Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Love is in the air

We have loved going to our local church here. Over the last two years between us we have fixed and re-fixed lights, carpets, painted lavatories, cleaned, produced the weekly service sheet and slides, been secretary for the Parish Council and done 301 sundry tasks around the church, and we've loved almost every moment of it. On Sunday DH and I attended our last service, and we were presented with the most beautiful gifts: an engraved painted Greek icon, and an engraved jarrah wood box, handmade for us by a very special member parishioner, an elderly gentleman who we love dearly. There were tears all round.

I made this card for Des, to thank him for such a very precious memento of our time here. It hardly seems enough, but he will appreciate it.

Basic Grey Challenges: wish on a star (that we will be coming back) using Indian Summer papers
Charisma Cards: love is in the air
Cute Card Thursday: winged things
House Mouse: sugar, spice and all things nice
Sketch Saturday: sketch
Simon Says Stamp: anything goes

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

White on white for mother

Do you remember that blues and browns card I made with the cameo stamp? Well I've made another with a bunch of scraps of white card that I had left over, and it's really effective. It's for Mothers' Day. And for a wonder, the photo has actually come out OK, as my camera usually doesn't like snapping white or black. I just had a closer look at the photo and I'm wishing I'd straightened that lace bow, but never mind, you get the picture.

I'm entering it into these challenges:
Bizzy Becs: all white except image
Creatalicious Challenges: lace
Less Is More: using up scraps

I don't know how much time I'm going to have for crafting from now on. Our move back to the UK is imminent, and as soon as the packing assessment is done it will be "all systems go" and my scrappy travel kit will have to be assembled. How I'm going to live without my Cuttlebug I have no idea! Having said that I'll not have much time or space for crafting when we get back either, as the furniture won't be arriving for another 6-8 weeks, and in that time I have to decorate my new craft room and buy some new furniture for it. Did I mention that the wall of storage cubes that I built out of packing boxes is still going strong? Well OK maybe it's a little saggy, but it's lasted really well for two years. More later....

Friday, 24 February 2012

Scrap Whispers Challenge #121 - paper tearing

How about that for a good challenge at Scrap Whispers this week? Paper tearing. That has so much scope.

As soon as I found this paper in McLaren Vale in South Australia on our wine trip, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I drew the circle with a wet paint brush and let it soak in for a few minutes before I started tearing, and that stopped the tear from straying outside the line I wanted. It also made the paper nice and damp so that it curled nicely. Mostly!

The grape stamped images were actually coloured in with Copic markers as well, because I just couldn't get the coverage on the textured card-stock that I wanted. I added white highlights and Glossy Accents and raised them up on foam tape. The receipt is photocopied and matted on the same toning card-stock, and slides behind the photos. I added eyelets to the Barossa Valley which was cut from a sheet of locations in South Australia. I love how the circles echo the shapes in the beautiful building.

Hop on over to Scrap Whispers and show us what you can do. And a personal note from me, PLEASE can you switch off your word verification? Blogger has updated it, and I'll be honest, I can't work out what it's saying half the time - and there's nothing wrong with my eyesight! If the DT can't read the word verification, then I'm afraid our comments won't appear on your blogs. And that would be a shame, when we've gone to the effort of typing them in for you. Besides, unless you get hundreds of spam comments, it's much nicer to moderate personally. Thank you for your consideration!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Too hot

<----- Look at that temperature there. In case it changes, I'll tell you what it says. 36*C. That's 97* to all you F-ers. Haha. :-)

OK that little joke has cheered me up a teeny bit, and I needed it. The bedroom air conditioning unit was supposed to be replaced this morning. It has been unreliable since we moved in nearly 2 years ago; sometimes the fan comes on but not the compressor, so when we come up to bed the bedroom is still roasting. It is up in the roof of the house, the windows are single-glazed and the insulation is less than (and looks similar to) rabbit bedding. With February night-time temps up in the high 20s, you can imagine what it's like with no a/c.

So this morning the guys turned up as arranged. I say "morning". It was just still morning. Any other day I would have been thinking about lunch.

Two Aussie guys, one impatient, bad-tempered bully of a boss and one subservient, apologetically smiling runner. The boss stank of unwashed. He had a cold and said he was "crook". I supplied iced water all round. He kept wiping his face with his hand and then leaning on my bed. Ack. They dropped water over the floor and all down the stairs. I knew the owner wouldn't like that, so I surreptitiously wiped up where they weren't looking so I didn't upset the boss more than I could help. But the owner requested the cloth and cleaned the floor in the bedroom very obviously.

