought of some chill out time this week
Wondering: how we are going to go with the teen years
Loving:the summer heat and sunshine
Pondering:how miscommunication happens and how easy it is for events to change when it does
Considering: a major declutter
Buying:Christmas presents on line
Watching:Outlander, and A Place to Call Home
Next watch: a Downton binge
Hoping: for a few surprises for Christmas
Marvelling: at how quickly the year has flown
Cringing: at how sunburnt Hannah is
Questioning:my parenting skills
Smelling: old dog and apricots
Wearing: a light summer dress (from Karma East - love!) and flip flops
Following: ravelry giftalong threads
Noticing: how tall my kiddos are all getting
Knowing:the holidays will zoom just as quickly as the rest of the year
Thinking: about future craft projects
Sorting: nothing - feels like EVERYTHING needs sorting
Getting: bitten by mozzies
Bookmarking: felt ornament projects
Coveting: Jude's beautiful spring moss green dyed wool
Disliking: teenaged attitude and kids that don't tell the truth
Opening:lots of cheese and crackers
Giggling: over Maddie's wittiness
Feeling: emotionally and physically drained and ready for the holidays
Snacking: on cheese and crackers and Christmas ham
Hearing: the sound of birds twittering outside - so many honeyeaters this year!

I will be back more regularly now that I have time and want to commit to at least one non CTMH post each month next year along with the Blog Hops.
Until next time,
Keep smiling,

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Through the Year SOM Blog Hop

Welcome to another Australasian Stamp of the Month Blog Hop.  Did you arrive here from Doreen's Blog?

This stamp set is so versatile and fun.  I am finding that the longer I scrapbook the less likely I am to put the exact date a photo was taken on my page.  In fact, my favourite pages sometimes have photos taken from lots of different dates, or from several occasions over the month.  That is why I think the "Through the Year" Stamp of the Month is going to get a real workout in this house.  I also love that the icons and the month titles are separate so we can match the icons up to our Australian seasons - sunny January and autumnal April. 

Unfortunately, for the last few years, the end of October, start of November have been totally crazy for me and not a lot of crafting time so my samples for how to use this one are a bit rushed.  I can totally see me creating a simple border and month title for a double page layout for each month of the 2018 year but it was never going to happen this week so I am sharing February, December and April with you!
Yep, bringing back the border again! I used Tangerine cardstock and 3 different shades of Autumnal ink.

Although you can't see it, I have raised up the red hearts with some of our foam tape (which I just seem to chew through - I love the stuff!)  I coloured the hearts with our shinhan Carmine marker. By the way, that little heart at the bottom of the "February" which you think is a design feature..covering a big splodge of ink - do not EVER feel like your pages need to be perfect.  Stamping can be a messy business and it is easy to fix mistakes.

If this layout looks familiar it is because it is from the Adventure Fundamentals Workshop handout. This is layout 1 using Beary Merry paper.  I really love the script that CTMH have used for our Month titles.

I've also used this stamp to make a couple of cute Christmas cards using some Beary Christmas scraps.  The little motifs work beautifully for all over random stamping.

Both of these cards make use of small scraps of paper and the cheery little "M" sized stamp sets which are a quick and affordable option for everyone.

Of course the main reason you need this stamp this month is the beautiful "Through the Year" calendar kits Close to My Heart have put together for us.  Who do you know that needs a personalised calendar with photos of their loved ones for 2018?  This is my husband's favourite gift each year - he loves to hang his at work so he can show off our three beautiful children (and being a family business, clients and staff have watched my children grow through the calendar pages since they were babies!)  To order your kit contact your consultant, or if you are one of my customers shop for it here:

I have only completed the first page so far but I think my husband is going to love my January page!

The great thing about this kit is that you can personalise it any way you like.  I made the stars drift down from the top of the page to the bottom.  If you are a person who likes to follow instructions then you just cut all of the included papers exactly the way they show you.  If (like me) you have trouble following instructions then just mix and match everything in the pack to make your own unique pages. 

