Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The packaging counts

When we were in Bali, we got the cutest little turtle wooden carving as a present. It's only small - about 2 and a half inches long - and when I unpacked it from the suitcase I couldn't help thinking how much less remarkable it looked wrapped in newspaper than in the shop. I was quite disappointed.

I spent the next few days thinking about boxes. Searched through my little hoard of saved packaging and couldn't find anything that fitted. On Christmas Day my brother gave me a Graphic 45 Renaissance paper stack - yay! thanks bro! - isn't it lovely?

That gave me an idea to add some class to the little gift. I sat on the train and in Starbucks with my little notebook making sketches, designs and plans, to people's great interest.

And when I got home, I made this:

I'm so pleased with it! The little hand-carved turtle suddenly regained his importance.

I'm going to have such fun with those papers. I love how they're perfect for men and they're more grown-up than most of the designs, which of course are intended for scrap-booking photos of children. I think they'll be ideal for scrapping some of my photos of beautiful buildings as well, not to mention the red-green-and-gold potential for Christmas 2010!

Tomorrow (31st December) is our 15th anniversary of meeting, 14th anniversary of getting engaged, and 10th anniversary of when we should have been married. I can't believe how the number of years has suddenly got so high. We haven't decided what we're going to do yet. Hopefully a quiet evening in, which just goes to show that we're getting OLD! (Oh OK then DH, I'M getting old!)

Happy New Year to everyone. Enjoy your celebrations, whatever you do, and I hope that your 2010 is a wonderful one!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Christmas Eve altered item

We just got back from Bali after a few days' pre-Christmas break with my brother. At 3:00am after a 3 hour delay when we finally landed and got through immigration, we were all obviously a little tired and useless. I was amazed when our cases came through first on the conveyor belt - that's never happened before, ever. DH grabbed his, and I stepped forward to get mine, and the lady next to DH pulled it off the conveyor. Oops! Now I must say here, that this has also never happened before. My case is a sludgy greeny brown, just the way I like it, and the complete opposite of all fashions for years.

So I decided that it needed some customisation, so that nobody would ever mistake it for theirs again. :-) Oh the wonderful thing about Stickles, is Stickles are wonderful things! These are my favourites: copper, lime green and diamond.


We're staying up tonight because we're going to midnight mass at the local church. The presents are wrapped and arranged around our beautiful twinkling tree, Christmas breakfast is made, the house is clean (DH took bro off for an afternoon's shopping so I could do housework) and they're now enjoying a Christmas cameo episode of Doctor Who which I'm half-watching while I post.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are and whatever you're doing. Be patient with your families, keep the Christmas goodwill uppermost in your minds, and above all - have a great time! Merry Christmas, one and all!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Published - ScrapJazz Card Sketch Challenge

This is a scheduled post, because my brother is visiting us and we'll be taking him out all over the place.

Back in October I volunteered for a card sketch challenge, which I forgot all about! It was for ScrapJazz and this was the sketch.

Well whether I read the challenge wrongly, or whether I just didn't notice that this sketch has no sides I have no idea. I suppose I saw the line at the top of it, and my brain added the other three in all by itself. Anyway, I made this neat little anniversary card.

I squashed the design into a landscape orientation for added interest. I wanted to have the birds facing each other, but I only had one stamp. I got over this by stamping and embossing onto vellum, then turning it over and stamping and embossing onto the other side so that the image showed through. Not easy actually! But then it just needed tearing into shape, matting, adding ribbon, greeting and the cutest little padlock charm I've seen in a long time, mounting onto Basic Grey Indian Summer paper, et voila - a rich, romantic little number.

Two months later I checked out the ScrapJazz articles as I do periodically, and there was the December 2009 Sketch Challenge. Yay! What a lovely surprise! But I read it through with growing disquiet, because everyone else had cut an oval-shaped card. How embarrassing! Had I overlooked something obvious? I mean I had checked with Louise, the author, whether my contribution was OK, and she replied with a diplomatic "it's great, thanks!"

But no, I rechecked the directions, and nowhere did it say that the card itself had to be shaped. So it's fine really, because a sketch is a sketch is a sketch - you can muck about with it any way you want as long as it's recognisable at the end. Phew.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Published on ScrapJazz - Colour Combo

A while ago now I put together a LO for the ScrapJazz December 2009 Colour Combo Challenge - which of course I couldn't post! But now it has been published, so I can show you the LO.

ScrapJazz have brought out this new colour coordinating tool called Scrap by Color. It's clever - you upload a photo, and it shows you the colours which will go with it the best. To showcase its launch, we were asked to produce a LO based on this colour combination, which is an interesting one.