So they installed the unit, isolating it using the breaker for the whole a/c system in the house - which took about 5 minutes to turn itself into a furnace inside. Remember the 36*C part? An hour and a half of the boss yelling at the runner later, the boss came downstairs saying "not good news". They had found a leak in the gas pipe in the new unit, didn't have time to replace it now, could only come back tomorrow morning (when my choir leaving do is), and couldn't put the old one back in again so we could have at least some a/c (in fact the boss walked away when I suggested that). When I wondered out loud what we were going to do tonight with only one bed and no a/c, I got the reply "not my problem, I've done MY job". Nice.

I was so worried about DH getting a decent night's sleep (not to mention me) that I suggested to the owner that we might have to spend the night in a hotel. He was very good and offered to pay for this, but when I managed to speak to DH, he said that we would manage.

As I think I may have mentioned, it is 36*C up there. DH works in a fridge. I hope there aren't changing tunes later tonight, after it's too late to do anything about it.

I have cleaned that room, cleaned the bed, swished tea-tree around until my eyes watered. It should be sterilised up there now. And I REALLY hope it is, because we don't need the sickies at the moment with the move back to the UK coming up in less than 2 weeks.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Cameo card

Two posts in one day! I know, this is what I would be doing every day if I wasn't doing church work ;-) and this week I only have to learn a couple of songs and do a little quality control on the pew sheet. I'm supposed to be singing in a duet and a trio on Sunday, but the organist's mother has had surgery and I can't get hold of the soprano so we'll have to wait and see how that pans out. Meanwhile I'm learning my parts so that I'm prepared whatever happens with the others. The panicking will probably begin later in the week. It hasn't set in yet.

As I was surfing the blogs today, I came across a reminder about Mothers' Day - in the UK it's on Sunday 17th March this year folks. Mothers' Day has caught me out for the last 6 years: not only is it a movable date (the last Sunday before Easter) so I always forget to add it in the diary, but it is also on a different date in the countries where I've been living from the country where our Mums are living. Seriously, they have been lucky to get a panicky last-minute delivery of flowers some years. So thank you to whichever blog jogged my frazzled memory into gear in good time for this year.

This is a second entry for Less Is More (I LOVE my dies and punches - I'm making up for time lost while I was away) and Creatalicious with "lace", and also for Stampin' for the Weekend's colour theme of brown, cream and shades of blue. And stamps of course. I often forget that. Duh.

It's pretty, isn't it? Very Victorian. I'm going to make another one for MIL in the same design but different colours. Purples maybe, since I have leftovers from the wedding card. Watch this space. The LIM ladies are going to get sick of me!

Congratulations to F and D!

Last week while we were in New Zealand, a friend who I have kept in touch with since childhood got married. They had a small family wedding, and they will have a big party once they have moved house, and DH and I will be back in the UK for that - I'm excited!

F has always loved purple since she was a little girl, so when the Facebook pictures appeared I was not surprised to see the whole theme was purple, purple and more purple. It looked absolutely beautiful. Even without the Facebook photos I would have chosen purple for a card for them, so Colour Create's colour scheme this week of this photo could not have been better. Less Is More's theme is punches and die cuts, Creatalicious wants lace and Stampavie is still on "love" from Valentine's Day.

I adapted a design that I have used before. The hearts are from Spellbinders dies and the tiny ones used to make the bow tie are a $2 punch that I got in Singapore, as are the flowers on the corsage. I picked up the purple lace at an LSS closing down sale - I had no idea when I would use it, but now I'm so pleased I got it!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Scrap Whispers Challenge #120 - Sketch

Here we are again! Just a quick post to remind you to pop over to Scrap Whispers for this week's gorgeous Valentine's sketch challenge by Nilsa. The DT have created some fabby inspiration for you - here's mine:

Aah... aren't we adorable! And how slender I was then. Just goes to show what 4 years can add. I must get back on the diet when we get back.

I'd love to see your Valentine's love stories, so get scrappin' with our sketch!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Scrap Whispers Challenge #119 - Scraplift

Hey, a Scrap Whispers scraplifting challenge! My favourite sort!

Nilsa has provided us with this week's cute LO to be inspired by, take the colour scheme from, use elements from, or copy directly.

My LO is another one using one laser cut rabbits and one of the papers I got from McLaren Vale. I'll be totally honest, I would never have put those colours together, and it's not a favourite page of mine only for those reasons. I painted the chipboard with white acrylic paint and coloured the rabbits with a Copic marker, all but the tails. The dots are Stickles Patina, and the centre of the flower on the wine bottle was made by trimming a top from a bottle that we bought at the Wolf Blass visitors' centre, and running it through the Cuttlebug. How cool is that?