So how will you use this stamp?
What gifts could you create with it?
How could you use those cute little icons?
For more wonderful ways to use this stamp head over toVandra's Blog
And until next time, may you carve out a space for scrapping in your busy, busy lives.
Keep smiling,

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Punny Pals Blog Hop

Welcome to our Punny Pals Blog Hop.  Did you arrive here from my clever friend Doreen's Blog? We have an extra hop this month because it is Operation Smile Month and Punny Pals (D1751) is our Operation Smile stamp. It retails at $27 with the profits going to benefit Operation Smile.  It is as cute as can be and so versatile for making all sorts of cards and pages.  Consider using any of these critters with the santa hat from the Beary Christmas Scrapbooking stamp to make your Christmas cards unique (see my little bear card in the Beary Christmas Blog Hop).  I will personally use the dog and rabbit on pages for my pets and I have used the cat stamp to make a birthday card for a cat-loving friend.  This stamp makes you feel good every time you use it - because just by purchasing it you have helped to give a child a smile!
How good is that!

For these first two cards I have paired the Punny Pals with some Falling For You paper scraps and the "Stronger Together" Sentiments (C1716)

 This one was just using a spare Cricut cut tag and the Sentiments from our "Birthday Sparkles" stamp (B1537)
 And this one used a piece of scrap card (embossed with our chevron folder) and a cricut cut tag with a "Stronger Together" sentiment
Remember how I said I would use the bunny and the dog on pages? I couldn't resist cutting a "Bunny Love" title with our alphabet thin cuts.  These thin cuts are quite possibly my favourite thing from our Annual catalogue.  They use tiny scraps of paper to make letters whatever colour or size you want!  These make a great host reward (get them for half price!)  I plan to do a "Puppy Love" title at a later date for photos of my son with our labrador.

Well that is it from me this month.
To continue the hop just head over to Maz's Blog and don't forget to join us on the 1st of November for our SOM hop.
Happy Scrapping,

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This is still my blog..

You know I happened to notice, as I prepped for yet another Blog Hop tonight, that this blog has definitely taken a CTMH turn of late.  That is okay, in fact I know it makes quite a lot of people quite happy, but I wanted you to know that this is still my crafty, knitty, chatty, tell about my kids and my life and my messy, messy house place.  I will be back with these kind of posts very soon I promise.  Just as soon as I can get all of this stinking technology to work easily for me.  Right photos on the right devices etc etc.

We have just come back from a glorious 4 days on the Eyre Peninsula.  SO GOOD. I was a grumpy pants and didn't want to go because it felt like there was a gazillion things I could be doing at home (linen cupboard clean out anyone? Any takers for scrubbing the bathroom grout?) and like it would waste (?!?!) a whole week of holidays.  Of course Prince James was right (he usually is although I try not to tell him so too often) and what I actually needed was a whole week just chilling and walking aimlessly on a beach picking up mother of pearl.  We caught fish and I cleaned them and gutted them and filleted them like I have been doing it all my life (funny the things you know how to do but don't do often) and then we ate them freshly pan-fried in salt and pepper and flour and butter and they were so good. So unfishy.  We ate fish and chips on the beach and fed the leftovers to the seagulls. We watched the sun set.  I did a lot of thinking about how I want to carve out moments, even whole days, to recapture that sense of nowhere to be and nothing to do as we plummet pellmell into a crazy term 4.  I knitted A LOT, and I handwrote some cards (which is something I never do but really like to do) and I did so much daydreaming and thinking of projects.  A lot of the photos of Port Lincoln ended up on Instagram.  When I can get them off my phone I will try to add them here.