Well obviously having been given the colours first, I did it the other way round. I chose a photo that I thought would work with those colours and uploaded it into the tool. To my amazement and delight, the colours it suggested were almost exactly right! So the software works backwards too, hehee!

You can see everyone's LOs in the article by clicking on the link at the top of the post. But just in case you're only interested in mine ;-) here it is!

I used scraps for all of this, so I don't know where most of the papers and card-stock came from. The green is from the back of a Hamblys screen print, and the blue is Scenic Route. The sticker lettering came from my local grocery store children's department and from an EK Success kit. I cut the circles using my Cuttlebug and QuicKutz nested circles dies, and used white pen to draw the reflections on the bubbles. The edges were all inked and I doodled around the edges of the "bricks" with gel glitter pens.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Laine's cards

I've been working on Christmas presents this last week, so of course I can't show them to you! Every year I make personalised calendars for DH's and my parents, and I have a couple of other little crafty projects on the go - mini-books for various friends. Maybe after Christmas I'll post them. Also my brother is coming to stay with us this weekend for Christmas, so I've been rushing around getting everything nice for him of course.

The Christmas cards have now been sent (yes, I know it's only the first week of December, but Royal Mail has not exactly proved trustworthy lately, you must admit!) and so I can post some which have gone to people who don't read this blog. Remember I mentioned the Laine's card class? Well here are some of the cute designs that we made.


All are made with Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses papers and chipboard shapes, with ribbons and cord, stamps, ink and card-stock from the class added Stickles of course. Christmas cards like these just aren't complete without a bit of glitter!

This may be the last post for a while now, as things get busy for Christmas. Crafting fun will be sparse until after the holidays, and then we'll be packing up for our Australia move. Enjoy the season, and enjoy the shopping!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Booking Christmas dinner in Singapore

Me: Good afternoon, have you got any places left for your Christmas dinner?
Hotel: Ah yes lah.
Me: Oh good, is there a traditional British turkey dinner?
Hotel: Yes, it is all a seafoot special.
Me: (pause while I work this out) So is it only seafood?
Hotel: Yes lah, seafoot special lah, prown, shreem, smoke sal-mon, crap.
Me: Oh, I don’t think my husband would like that. Will there definitely not be any turkey or other meat at all?
Hotel: There is also a carvery with turkey meats.
Me: Ah! Oh that’s all right then. Can I book two places?
Hotel: Yes lah, wha' time you li'e?
Me: Would 12:30 be OK?
Hotel: Ah you wan' the Champagne Brunch no' the dinner? I thot you set dinner?
Me: The bru….? Oh I see, that’s what it’s called here is it? I’m sorry! Will there be turkey at the brunch?
Hotel: Yes lah.
Me: (triple-checking) So it’s the same menu as the dinner is it?
Hotel: Yes lah.
Me: Fine, can I book two places for the brunch then?
Hotel: Ah no places lef for brunch lah, all fooly book.
Me: Ah, OK then, thanks for your help, goodbye….

Monday, 30 November 2009

A quick BG Christmas card

Now that the bulk of my cards has been completed, I've got time to play with scraps and some Challenges. Well OK, maybe I haven't really got time - the newsletter still has to be composed after all - but I felt like spoiling myself!

I went on a Christmas card-making class at Laine's earlier this month. It was a Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses fest (papers and chipboard shapes) and I've loved working with the delicate blues, greens, pinks and burgundies. We got a bottle of Stickles and turquoise gems included in the price too, and there were a couple of teenaged girls on the course who THREW AWAY their unused ribbon and scraps - so I rescued those out of the bin too! We finished (nearly!) 6 cards at the class, had instructions for 2 more which I made, and I managed another 3 with the leftovers. I still had a small pile after all that, so I used them to make this week's Basic Grey Challenge. I like Tara G's sketches. Some designers' sketches seem to have hundreds of layers, and I end up with a card that is so front-heavy that it keeps falling over. But Tara's aren't like that - they're always so sensibly designed and satisfying to create. See what I mean?

And this is what I did with it. Stuck to it to the letter this time! It also qualifies for Week #31, Fab's sketch challenge.

Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses papers and chipboard shapes
Colorbox Merlot ink
Crystal Stickers by Mark Richards in teal
Stickles "Waterfall"
green card-stock scraps

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Some more Christmas cards

I'm pretty proud of myself at the moment. I've made nearly 40 Christmas cards this week! Of course I'm not going to be able to share them all, but I did make some of them to fit some more of Fab's Big Christmas Cards Challenges.

