Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
I am falling off the grid for a while and may or may not be back just before New Years.
Christmas is a time for family.  Enjoy your loved ones and stay safe. xxx

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Fun with CTMH

I have been playing with the Brushed Workshop on the Go pack in preparation for tomorrow's workshop.  I love the sayings in this stamp set (I can see it getting a LOT of use!)  Maddie had fun getting inky with me too and I had to laugh when I was getting her all set up to stamp because she said "Yes Mum, you better set me up with a stamping station".  Later on she asked me for a "one inch block because this stamp is soooo little!"  She just cracks me up.  Too grown up for words sometimes!
This first layout is straight out of the Workshop on the Go kit and the second is an adaptation from the Make it From Your Heart Book Volume 2 Pattern 2.  This book is so good for when you need a bit of inspiration, and a total bargain at only $10.

I also finished off Seb's little bear to go with his cardi set.  It was from out of the Better Homes and Gardens Knitting Book.  Very easy and quick and a great stash buster for leftovers (the cream wool is 2 strands of 4 ply left over from Hannah's baby layette!) so I think I might be making a few more of these when I no longer have knitting deadlines LOL  Making good progress on Maddie's cotton version of the Longfellow Garden Cap Dress - almost up to separating out the sleeves so that will happen tonight I hope.

Happy Friday Folks!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Oh dear! I am failing miserably at my Close To My Heart Friday blogs.  So this one is a day late and last weeks never happened.  I have been playing with the November Stamp of the Month which is a lovely open ended flower design.  This one is very versatile and super user-friendly.
I have also been doing a bit of knitting.  I finished my lace shawl "Nightfall in Paris" which is one of my friend Nim's designs.  Then I finished a test knit hat and a sweet little test knit dress using some of my oldest stashed yarn.  Then today I finished a little cardi set for my friend Lou's newborn son Sebastian.

 Not sure how to link them here but they are all on my ravelry projects page.  One thing I am noticing through my Julie and Julia project is that I do use my craft books (definitely more knitting than sewing ones) but I also use ravelry more - which probably means that I need to limit my craft book collection only to books that I know I will use!
I have been crazy busy at work and next week is set to be a crazy week too so I am already thinking ahead to a simpler 2015!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Feeling the Close To My Heart Love

Last weekend I went to the first ever Close to My Heart Australasia Convention in beautiful Brisbane.  Many of you know what a struggle it has been for me to lose my Creative Memories business in such an unexpected way last year, and how hard it has been for me to truly embrace everything that Close to My Heart has to offer. Well last weekend changed that.  We were surprised by a visit from Close to My Heart's founder Jeanette Lynton.  Jeanette has not been in the best of health for a few years and I can only imagine the enormous courage it took to fly all this way to talk to Australian consultants.  She was joined by Brian Holman and Monica Whongi and our own Australian boss Brian O'Callaghan, who is one of the most humble, and genuine men I have ever met.

All weekend we were showered with new product and pressies.  The pace was unhurried and pleasant with lots of time for networking and catching up with consultant friends from all over Australia.  We participated in a papercraft swap (so I came home with lots of amazing cards and tags!) The feeling was one of comeraderie, friendship, support and gratitude.  I felt at home, and like I really have managed the change, and lived to be stronger, and in a better place.  At last now I can say that if someone offered me my old Creative Memories business back I would say no.  I am happy where I am.

Along with all of the fun of convention there was a training component and one of the things that came out of that is the realisation that I am not using this blog effectively.  It has always been a "craft" and family blog and I don't want to change that, but I do also want my customers to feel that this blog is of use to them, which is why now every Friday you can be guaranteed a Close To My Heart related post.  The usual stuff will still be posted whenever, but I will make Friday's post related to all things papercraft and memory keeping.
One of the big surprises of Convention was that my amazing team won 2nd in sales for the small team category!!!  How proud I am of this truly awesome group of girls!

A sneak peek and a play with new product from the Seasonal expressions catalogue as well as a nifty techniques book that we completed on the weekend.