I photocopied the receipt to use on the LO, because although I know that we bought the bottle directly from the vineyard, the receipt is proof that we were there.

What will you do with it? Show us over on Scrap Whispers. See you there!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Postcard from New Zealand

DH and I are in New Zealand right now - so exciting! That's right, no challenges except scheduled ones, but this week at Less Is More the colour is Aqua, and I'm going to have to pass on it as far as cards are concerned. But I can't help showing you what we did today instead, which is aqua. VERY aqua indeed. In fact, the very colour which the word "aqua" comes from: water in its rawest form.

We drove up to the Tasman glacier, which is the longest glacier in NZ at 27km, the oldest at over 18,000 years, and the fastest-melting at 300m per year. We went on a boat trip with Glacier Explorers, and they took us around Lake Tasman to within 600m of the glacier face. Fortunately for us, there had been a "basal calving" just a week ago so there were plenty of ice-bergs on the lake. Even more luckily, a couple of them had turned overnight, exposing the clean, ancient underside of 300-year-old, pressurised, crystal-clear, pure blue ice. I have never seen anything like it.

Here it is, with an older ice-berg beside it for colour comparison.

And with Mount Cook, or Aoraki, in the background:

A close-up of the ice:

A close-up (as close as my camera could get from 600m away) of the edge of Tasman glacier. The top is all covered with gravel for a few km, and that protects it from melting in the sun. See the blue where the ice has broken away recently?

Tomorrow we're going up a mountain in a gondola (ski-lift) and I'm paragliding down. DH hasn't decided what he's doing yet. I think he's checking his life insurance first. :-)

Friday, 3 February 2012

Scrap Whispers Challenge #118 - Colour

This week at Scrap Whispers we have a COLOUR challenge for you, which happen to be a favourite colour combination for me:


When we were in Adelaide, we visited the beautiful Adelaide Hills, and the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale vineyards. DH was particularly excited about going to McLaren Vale, because that is where our top favourite wine is produced: Wirra Wirra's Church Block. Mmmm.

On our way through the little town I spotted a scrapbooking shop on the main road. How wonderful to be able to use supplies the I bought in McLaren Vale to create my pages about the trip! Very cool. It was a little place, the picture-framing half run by the husband, and the scrapbooking half run by the wife, who was off that day. The selection wasn't that great, but I found a few sheets which got my brain working overtime. I often find that when the inspiration is at its lowest, the challenge is hardest, and the result is the most satisfying. I was navigating us back to Adelaide, and I was thinking so hard about my LOs that I nearly sent DH the wrong way.

I was able to use a vine stamp that I was given second-hand years ago and never used. Here is the result, half of a double-page LO. They look better together, I have to admit, but the other one is for another challenge so you'll have to possess your souls in patience. They are both smothered in Glossy Accents which doesn't show up in the photo. Look out for a bunch more using the same papers over the next few weeks.

OK, it's your turn to enter and be in with the chance of winning a brand new prize. Link your entry to the Scrap Whispers blog, and include a link to Scrap Whispers in your post. See you over there!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Elephants and tags

I haven't got round to much blogging lately, what with church work, laundry, and booking our next trip away, but I am still crafting a little in between.

This week's Less Is More sketch challenge set me on fire, I tell you! Mandi's and Chrissie's exquisite inspiration cards made me want to make about a hundred cards with this design - and I want to try the Black Magic technique - and I have renewed my love of silhouettes and water-based ink.

I got the silhouette sticker page of 3 from my LSS, the inks are Dew Drops dye inks and the greeting is from Portacraft. You can see that I improved as I made them - I learned that the ink will not bleed through the card so I don't have to be stingey with it. I also learned to let the stuff dry out before you get the true colour! I discovered that my old masking tape had gone all gungey, and when I tried to pull it off the edges, it left sticky marks and pulled some of the paper off - hence the unintentional black strips up the sides. I don't like the sticker placement as much either, but hey ho. DH was on his way home and I was in a hurry before I had to stop having fun and start the tea.

Whaddaya think?

I also had fun with a Paper Wishes tutorial for a double pocket card which I HAD to try. I quite often watch their little videos while I'm having my lunch, because they are 10-20 minutes long which is just right. It's fatal though, because I then want to play all afternoon. Here is what I came up with for my version of the tutorial. I think it's even prettier than theirs, personally. ;-)

This is for Bizzy Becs' "anything goes" challenge.