Week #44 was half patterned, half plain paper.

Week #37 was rectangles and glitter. This card is all rectangles and I love the glitter sticker.

Week #35 was stripes and dots and/or no-fabric ribbon. I didn't do the paper ribbon part, but this gorgeous Indian paper has both stripes and silver glitter dots on it. Sorry about the rubbish photo. My camera really struggles with getting the exposure right on black cards.

Week #30 was cute and square. No problems there for my Studio G stamp and some off-cuts. It's sort of supposed to be a snowflake, but DH couldn't see it. That's OK, it's pretty, cute and square.

And finally Week #27 (I'm working back now - this was July!) was to use rounded corners and/or epoxy stickers. I planned this all on one card, honest, but when I went to check, I'd forgotten to round the corners on every one of the cards with epoxy stickers on. But I did round a lot of corners, so I've done two cards for this challenge and I hope that's sufficient.


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Scrap Whispers Design Team


Ladies and Gentlemen,
I'm delighted to announce that I have been invited to join the Scrap Whispers Design Team! I'm so excited! The next game starts in January, and I'll be heading up one of the teams, as well as hopefully helping to provide some inspiration for the weekly challenges.

You can read all about how the game works here on the Scrap Whispers site. Any of my scrap-booking friends out there who want to join in, please feel free to check out the fun.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Scrap Whispers Big Reveal

The Scrap Whispers autumn 2009 game has finished and the results have been collated. You can see the amazing creativity of each team here:

Team 1
Team 2
Team 3
Team 4
Team 5
Team 6 (I'm in that one!)

Here is the LO that Georgina sent to each team leader:

My team leader Helen then created this and sent it to me. Of course, I didn't see Georgina's original LO:

I kept the colours and the elements overlapping the photo, also the positioning of the background papers and the dates. I moved the photo to the other side, and left out the 3 buttons. I absolutely love this leafy paper and I wish I could find some more but I don't even know who makes it. I got it years ago and it wasn't labelled. The rest of the "recipe" includes Stickles, paper from Kaisercraft and My Mind's Eye, the scallop punch from Martha Stewart, Thickers lettering, and Versamark white and brown ink.

After that my LO went on to Mary and so on.

All we're waiting for now, is to find out which team has won the Challenge!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Fab's Week #46 Challenge

This week we had to stamp a background. I kind of followed the challenge by stamping snowflakes all over my card - I hope it fits the rules!

stamps: Studio G (snowflakes and sentiment) & Hero Arts (owl)
Copic markers
tree paper: BG Eskimo Kisses

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Red and Gold

We've been in Asia for 4 and a half years now, and our friends were rather surprised that we hadn't been to a wedding yet. We've had a couple of invitations but DH has always been away. A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to our first Asian wedding this Saturday, of one of DH's colleagues. It will be a Chinese wedding, in Johor Bahru on the southernmost tip of Peninsula Malaysia, and just over the bridge from Singapore. Obviously some research was in order.

I discovered that black, white and dark blue are not worn at weddings, but my green dress is acceptable. Auspicious colours are red, yellow and gold. For a wedding gift, guests are expected to give money enough to pay for their meal and a bit more. The gift is given in a large red envelope or packet known as hong bao. This wedding will be held at 1pm at a restaurant, which will be a first for me. I mean, I'm used to going to a church or civil ceremony followed by the wedding breakfast at a restaurant, but having the whole ceremony held there will be very interesting. It will end at 4pm. No party, no evening reception. A long way to go for 3 hours, but that will be just about right for us two non-socialites.

Last week DH brought some more news back from work. We had another wedding invitation for a few days before the Chinese wedding. This was Malaysian - well I presumed it was, since the invitation was all in Malay, which kind of didn't help with my research. We didn't go to that one, already having something else on.

Imagine my surprise then, when I got a third invitation, for 7:30pm on the same Saturday! This one is an Indian wedding in Chinatown in Singapore. Yes, I know that sounds completely culturally mixed up, but this temple is famous. I've walked past it a hundred times and I've always wanted to know what it's like inside. The happy couple are the recipients of the scrap-book which I've been working on with the bride's mother since May. I heard so much about the arrangements but it never occurred to me that I may be invited.
Both couples are already married. Here the custom is to have a civil ceremony with just close family, in which they hire the dress, the photographer, the car and the flowers as a package. They travel around being photographed all over the island, or in my scrap-booker friend's daughter's case, New York. Then they have their own ceremony several days or weeks later with the rest of the family and their friends - another dress or two and more flowers.