And of course, since I've been back it has been a busy week of kindy and I haven't had a chance to get crafty at all.  Tomorrow is my Saturday workshop so here is a pic of the Stamp of the Month display:

Until next Friday, happy papercrafting!
Nell xxx

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Crafty Spring Days

Today I unexpectedly hosted my quilting group.  It was a good opportunity to clean up my workshop room (after a big inspired scrapping session last night you couldn't even see the table!)  Anyhow, it was a lovely Spring Day and I brought a little posy indoors:
One of the unexpected joys of having sewing here was that I could use my sewing machine (there are too many of us to fit machines at Christine's) so I got to finish this for Hannah for Christmas.  It will be filled with little bits and bobs for her embroidery.
Project is "Patchwork pouch" from
Then I got daring and cut this long piece of experimental weaving up and zig zagged it to make a bath mat which was edged with leftover binding.  A very satisfying project as most of the wool came from Ingrid's great destashification at Kathy's retreat last year.  This really was a "something from nothing" project and I love how it turned out.  Now I am kind of itching to go and buy new blue and green towels!
Being able to sew lengths of weaving together opens up a whole new world - I am no longer restricted to scarves!
After the girls went home I sewed in the ends on Evie's ear flap hat so I can get these in the mail to Ness this week.
I think there might be one of these for each of my kiddos in their stockings this year as Hannah and Maddie both loved them.

So all in all, a very productive day here.  Now I want to cast on an evening shawl in this beautiful "Paris" polwarth/silk/glitz blend.
Happy Spring crafting!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Taking Stock: October

Time to take stock again - it seems to be a bit of a school holidays habit!
Making : lots of little crafty messes
Cooking : easy diet friendly stir fries
Drinking : water, trying hard to get into the habit of drinking lots more water each day
Reading: Alexander Mcall (more of the No 1 Detective Agency series) and about to reread "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" which I just love so much!
Wanting: school holidays to last longer
Looking: at nature playgrounds on pinterest and so many knitted/crocheted projects on ravelry
Playing: with texture (fibre/yarn) and colour (patchwork and scrapping)
Deciding: to clean off the top of the kitchen bench and try to keep it clean (our pool table has been clutter free for over a month so I know it is doable!)
Wishing: for a peaceful world
Enjoying: reruns of Seinfeld, cups of tea (especially T2 chai teabags), hugs with my kidlets
Waiting: to squish nieces and nephews at Christmas time (can you believe it is only 10 weeks away!!)
Liking: my ipod on shuffle, my husband on holidays, clothes drying in the sunshine
Wondering: if I can possibly knit this yummy handspun 4ply into an evening shawl before CTMH conference?
Loving: having my kidlets around, cruisy and happy and in holiday mode
Pondering: nothing too deep and meaningful - most often "what should we have for dinner?"
Considering: how to simplify both Christmas and my life in 2015
Watching: butterflies dance in the front garden, roses bloom in the back garden
Hoping: the sunshine holds, the diet sticks, the kids sleep in
Marvelling: at the beauty of spring and at how good spring makes me feel
Needing: extra hugs from my kids, especially my almost school-girl (so not ready for that to happen!)
Smelling: jasmine by the front door
Wearing: tights and big black boots and skivvies with dresses over the top
Following: pinterest boards and yummy blogs and way too much time on rav
Noticing: how tall they are getting - all of a sudden sleeves and pants legs are shorter and there is less room with all three of them on the couch, how much our lovely old dog is slowing down
Knowing: that kids grow up even when you don't want them too, and that we are lucky to be blessed with happy healthy kids 
Thinking: how truly blessed my life is (found a red and aqua sign today that says "Life is Wonderful" and I had to have it for my happy place)
Admiring: my clever friends; Helena who spins incredibly fine, Nim who makes up exquisite lace designs in her head, Katie who just won Early Childhood Teacher of the Year here in SA, Nic who seems to have 4 children AND a clean house
Sorting: Maddie's clothes, old cm clutter, fabric for library bags
Buying: Christmas presents (got quite a dent in the Christmas shopping today - determined to keep it real this year with the saying "Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read")
Getting: tired of the clutter and the excess and feeling like it is time to purge and simplify
Bookmarking: my novel using the cute little tag that Amy and Luke gave me for my birthday a few years ago ( it is red and white spots and aqua and I love it!)
Disliking: the uneasy situation in the Middle East, the million annoying appointments like new tyres and new brakes and dentists etc that are taking over my holidays
Opening: junk mail (spotlight catalogue) and my CTMH order
Giggling: over Maddie's antics with her hobby horse, and Dan's crazy sense of humour
Feeling: loved and happy
Snacking: on pecan nuts
Wishing: this happy holiday feeling could last through term time
Helping: kids cook

