Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter card

Here is my first card from Costa del North-facing Dinginess. I had to keep taking it out onto the balcony in the wind to see what I was doing.

It's all Basic Grey Wisteria, coloured with Copic markers, an image from the internet and sentiment painstakingly printed off using the apartment complex non-wireless printer. The flowers came from Georgina, the ribbon from my Mum and A, the brad is American Crafts, with Diamond Stickles for a touch of glimmer.

This is for 5 challenges:
Simon Says Stamp (Easter, glimmer)
Colour Create (pastels, Easter/spring)
The Pink Elephant (pastels)
Stampin' for the Weekend (Easter)
Truly Scrumptious (sketch)

Scrap for a Cure

I should have posted this last week, but I've been kind of busy, so apologies to Becky for missing the opportunity to advertise for her. As it happens, she had over 100 people attend, so I don't think my uselessness was missed.

I'm talking about Scrap for a Cure which Becky set up in Illinois, USA in 2006 to raise money for the American Diabetes Association, in memory of her mother. She had just a few people attend to begin with but the numbers grew and this year was a record. There were prizes, food, lots of chat and I think a little crafting went on too! And this year she was kind enough to arrange some "cyber-challenges" on her site for those of us who live too far away to travel there.

I only managed one LO but it covered lots of the challenges, which I was assured was NOT cheating! The photos will look familiar (they're all I have at the moment) and my photo of the LO is rubbish because it was late and the light was bad when I took it.

The challenges I entered were:
- use card-stock only
- orange and bling
- doodle
- stamp something
- movie title

I used only black card-stock with some DCWV blue, some ribbon and rik-rak from my stash, my beloved date stamp, a gold marker and my gold Stickles.

I was going to go for a partner for it, using more photos from the day and entering some of the other challenges, but I ran out of time and steam. Seriously, if you want a REAL challenge, try packing the bare minimum of stuff into a box: black/brown/white/silver/gold markers/Stickles/ink, the dregs from a pack of card-stock and a collection pack (the leftover colours) and see how you get on. No lettering and only some ribbon, 1 pack of small metallic brads and a small pack of flowers. That's it. You're not allowed even to LOOK at the rest of your stash. Go on, I dare you!

I'm working on cards today and my mojo is a little bouncier than it was. We hope to move into our house next week, so once we're settled, it should be back to business as usual.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The great storm

We got an interesting welcome to Western Australia last Monday 22nd March. Storms had been predicted, but we didn't expect anything very exciting after the amazing displays that Singapore produces. Imagine our surprise when the worst storms in 16 years devastated the whole Perth area.

It was the first one at around 2pm which caused the most damage, with hailstones the size of golf balls leaving cars looking like... well, golf balls, and killing and injuring a lot of the endangered black cockatoos. No serious human injuries thank goodness. So we watched that one blow over in about 20 minutes, then a couple of hours later the next wave hit.

This one gave us about 45 minutes of constant lightning and thunder, and dropped 5cm of (mostly horizontal) rain in just half an hour, causing major flooding, and a landslide from Jacob's Ladder (see the day and night photos in the previous post? They were taken from Jacob's Ladder) filled the first 3 storeys of the Adelphi Hotel next door to where we're staying with mud from the hillside. The residents spent the night in the Perth Convention Centre, and one of our blocks was in danger of being evacuated as well. Power was iffy, the basements and restaurant were flooded, and there was a fire engine pumping out the water. We couldn't get out in either direction, we couldn't eat in the restaurant, and ended up eating an interesting meal concocted from the little food we'd bought.

There was a final racket and deluge at 3am, but you could tell its heart was no longer in it by then. Luckily for all concerned.

Here are some links to the landslide at Jacob's Ladder and some photos of the damage around.

Here are some photos that I took of the hail:

And the dark sky:

 And the damage in our basement car park:

Thankfully not ours:

The clean-up is expected to cost A$100 million, with A$78,000 in insurance claims being submitted in the very first day. A few days later it's dried up, but there's a lot of sand, mud and branches about, and many of the poor trees are looking very unhappy. It's going to take a while for Perth to get back to normal.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Some photos of our new home city

Rush hour in Perth

TV dinner!