The Indian wedding preparations are extensive, lavish and even more ceremonial than the wedding itself. Sheila has her bangle ceremony tonight I believe, during which she will be adorned by the family women with coloured glass and metal bangles all with special meanings like blessings, fertility and warding off evil. She will then not be allowed to do any housework until her wedding day, in case she breaks them which would be bad luck. She will have an odd number of bangles in total; an even number on one arm and an odd number on the other, because the Indian belief is that odd numbers are auspicious.

It's going to be a busy day. You can be sure that my camera will be on charge with spare battery and SD card to hand. Right now I'm waiting for the rain to stop so I can go out and get the hong bao and the crisp new notes from the bank. Meanwhile I can show you the cards I've made for both couples, because I know I won't have another chance to post for a few days.

Card blanks: gold from Lavender Crafts, red from Paperchase
Indian paper in gold and cream from Hobbycraft
ribbon from Daiso
Bo Bunny heart paper
Bella chipboard letters
gold embossing powder from stash
QuicKutz nested circles used with Cuttlebug to make the rings

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Working through Fab's challenges

I've been following Fab's Big Christmas Cards Challenges since I discovered the site only at the back end of September. I haven't been very good at doing the Challenges when they were due, or in the right order, but I have been plugging away at them.

For Week #33 I made this shaped card from the Let's Make Cards magazine kit from last year.

For Week #34 I followed Fab's links and did two poinsettia cards from the print-outs

Week #29 I didn't have any peel-offs, but I managed a star card.

For Week #41 I made a card with baubles.

For Week #38 I made this non-conventional Christmas card showing a window.

That's all for now. More to come!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

We're going to Oz!

Just to let you know that the decision has been made! We're off to Australia on a 2-year contract in January 2010. I'll post more details as they come, but for now let me just say that I'm excited!

Back in sunny Singapore

I got back to Singapore late Friday night, after about 2 hours' sleep on the flight. This was mainly thanks to two Dutch women behind me who decided that it was acceptable to hoot loudly at each other from 4 seats apart, while everyone else was trying to sleep all "night" until what would have been 5am. My own ear-plugs just weren't man enough for the job.

It wasn't only their fault. I'd chosen a seat on the aisle with an empty place behind me, so that I wouldn't get kicked from behind. It worked fine on the Air France flight on the way to Europe, but somehow on the way back with KLM, everyone thought it was OK to use the back of my seat as an arm-rest on their way past - even the staff with their trolleys. Ah well, you live and learn. It's Sunday now and I think I've almost caught up on my sleep now, despite Heffalump Child doing her darnedest to prevent me. Even DH got cross and yelled at her earlier on, but that "sound rises" rule that we learned in Physics lessons doesn't seem to work here.

I had a fantastic time in the UK, and a big THANK YOU to everyone whose beds I slept in, whose food I enjoyed, and who politely tried some of my flax bread and valiantly munched through my other cooking. Also to those who kindly made time to meet me at closed coffee shops, in draughty London squares, and at our overgrown, cold, damp house.

We even had a dear little thunderstorm in England, just to make me feel "at home". Well OK, there was one lightning flash and a gentle rumble quite a long time afterwards, but it did its best, bless it. DH promised me some thunder when I got back, because he's been working with ear-muffs in a swamp for the last fortnight, but I think I've frightened the fun weather away because it's been hot, hot, hot since I got back. I'll keep waiting.

I managed a little crafting while I was away. As well as my crop with Kelly and Georgina, I found myself with one evening free to catch my breath on my west country leg. I spent it in my hotel room with the TV showing some good old British comedy, while I put on my sloppy joes and spread out my crafting stuff all over the bed and made 8 Christmas cards.

I also made some thank you cards while I was at my Mum's, for some of the dear people who were so kind to me. I've left them with my Mum to post, once Royal Mail have cleared the backlog from their random strikes over pay and working conditions. I used my Scrap Whispers prize which Georgina gave me at the crop: a Basic Grey Eskimo Kisses Collection kit - perfect for a project whilst travelling. Here are some of them.

Now it's back to normality, laundry and more laundry.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Surfing without a net

I'm just checking in quickly while I'm in a hotel which has internet access.

I got back to Britain, picked up my hire-car and have been whizzing about the country. I began at my Mum's, where I spent the first few days recovering from DH's snot germ which finally battered its way through my defences the night before the flight (sigh). Once I was looking and sounding less like a swine flu risk, I met up with Georgina and Kelly, fellow Jazzers and Scrap Whisperers for the first time. We had the most fun time making cards and chatting, and spending money, and well lots of chatting! I can't beat Georgina's write-up, so have a look at her blog article for photos and more info, including a little video of us all! It was just the best time, and we're going to try and do it every year if we can.