Loving Life in general

With thanks to Pip over at for letting me borrow her list.  If you are here and lurking I haven't heard from anyone in a while.  It would be nice to know you are still lurking here.
Happy Spring!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spring! And Busy stuff!

For end of term we took the kindy kids to the Botanic Gardens.  It was a perfect 26 degrees Spring Day and the gardens were just beautiful.  There was blossom to smell
There were places to hide

 Water to play in
Things to build
And the new Wetlands centre to explore.
Our Kindy is all about getting kids outdoors and reconnecting with Nature so we were very excited to see this project completed.  You can follow our outdoor experiences at 

And now it is sweet, sweet, holidays.  Lots of knitting, crafting, lazing, cooked brekkies, sleep ins, snuggles with the kiddos.
Last Wednesday my lovely friend Rozzie helped me finish off this project from Moda Bakeshop
 I finished my own Meret:
 and then this earflap hat for my bestie's little girl
 Today I hope to finish a cute little test knitted dress pattern and do a bit of spinning.  Happy holidays!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kick the Bucket and Julie and Julia

You could be forgiven for thinking I dropped off the end of the planet.  In actual fact life has just been crazy busy with kindy and that has left little time for crafting or blogging.  I did, in fact, finish 3 big projects in 3 months, as well as a host of other little crafty projects tucked into an hour of knitting at karate, or a few moments stolen while waiting on appointments/kids/etc.  My amazing quilty friends organised a whole weekend of sewing at Port Elliot - it was bliss!  I got soooo much done! So this is the world's ugliest quilt finished:

This will become an 80th birthday present for my Nanny who has Alzheimers and won't even know what day it is :(
Then there was this wall hanging which was started at Jane's Christmas in July Gathering when I was pregnant with Maddie!  I love how this one turned out, especially as I am not a fan of satin stitch.  This is a Leanne Beasley pattern.
The last quilt is Lena's but I do have a small bit of finishing to do on it this morning before I show it off. There was also this little cardigan for baby Mike, the pattern is from Joelle Hoverson's "More Last Minute Knitted Gifts"
 I sent it up to him with a little woodland knitted hat and then this photo showed up on facebook - how cute is he!?!?
 There was also lots of rav pattern knitting - 2 pairs of calypso mitts
 and a Merrit for my friend's birthday:
All three projects were handspun - quick and fulfilling.  I also finished James' Jedd socks for Father's Day.  Then there was some test knitting for this cowl, Cloud 9.  I really like this one and think that both the girls will probably get their own smaller versions for Christmas.  The lace repeat is only about 17 stitches wide and every second row is purl so it is kind of a cheat's lace.   I also have a bit of a think for moss stitch and double moss stitch so that was a win win too!

Next on the to do list are a couple of bigger projects for me (Paris Cardi and a green cardi) and a couple of hats for Nessie's girls.  Next up for quilting is a Dr Seuss baby quilt for Lou and a bed sized version for Dan.  Luckily, holidays are just around the corner!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Stamp of the Month and some new techniques

I just love this month's Stamp of the Month - so sweet for photos of kids and family and that tree will be awesome for all sorts of photos.
Did you notice the wood grain washi and the wanderful arrows washi on that first one?  I have also been playing with dimensional elements.  While I still wouldn't put them in my album they are great for cards and home decor items:
 This is our dimensional pennant frame - great as a gift for grannies and friends!  The paper roses are cut on the cricut and rolled using a quilling tool.
On the weekend I learnt how to make other flowers from the cricut too: 
I can see this being a great project for gatherings/hands on classes.
I am also exploring with our Shinhan markers - this was my first page using them (and last month's SOM)
Happy scrapping until next time!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August Taking Stock