Anyhow, it is late and I digress.  Just wanted to let you know that I am aware of the lack of knitterly/bakerly/crafterly photos and posts and will remedy it sometime soon!
Spring has totally Sprung here - blossom everywhere and my roses are all budding beautifully.  I did a bit of a front step makeover - love to sit on this chair for  a quick cuppa and listen to the birdsong.  Happy, Happy Spring!
Keep smiling,

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Beary Christmas Australasian Blog Hop

Oh I love this one! Welcome to our Australasian Blog Hop for the first of our two Christmas ranges, "Beary Christmas".  Did you arrive here from Shaunna's Blog? I hope you are enjoying the hop. Just continue the blog hop by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

 As a self confessed teddy bear lover I really, really like this paper collection.  The stamp set is adorable - a reindeer, the sweetest little bear and a cute Christmas fox.
I love the feature paper of poinsettias on one side (very traditional Christmas) and that dopey little bear on the other!

Now, I think this is the perfect pack to make quick easy Christmas cards so that is what I will be using the PML pieces for, BUT, this pack also has some paper that works with non Christmas subjects! For the title page for my daughter's 2017 album I have paired the beautiful glacier ombre paper with some Bashful and Pixie cardstock and some glitter trim.  I used our shimmer brush to give the stars and the "Happy" from the Beary Christmas complements pack a quick sparkle and then finished off with some silver glitter dots also from the Beary Christmas range.  Not a bear or anything Christmas in sight!

Then it was onto some easy Christmas cards:
Puny Pals Bear coloured using Shinhan markers then the hat is cut from the Bear in the Beary Christmas Cardmaking Stamp. The red glitter lights are from the Beary Christmas complements

PML paper trimmed and torn at the bottom and then bear and fox cut and coloured from the same stamp set. Red dots are the Beary Merry Dots included in the Workshop Your Way pack.

Ho Ho Ho and green stars cut from the PML sheet. Bear from the Beary Christmas complements. Glitter dots from the Beary Christmas dots.

PML sheet trimmed down. Fern holly leaves free cut from a scrap of cardstock. Red dots from the Beary Christmas Dots.  This card is seriously the quickest card you will ever make.

I really wanted to show you our beautiful stamp "Stronger Together Sentiments" C1716 made to support the Red Cross efforts for the recent natural disasters in the U.S.  The profits from this $21 stamp set will go directly to the Red Cross to support relief efforts.  You can purchase it from your consultant (or if you don't have a consultant feel free to order with me )  This stamp set features 8 sentiments designed to uplift and inspire.  I have used one of the sentiments with the aqua snow spot from the Beary Christmas PML sheet.  Paired with silver glitter trim and some torn bashful cardstock, this card is sweet and simple.

And just to prove that this pack is not all about cards - this layout is all ready for my 2018 Christmas photos.  Notice how I have left plenty of space so that I can fit lots of photos!  And yes, you might have guessed, this is another "Bring back the border" page. This time I just cut a 1/2" off the end of the poinsettia paper so that it is framed by the lighter side of the lagoon cardstock - and a note on that.. I really BADLY wanted to use Glacier cardstock for this but I was waiting on an order (I know - crazy to run out of one of my favourite colours!)  This would have been too in your face with our standard Lagoon cardstock but now that all of our cardstock is two toned I turned the pages over to the lighter side and voila!

That is it from me right now. We are off to the Eyre Peninsula on a road trip (more memories to scrap when I return!)  Now head over to see what Doris has been creating!
Until next time,
Keep smiling,

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Australasian Blog Hop - Christmas Tunes Stamp of the Month

Hello and welcome to our Australasian Blog Hop for October.  Did you arrive here from Doreen's lovely blog?  This month we feature the beautiful Christmas Tunes Stamp of the Month.  As usual this stamp is available for $7.50 with a $75 order this month only.

Whilst I can see this stamp making easy Christmas cards, it will also work really well for Christmas themed pages (and I also cut the "Baby it is cold outside" sentiment from the inside of the snow globe so that I can use the sentiment on Winter pages and the snow globe with other stamps inside it!)