Now I'm in the west country on the second leg of my trip. Yesterday I went to our sparkling new shopping centre to find a Wi-Fi point. Imagine me in my heels and smart trousers and jacket tip-tapping sexily through the trendy local folk with my useful but distinctly un-sexy Kipling laptop back-pack! 95% business girl but spoiling the whole effect with her hiking bag. Ah well.

I found a Starbucks which had a large "free Wi-Fi" sign on the door, and went inside with my laptop to try to get my blog updated and check my e-mail. I had about half an hour - should have been no problem, right? So first of all, I ordered my soy hot chocolate and asked about the free Wi-Fi. Apparently I had to buy (“free” my foot) a Starbucks card, then register it, and then I could access the net.

Well this did not go well. I spent 25 minutes faffing and scratching my head, and my battery failed and I had to pack up everything and go in search of a table with a socket near it, then boot everything up again. I finally managed to navigate through the most complicated login/registration system in the world, and then I had about 2 and a half minutes left to check my e-mail, before I had to go and meet MIL and FIL.

The blog was the casualty, but now I'm sitting in comfort at the window of my converted stable room with the view of a stone wall, some late geraniums and pansies, and through a cast iron gate I can see long-missed trees clothed in their brief autumn splendour. It's all so English and delightful, and right now I want to come home to stay.

I left DH in Singapore with blocked Eustachian tubes and in an additional agony of indecision over 2 job offers: a project in Australia which is a one-off opportunity that he'll never have again, and his dream job back home in the English west country. There are no big pros or cons, the money and job security and excitement level for each is about the same. My poor man is in a position that most people would kill for, and it's eating him up with uncertainty. I'm no help because I'll be happy wherever we are and whatever he chooses. I only want him to be happy, and to be able to work an 8-5 day instead of 5-8. And no I'm not exaggerating.

So to anyone who wants to know what we're doing (house agent, visitors, friends and relatives, and a lot of other people) please continue to be patient with us for just a little longer?

I must go. Got to see a man about a new front drive. And gird my loins (and other parts - armour plating would be good) for tomorrow's onslaught with an extremely excited and boisterous little niece and nephew. I can't wait!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Willow and die cuts

I've been on a roll! Before I started the cleaning, cooking, packing, panicking, making lists etc., I decided I could schedule in half a day's crafting. I managed a LO and the Basic Grey card, and another one for this week's Whiff of Joy challenge, which is to use a die cut as well as a WoJ image.

This one is Willow with hot chocolate. I stamped and coloured her when I was still practising with the Copics and playing with colours and shading. I chose colours for her that I wear myself. It didn't even occur to me that I had NO orange paper whatsoever! I spent a long time choosing paper, and ended up using both sides of this Scenic Route design. The orange thought bubbles were cut using my QuicKutz nested scalloped flowers, a nested circle, and a hole puncher. I had a brain-wave and coloured them orange using the same Copic marker I used for Willow's jumper. Why I didn't think of that before, I don't know!

Basic Grey Challenge

Yes, I know I'm supposed to be packing, cleaning, shopping and doodah but I really didn't want to miss this week's beautiful Basic Grey Challenge sketch by Martine from the Design Team.

As usual, the only rule is to use at least one Basic Grey product, but this week I've gone completely over the top and just dived head-first into my new 30%-off 6"x6" Indian Summer pad. I just couldn't resist the autumn colours, although this selection is from the paler, more subtle pages. The bears image is one I was given a while ago, from Rubber Stampede called Hugs and Hearts, and is stamped in Versafine black ink, and coloured with Copics. The heart punch came from the $2 store. I inked the edges of everything with my current favourite Cosmic Copper Dew Drop which complements those glowing colours so very well.


DH pointed out last night that I haven't updated my blog all week. He's right. I have been crafting, but it's all stuff I can't post yet because it's for secret challenges, or publication, or occasions that haven't happened yet. Give me a few weeks and I'll have a pile I can post.

Also I just got the green light on going back to the UK on home leave, and I suddenly found a million things that have to be done before I go. On Monday. Gulp. Got the flights, got the car booked, got the spare bed strewn with stuff to take. Food - check. Clothes - check. List of things I always take - check. New phone charger added to list - check. Presents for everyone - check. Hang on, except J, need to get to that shop. Oh my goodness, and S! And A too!! Aargh. And the fridge and freezer need filling with food for DH to eat while I'm away (he may be following on but we're not sure yet stuff ...Malaysian-snot-germ-blocked sinuses not good for flying - ouch) AND I really want to get the place clean for him before I go.