Perth city view from Kings Park

And by night

The bustle of a Saturday night in Perth centre. Honest.

Queen Mary 2 leaving Fremantle port on her maiden voyage around Australia.

Sailing into the sunset. Isn't it stunning?

Arrived down under

We're finally here. We've bid farewell to our apartment-with-the-view in Singapore for the last time, waved good-bye to our belongings as they went off to the ship in their container, and had final meals with friends we've made. Those weren't to say farewell, they were for au revoir, because you can bet your boots we'll be coming back. Well we have to en-route to the UK, but we hope to visit for a little longer than a stopover.

We've been in serviced accommodation in Perth for 10 days now, and we've had highs of 40*C (104*F) and lows of 14*C (57*F). Now THAT is taking a little getting used to. Even at its hottest, although you feel the sun burning your skin through your clothes, you don't perspire here as you do in Singapore. At 28*C straight out of the shower there, you're needing to towel twice. In Perth the air and the wind is so dry (the last rain was last November!) that everything evaporates instantly. It's thirsty work living here.

It’s pretty too, especially the river and Kings Park. Last weekend we had a Sunday afternoon drive to Cottesloe beach and were surprised to find crazy traffic and hundreds of people with binoculars and cameras all staring down at Fremantle Docks. We listened in on conversations as we walked past people, and finally took a photo of the Docks, zoomed in and found that that enormous cruise ship was the Queen Mary 2, just leaving port. How about that! As we watched her sail literally into the sunset, we spotted a couple of dolphins playing just beyond the wave-line. That made our day.

We've got our internet, PO Box, mobile phones, bank accounts, car rental and our application for a house sorted out. We have to wait for confirmation from the landlord, but as the other applicants have 2 dogs and smoke, we'd be surprised if we lost it. Keeping fingers crossed though! Our possessions have arrived in Fremantle and are going through Customs inspection. We hope to get them by the end of the month, just in time to get everything moved into the house. Let's hope it all dove-tails nicely.

We're finding our way around the city, on foot and using the free CAT buses (Central Area Transit). We've worked out that the sign for Manchester in department stores actually means bathroom and bedroom linen, and that letter boxes are back to red again after Singapore's white ones. Our worries about whether sushi had made it this far south are unfounded - there are sushi bars EVERYWHERE, yay! Daytime TV seems to slide professionally from interview to article to advertisement without leaving the couch, before you've really sussed out what's going on. (I now absolutely NEED a steam-cleaner and some wrinkle-filler...) I haven't found a scrap-booking shop yet, although there are several on the net. Plenty of time for that though!

Having managed to pack a skeleton stash, my crafting has been a non-entity since we arrived here. DH only went back to work on Monday, and what with having appointments most days and needing to go out for meals, there hasn't been much time left. And, (and I know this sounds poncey) the chairs and table in our serviced apartment are the exact height to make my back hurt to the point of insomnia, and no craft challenges are worth that. I'll keep trying (yeah, I know, idiot that I am) but if you don't see any pretties from me for a while, then that's why.

If you've read this far, PLEASE take a minute to stop and leave a comment? I've been feeling as if nobody goes near me unless I join a challenge. I've moved so far away from everything I'm familiar with - it would be nice to know my friends still stop by. THANKS! :-)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Today we fly to Australia!

This is a scheduled post, because this morning at 9:30am we fly to Australia to live in Perth for the next two years.

The temperatures have been up to 35*c for the last few weeks, so I'm not sure how we're going to manage the heat. I'm told it is dry heat which is easier to bear than the humidity that we've been used to in Singapore. But we shall see.