I really had fun using this stamp with our new Christmas ranges.

First up is a little card with Ruby card stock and ink and a bit of red glitter ribbon. The heart paper is from the Silver and Gold Workshop Your Way.

For the next card I again used Ruby cardstock but paired it with the grey from out of the Silver and Gold Workshop Your Way.  I cut the "falalalala" out of the inside of the PML card which then became the grey and white border.  I added a 1/4 inch strip of silver paper to the bottom of the white card and  I used memento black ink to stamp the snow globe (with the sentiment cut out of it) and the little bear which is my favourite from the Beary Christmas Scrapbooking stamp set (Z4047)  A spot of carmine Shinhan marker on his nose, the bauble and the hat was all that was needed to complete this little card.  I love it! Perfect for a fellow teddy bear lover!

My last project was again working on the back log of Christmas photos from last year.  I used the SOM bauble with the Silver and Gold Cardmaking Holiday stamps (C1689) to create my baubles along the top with Willow and Ruby ink.  A cricut cut tree and a few silver sequins just finished off the look with a banner (which incidently was in my scraps box left over from cutting the "Christmas" thincuts for card buffet last year!)  Don't be afraid to use your scraps to best advantage.  I try to put any usable scraps in one of our large organisers (with the compartments removed) and then anytime I have a bit of spare time I sit and play just with the scraps.  I love to feel like I am getting something from nothing and creating with old scraps mixed with new product is my very favourite way to work!

I think you will really enjoy this stamp and it works so well with other Christmas stamps and papers in our range.

So that is it from me.  I love to read your comments (and have especially enjoyed the comments being left by our American friends on the last few hops!) Please click on Rachel's blog to continue the hop.
Until next time,
Keep smiling,

Friday, September 15, 2017

Australasian Blog Hop - Cats and Bats

Welcome to the Australasian Blog Hop for September.  This month we could choose to focus on either "Cats and Bats" or "Falling For You".  Hello to those who arrived from Doreen's Blog and also to regular readers and new readers!

Now I am not big on Halloween.  I don't personally like ooky spooky things and I just honestly feel like there is nothing Australian about it - we don't need to borrow someone else's celebration, so I was really glad to see that "Cats and Bats" can also work really well for non-Halloween subjects.  It worked well for my son's October birthday and also exceptionally well for school themed photos.

One thing I was really happy about is how well it works with Willow and Emerald cardstock (I may have over-ordered those two colours at some point LOL)

I even found that the compliments could be easily tweaked to suit my purposes.  Did you notice how I turned "Halloween" into "Hello Ten"?  I think my favourite thing about this pack was those glittery black stars - so many of them and they work on just about any page!

I also really wanted to play with our new Make It From Your Heart Volume 3 so you might find that patterns 29 and 30 look familiar?

So now on to Kara's Blog
Thanks for reading!
Keep smiling,

p.s. I do plan to play with Falling for You before my workshops next month so check back later this month for a blog post featuring it!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Australasian Blog Hop September SOM: Feel So Blessed

September already!!! How did that happen? If you have arrived here from my lovely friend Doreen's Blog then welcome to the Blog Hop! A big hello and welcome to my regular readers too.  Just keep clicking the link at the bottom of each post to go right around and check out all of the ideas using our "Feel So Blessed" stamp of the month.
I really, really like this stamp.  One of the most important lessons I am trying to teach my kids is gratitude.  I appreciate how blessed my life is and I want that sense to come across in my albums.  I also think it is super important to have a stash of thank you cards on hand - I try to get my kids to use them as often as I can!  This month I was playing with our new Fundamentals - especially the Basics and Adventure papers.  I also used our new Cricut Cartridge "You are Here" to cut my page titles.
Used: Adventure Fundamentals, Basics Fundamentals, charcoal and glacier inks and a sticker from the old All Together Compliments

Used Adventure Fundamentals and Compliments, Whimsy Fundamentals, My Boy Compliments, All Together compliments, Charcoal and Glacier inks