I've got 4 days to go, then 2 and a half weeks away. I haven't the faintest idea what craft stuff to bring with me, but I have to take some. My internet time will be limited, so please forgive me if my posts are a little sparse and lacking in pictures. At least I'll have the laptop.

So toodle pip for now, and I hope that my jet-lag and I will be back on here before too long...

Friday, 9 October 2009

Friday Funny

Church Bulletins

Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services.

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

The Rector will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing: 'Break Forth Into Joy.'

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket an d come prepared to sin.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.

The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday : 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours'.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Hallowe'en and a cosy card

I don't do Hallowe'en as it's done these days. In my childhood as a Church of England chorister, that time of year was about the Harvest Festivals, then All Souls' Day, or All Hallows' Eve, followed by All Saints' Day at the end of October. Pagan festivals incorporated into the modern church calendar. And as it was close to Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th, we had bonfires, fireworks, toffee apples and some dressing up all together on the closest Saturday night. And it always, always rained on Bonfire Night.

A few kids - usually the "naughty ones" - dressed up in old sheets and went round knocking on the doors of the houses in their street asking "trick or treat?" If the householder said "treat", the kids got penny sweets or an apple, and if they said "trick", the most they got was an egg thrown at their front door. My friends and I were never allowed to do this, and I can't remember getting many people knocking on our door.

As the years have gone by the season's commercialism has snowballed in the same way it has for Christmas. Fireworks are now seen for weeks before-hand, the shops are full of costumes as soon as the kids go back to school in September, and it's become another reason to keep Hallmark in business.

But the thing that got me the most was when I was back in the UK on a visit last Hallowe'en, and on the Saturday afternoon I happened to be in the little market town where I grew up. I went into the new Starbucks for a hot chocolate, and was served by a young witch with green hair and a beaming smile - and blue teeth - and offered sweets from a barrel by the door. When I came out at about 4 o'clock, the busy high street had turned itself into a school playground in costume.

I had never seen anything like it; hundreds upon hundreds of supervised tinies all carrying buckets, wands, hatchets. There were the expected witches with baby sister as their cutest black cat, fairies, pixies, ghosts, zombies and vampires (lots of those - the first Twilight film was due out). I saw some little round pumpkins that made me wonder whether their waddling gait was caused by their costumes or their nappies. And lots of far more obscure little court jesters, cheeses, bears and Star Wars characters which confused me a bit. Maybe their mums left it a bit late at the costume-hire shops.

They were all having a fantastic time, like an enormous street party. I guessed that they dispersed into the nearby businesses and houses, and suddenly the reason for the barrel of sweets became clear. I watched it all with the amused smile of the foreigner who is witnessing some quaint local custom for the first time. In my home town, after 3 years away, I absolutely felt like a foreigner.

When this October's ScrapJazz card challenge was to make an autumn or Hallowe'en themed card, I could only chose the autumn one. Not having anyone to send a "Boo!" card to. And the Whiff of Joy challenge was to use this sketch:

I really meant to mat everything, honest. But it just looked better with the edges heavily inked instead. And lots of ink colours all blotted together with parts of a stamp around the image. She's "Willow with hot chocolate", stamped with Versafine and coloured with Copics. The flowers are punched with EK Success punches, and there's a liberal sprinkling of my favourite Diamond Stickles. The papers are Basic Grey from the Scarlett's Letter and Lemonade collections. I'll enclose a coffee shop gift voucher when I send it.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Heffalump Child update

I was just asked how things were upstairs, as I hadn't posted lately, so I thought I'd better fill you in.

She's still making her presence very much felt. DH and I were actually speculating only last night whether the new cracks in the plaster were from the earthquakes or from her.

Her latest is massive excitement just as she's about to go out. I think mum puts her shoes on her, and while little brother is having his put on, she celebrates by pretending to be a kangaroo all through the apartment. Then the door slams, rattling our windows, and I hear their progress 19 floors down to the ground floor and out of the complex.

When they get home the process is repeated, when mum is presumably so busy taking little brother's shoes off again, that Heffalump Child is allowed to create a few more ceiling cracks before she's caught.

Last week we had a bad smog which came over quite suddenly. DH rang me wondering whether she had self-combusted from excitement.

The meltdowns are slightly fewer these days, although just as vocal. I'm guessing she was feeling left out after the baby arrived. We may not be here much longer, so thank you Kelly for reminding me to keep my sense of humour with our small neighbour with the big feet.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Two little toots for me

Firstly, last Thursday I clicked on my link for Laine's Papeterie our local Scrap-book shop, and look what I found! My prize-winning Colour Through the Rain LO published on their site! I was walking around with a big grin on my face all day.