August is flying by way too fast.  In fact life is flying by way too fast.  So thanks to Pip over at here I am taking stock:
Making : some lifestyle changes (my doctor says I have to)
Cooking : slowcooker meals and quick things from "5 ingredients 10 minutes"
Drinking : Sleepy Time t2 tea (which is working wonders for my insomnia)
Reading: Ghost of Shadows and Fog (a very interesting read)
Knitting: Socks, more socks
Scrapping: Robe Holiday photos
Missing: my grandfather, it has been almost a year but I still think about him every day
Wanting: Chocolate, oh please, chocolate - why can't someone invent a calory free version?
Looking: At the grey hair, laughter lines and forehead wrinkles
Playing: Trucks and roads and mud kitchen recipes with my kindy kids (it makes me happy!)
Deciding: To live a healthier, simpler, less stressful life
Wishing: more people cared about packaging and landfill and what our kids will inherit
Enjoying: snuggles and cuddles with my small girl
Waiting: For Winter to end
Liking: The last few days of sunshine
Wondering: When life will slow down
Loving: stolen crafty moments
Pondering: why no one has invented "healthy" chocolate and why red wine has more calories than white?
Considering: learning to like white wine
Watching: My boy gain confidence and coordination at karate twice a week
Hoping: The cleaning fairy visits my craftroom tonight while I sleep
Marvelling: At how much children still teach me, and surprise me, every day
Needing: Quiet time at home
Smelling: Jurlique Rose hand cream (gifted from a lovely friend) and the blossom tree on the corner of our street
Wearing: My red boots
Following: too many pinterest boards
Noticing: How many people say ugly things to one another
Knowing: How quickly children grow
Thinking: Am I missing too much of it?
Admiring: Bonnie and Camille fabrics (can you ever have enough of Bonnie and Camille?)
Sorting: Nothing - way too busy, but dreaming of sorting scrapping stuff, and kids clothes, and junk from off the pool table
Buying: Copious quantities of carrot and quinoa salad (my new favourite healthy lunch)
Getting: Older and grumpier by the day!
Disliking: Juggling too much stuff
Opening: too many packets of rice crackers? Who eats them all? I swear they just vanish in this house
Giggling: over the silly things my kids do just to make me laugh
Feeling: tired, and blah, and guilty about diet and exercise
Snacking: On Paradise/Heavenly mix and strawberries
Coveting: a long term part time contract at my favourite kindy (not gonna happen unfortunately)
Wishing: it could be simpler
Helping: Organise two conferences
Hearing: My children coughing (go away Winter coughs and colds) the ipod on shuffle (love to be able to craft to such an eclectic mix)
Realizing: this has become quite a negative post when I wasn't meaning it to be.
Thankfully Spring is just around the corner and hopefully it brings with it a bit of breathing space and some happy carefree days with those I love.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mastering the Sock

I have knitted about 8 pairs of socks on circular needles now and every single pattern I have tried has needed tweaking or fudging or frogging, and required some cussing and ripping back and staring cross-eyed at the pattern.  Not anymore.  Enter Cat Bordhi's "Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles" - I have just finished the "Simple Sock" for James, out of the most beautiful "Jedd" colourway from Moseley Park.  This is quite possibly the most perfect bit of knitting I have ever done - no fudging, no cussing.  A joy to knit.  That makes me ridiculously happy.

There has also been a lot of spinning for the Tour De Fleece.
And yesterday I managed to finish quilting the world's ugliest UFO and I will stitch down the binding on it Wednesday night at sewing!

Tomorrow is the very last day of holidays - one more day of sleeping in, cooked brekkies and slow paced days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Favourite Layouts from the Weekend!

We had my "team and friends" CTMH retreat on the weekend.  I managed over 60 pages and these are just a few of the favs:
We have a brand new ideas catalogue out this month so I cannot wait to get my hands on some exciting new goodies!
Happy scrapping!