Used White Daisy cardstock cricut cut daisy, All together Complements, Basics Fundamentals and Adventure Fundamentals, Charcoal ink

Used: Pomegranate cardstock, Whimsy Fundamentals, White Daisy cardstock, Whisper cardstock (cut with our new Cricut Cartridge "You are Here")
Just a note about this page.  I recently found a box of unscrapped photos in the shed - I am having lots of fun pulling photos out and using them to make non-chronological pages that share a story or sentiment rather than a specific date or place in time.  Stacey Julian helped me to overcome the idea that my albums have to be in perfect chronological order.  She also helped me to realise that "done is better than perfect" That top photo of us as kids is hiding a botched stamped arrow LOL.  I am very much looking forward to Stacey's partnership with Close to My Heart as I love her emphasis on telling the stories that matter.  Originally I didn't scrap this photo of my brother and I because it wasn't a good shot of us but when I found it I realised how few photos I have of just him and I together.  It made me think differently about scrapping it.  What stories are you yet to add to your albums?

Used: Basics Fundamentals and Adventure Complements, Charcoal ink, Cricut cartridge "You are Here" for title and date banner, Whimsy Fundamentals, Lagoon cardstock, Whisper cardstock, black journalling pen
Used: Adventure and Basics Fundamentals and Complements, Charcoal ink

I hope you can use this stamp to recognise some of the things in your own life to be grateful for, and to maybe pass on some of your gratitude to others.

That is it from me.  Now check out Megan's Blog for more great ideas.
Keep smiling,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August Blog Hop - Jack

Welcome to this month's Australasian Blog Hop featuring the "Jack" paper collection.  Just click on Megan's Blog to go backwards and the one at the bottom of the page to continue around on the blog hop.

This pack is the most masculine of our paper suites in the Seasonal Expressions.  It is perfect for camping, bushwalking, scenic shots and bonfires but it also works brilliantly for Christmas.

I want to share a page layout with you. I created this for our SA consultant group a couple of months ago and have been getting lots of mileage out of it every since!

Jack Double Layout

You will need:
2 sheets of cardstock for background (I used Sweet Leaf)
2 sheets of White Daisy
I sheet of Jack B and T (I used the tree paper)
1 sheet of cardstock for mats (I used Cocoa but you could use the new Espresso)
Juniper, Ruby and Cocoa or Espresso inks
The Jack Cardmaking Stamp
Journal box/PML card (I used the juniper one from the Jack paper)
Storybook Alphabet July SOM or other suitable letter stamp for title

Cut the white daisy card to 11x11 ½ “
Adhere it to your background paper as shown.
Cut the B and T paper into two 3” strips
Cut the cocoa into four ½” strips and then cut the remainder into two photo mats 6 ¼ x 4 ¼ and one mat 5 ¼ by 7 ¼ “  Assemble layout as shown.  Stamp a sentiment/title onto the PML card using cocoa ink

Stamp the bear and two arms onto a scrap of cardstock. Then stamp 1 juniper hat and 1 ruby heart onto the leftover strip of white daisy.  Fussy cut out and adhere to page just above PML card.  Please modify and change according to what you are working with.  This can create beautiful pages using any paper and embellishments.  

Here it is with lots of different options:
Apologies that some photos are sideways - I keep trying to find out how to fix this but to no avail? Please leave me a comment if you can help - it doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason why some go sideways and some don't as they are all taken the same way!

I just love that tree paper!

It will work with any type of paper, I know we are focussing on Jack but how cute is it using up old scraps?

I love the style of the Jack Complements. They also match perfectly with the stamps from our new Travel themed Cricut Cartridge.

If you love "Jack" then you really need to get in and contact your consultant (or if you don't have a consultant you can order online from me here ) as this will be gone by the end of the month!
That is it from me this month, pop over to Vandra's Blog to continue the hop!