Then on Friday Georgina sent me an e-mail reminder to check out the ScrapJazz articles, and there was my WindSpinner LO. Now I knew about this, because G had asked me weeks ago if I would contribute, and of course I agreed, but the time slipped away so quickly and I'd forgotten the publication date. What a nice surprise!

This is an interesting article, because 5 of us had a sketch to use, and mostly we change sketches: rotate them, mirror them, turn them upside-down or otherwise muck about with them. But with this one, everyone has stuck to the original design. Maybe that's because it's quite a specific, detailed design.

So this is a picture-free post, because the links say it all. I'm so chuffed!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Whiff of Joy Winter '09 Stamp collection

A heads-up to my fellow Whiff of Joy fans! Their Winter Stamp Collection for 2009 is now available for pre-order, from October 1st-23rd only. Designed by Elisabeth Bell (who also created my favourite Willow stamp), this collection is kept secret apart from a few sneak previews on the store site. Skate on over and check it out - click HERE!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

World Card-Making Day

...was today. I made 8 more Christmas cards before DH got up. Bless him, he's fighting off a malicious little Malaysian snot germ that he brought back with him, so he needed a good sleep in. After I'd done the cards, I logged in to look at Fab's blog, because I've decided to go back and do as many of his older challenges as I have time to do. Only then did I realise that there were umpteen World Card-Making Day challenges out there that I really should have joined in instead. And of course once DH got up, we had to do non-card stuff. These crafty events always seem to fall on weekends when I have family commitments. Ah well, such is life.

So no pictures today I'm afraid, but the Christmas cards will get posted at some stage, I'm sure. We did get my iPhone fixed, bought some clothes for my Mum, and some magazines and had a steak meal. I think we had a good, productive, earthquake-free day together. Now I'm crossing my fingers, toes (and nose) that we don't end up sharing the snots as well.

Happy World Card-Making Day!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Pause for Thought

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism". All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

(with thanks to April on SJ)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

2 more earthquakes & cards

Scarily enough, today there were 2 more quakes in Sumatra - just a hundred miles from yesterday's quakes and on the land this time, so more damage, more lives lost. The first was magnitude 6.8 and had our TV wobbling, and half an hour later I saw on the USGS web site that there had been another one of 5.0. I didn't actually feel that one, but I was still dizzy from the first one so maybe I was feeling it without realising. I'm still feeling dizzy with it all now, not only because the floor keeps waving around, but also with sympathy for the people of Indonesia who are being hit so hard.

I did 2 more Christmas cards this afternoon after the earthquake drama had subsided. This one is the second card in Fab's Challenge (I've missed the deadline, but never mind - it's another card done) to use the same materials to make another card. I have enough left to make quite a few more, and I will because I'm loving all this green! Can you tell it's my favourite colour? Have you noticed I like owls? ;-)

I'm just looking at the photo now and I've decided it needs some Diamond Stickles. I'll add that later.
Paper - BG as yesterday
Stamps - Hero Arts (owl) and Studio G (snowflakes and greeting)
Ink - Versafine Black and Artnic Green Tea
Copic markers, white gel pen

This one uses some of the same materials. It's for the current challenge from Truly Scrumptious, which is to follow their sketch and to include some doodling. I've doodled with the Lime Stickles - no easy task, I might add! So simple, but I love it.

Papers: BG, Cloud9Design Max's Backyard Collection (the stripes) and a scrap.
Stamp: Inkadinkado (earth bauble), Studio G (greeting)
Ink: Artnic Green Tea, Dew Drop Platinum
And of course the Lime Stickles

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Christmas card and an earthquake

Well it had to happen, didn't it? I've been moaning about the supermarkets selling Christmas cards as soon as the kids go back to school in September for years. I love Christmas, but I find by the time it's arrived I'm completely fed up with it. Nothing can be done to stop the tide however, so as they say, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em". My Christmas card-making began today.

The current Basic Grey Challenge is to use embossing, either heat or dry, along with at least one BG item. And I just found a new blog today which has inspired me: Fab's Big Christmas Cards Challenge and the challenge here is green and more green.

He also suggests making two cards from the same supply of materials, which I had fully intended to do before close-of-play today, but I got interrupted by an earthquake which I suspect is a little more important in the general scheme of things. Honest. Don't believe me? Check the news. I'll wait... Yes, you've got it, that's the one. That 7.6 magnitude quake 53km off the coast of western Indonesia near Padang at 6:20 this afternoon. We felt it in our 19th floor condo in Singapore. The door was swinging, the curtains were swaying, and if it had gone on much longer than about half a minute, I think I might have felt travel-sick. It's the most peculiar feeling.