There are no Starbucks in Perth, but I'm sure we'll find new favourite coffee houses, as long as they also do soy hot chocolate! There are LOTS of scrap-booking shops there. Hee hee. Once DH is back at work and we've found our apartment, I'll be investigating these. Market research, you understand. Of course. And I believe the sushi bars will need some checking out too. And the parks, the beaches, the houses... it's exciting!

By now, if everything goes according to plan, the keys will have been handed back to the landlord - thank you Lim! - and we will have bid farewell to Happy Harry 2, Dutch Twinkle, Heffalump Child and the apartment where we have lived for two and a half years. We will have had our final barbecue with DH's work (thanks AC!) and we should have been to the Night Safari and said our goodbyes to the tarsier, the flying squirrels, the sugar gliders and the flying foxes. We will have had our final meal at Carnivore with Lorraine and Colin, and our last sushi at our favourite Yotei restaurant. And I will have said goodbye to everyone at the My Type restaurant who I have spent so much time with over the last few years.

I'd like to thank everyone we've met here for adding to our great Singapore experience during our five years here. I don't think there will be tears. We'll see again the good friends we've made, and although we've loved it here, we're ready to move on. If we had left a year ago, I think it would have been a bigger wrench. But I know I will leave a part of my heart here forever.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

All dressed up

There's a fun and easy challenge at Scrap Whispers this week: "all dressed up" - pretty your page with bows, sparkles - dress it up, maybe scrap photos of you in your Sunday best. If you have children then this will be a breeze.

Except for Christmas which I already scrapped, I couldn't actually remember when we last dressed up! Then it came to me - the day of the two weddings last November. My friend Jenny, the mother of the bride at the Hindu wedding, sent me some really beautiful photos taken by the professional photographer. We were just dressed up, but those vividly dramatic outfits worn by the Indian women were so very bright and colourful that they had to be immortalised!

I bought this peridot green glitter-covered card a while back. I didn't have any use in mind for it, and I knew that it would be a royal nuisance to use because nothing sticks to glitter, and you can't cut it without destroying your blade. But the colour went right through my eyes into my brain, and soothed a sore spot inside me that I hadn't realised I had. Crazy chick that I am, I literally stood there in the shop just drinking it in and feeling good! Then into the basket it went.

It was completely perfect for this LO, but oh boy I was right about it being a pig to work with. I'm not going to go into how I got that pocket attached to it, but it was NOT easy. I stamped the orange writing paper with gold to mimic the stunning design on the sari of the lady sitting in the middle of the photo. The gold ribbon is not only another Indian touch, but it covers more attaching evidence.

So do the flowers. They were punched (EK Success punches) and attached individually to look like the garlands of fresh flowers hanging around the bride's and groom's necks. I created my version of the gold dangling jewellery on the bride's head (which I never could remember the word for, and so became rechristened a "doo-dah" much to Jenny's amusement) and hung it from the end of my garland. This also served to hide the ugly piles of grey chairs behind us.

The title was cut using my Silhouette, and finally behind the orange paper there is a pocket which contains the invitation. You can just see the gold thread sticking up above the orange.

No more credits, unless you count the multiple hidden brads and tape, nails, bolts and industrial-strength super-glue... ;-)

Monday, 1 March 2010

The long and the short of it

This week's challenge over at Scrap Whispers is to create a LO with a title of "The long and the short of it". I found that a challenge indeed. I had a pile of ideas, but I didn't like any of them.

Then when I was clearing out for the house move, I found some expired membership cards which had my photo on them, and I was struck by how much my hair has changed in the last 5 years. I had cut it just before I moved out to Singapore, thinking that short hair would be cooler than long. For the record, it is not. The only way to keep cool is to tie hair back off the neck. Well I know that NOW.

The background was done for me with this fun Bo Bunny paper, and I just stuck down the photos and journalled straight onto it. The brown lettering is American Crafts, and the green was cut using my Silhouette in appropriate fonts out of Basic Grey scraps. And that was about it. Having literally dreamed about this LO for days on end, it came together in a couple of hours. Thanks to Monika for keeping me company while she spent most of her night doing an on-line chat-scrap with me!