So Fab, I love your blog and you've completely inspired me to get working on my cards - thank you! I hope you will forgive me for not finishing my second card before the deadline, but I promise I'll finish it and post it tomorrow :-)

This earthquake is on top of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami which caused so much damage in Samoa this morning. And the typhoon Ketsana which has devastated the Philippines, roared through Vietnam and is now battering central Cambodia exactly where we were this time last year. Those poor, poor people.

So now to my card, and I promise it was not designed with any knowledge of today's terrible news. However much we help our human impact on the earth, we can't help the power of the elements. It makes me feel very humble and insignificant. I must add that inside there's a mistletoe stamp and the sentiment "have a merry one". In green, of course!

Patterned paper: Basic Grey Wisteria, Urban Prairie (Hayloft), Sultry (Patina)
Ink: Versacolor/Artnic in Sky Blue, Evergreen and Green Tea, Dew Drops in Galaxy Gold and Bamboo Leaves
Stamp: Inkadinkado (I'm dreaming of a green Christmas) and Stampington (tree)
Embossing powder in Verdigris, gold cord and gold staples from my stash

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


We're up to the letter "E" on the ScrapJazz Challenges. For September we had to create a LO using either ephemera or envelopes. I don't really like using ephemera which may not be acid-free, but the more I thought about it, I realised that the only reason to have an envelope is to put ephemera in! So after all that, I used a leaflet from our New Year celebrations in Hong Kong, and just hoped it isn't too acidic.

I'm not exactly happy with this LO. I couldn't even get it to photograph properly - the pink is actually a plummy kind of purple. Grr. I stamped grasses and flowers which look quite like fireworks as a background for the photos. The journalling is on the back of the "lift" tab, and the outside of the leaflet hangs outside the page protector. One thing I really like is the date stamp on which you can circle the month(s) and date(s).

Friday, 25 September 2009

Friday Funny

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace.

Dr Phil proclaimed:

'The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished.'

So, I looked around our apartment to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving for work this morning I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish cream, a packet of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how good I feel right now!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Cat City

One of September's Challenges on ScrapJazz is to create a page using distressing techniques including tearing, sanding, inking. We also have to use die-cuts too, either pre-cut, or cut using our machines.

Unfortunately my crafting mojo seems to have got a bit cheesed off by the rest of me being poorly, and for the first time in a long time I sat looking at all my pretty things and my photos without having the faintest idea of what to do with them. I thought about the challenges while I was out walking, on the bus and on the train; looking for inspiration in adverts, shops, magazines. I concentrated really hard, noticed a plethora of fascinating things which normally would have had me reaching for pen and notebook and hurrying home. But my poor little imagination just folded its arms, shook its head and told me "nope, not playing".

It's possible that DH's call to tell me he was coming home in a few days gave my mojo the kick up the jacksie that it needed. Or maybe I was just feeling better. Who knows? Whatever the reason, I think it's gradually filtering back. I spent yesterday enjoying my turn at the autumn Scrap Whispers main challenge (which I can't show you yet na-na-ne-na-na :-) but it's gorgeous) and today I couldn't wait to get working on today's candy.

I distressed the edge of the paper with an old emery board, tore the photo corners, and sanded "claw-marks" into the paper. I die-cut the journalling spot and distressed the edge. The arrow is also die-cut and inked. I used my new Basic Grey Lemonade papers and letter stickers

The photos are from our visit to Kuching, where there were cats, both statues and the real thing everywhere. The journalling spot reads "a little bird told me" and the arrow points to a sparrow perched on the bronze back of the cat statue, which tickled our fancy.

Monday, 21 September 2009

SW Challenge #43

Scrap Whispers Challenge #43 was a fun one! We had to choose our favourite digital scrap-booker, and scrap-lift one of their designs. I haven't got a particular favourite digi designer, because I think they're all better than anything I've managed! I chose our very own Lillypond from ScrapJazz. This is her LO Pool Time and this is my paper-and-glue version.

To be honest it's cheating rather, because 99% of that gorgeous design is the Bo Bunny paper. All I did was to cut the photos to fit, cut around the edges of the leaves so that they fitted over the photos, add a stamp and a little journalling, and squidge some lime green Stickles around to match the green in the photos. Oh, and then mount it on a white background. Even the photos were already printed out from another project, and I didn't want to waste them. Ah well. Recycling and saving paper is a good thing!