Wednesday, 28 March 2012


OK folks, I'm just letting everyone know where we are with stuff.

We're staying in the local travel lodge, about 2 miles from our home, until our possessions arrive from Australia around the beginning of May. DH starts his new job on Monday after only 2 weeks of his expected 3 weeks off between jobs, because of the delay getting out of Australia. It's a shame he hasn't more time, but he does have two short weeks because of Easter. Also he'll be working sensible hours, at least until the new job gets under-way. He'll be home in the daylight!

Our air-freight arrives tomorrow. That will include clothes, my iron (YAY), the printer/scanner, some computer equipment, and some of my scrapping stuff. I'll be honest, I'm not 100% sure what got packed in the air freight in the end, so it will be interesting to see it again, even though I have no furniture to scrap on yet, or time to play. The Dyson vacuum cleaner is also in there, although DH has to mend the switch before I can use it, as it stopped staying on literally the morning that it got packed. DH had to carry the dratted thing around after me holding the button in while I vacuumed up some of the dust. Ironic huh?

So after he's back in work, I'll get to work on the decorating. I've stripped the paper off the box room walls except behind the radiator, which DH has to help me drain and take off before Monday. Then I have to seal the new plaster and then paint that room, ceiling and walls. I've chosen the palest pink imaginable, with light-reflecting particles. It should go well with mushroom-coloured carpet and be perfect for a tiny room.

Then we have the study/scrap room to do. That's the one which had a roof leak just after I left for Australia last year, and it still has a lot of drying out to do before I can paint. Thankfully it wasn't one of the rooms I decorated last year. DH discovered that the best way of getting the paint off the damp wall was with a vacuum cleaner! It obviously has never been sealed properly, and it was coming off with the most satisfying "fffffffthup, ffffffthup" noises. Buuuuut that wall really is pretty lumpy now, so we have the choice of getting someone in again to skim it (rolling eyes) before painting, or making the most of the current fashion of the feature wallpaper and just covering it up. Whatever we do I'm sticking with blue. I love blue.

That's all we have to do decorating-wise before the shipment arrives. But we also have to have a new boiler and one new radiator installed, and all radiator valves replaced. A minimum of two weeks after that, the new carpets can go in. Then the furniture can go back in, and finally the new kitchen will start to be installed at the beginning of June. So much to think about.

As far as crafting is concerned, I'm going to be taking a holiday for a while. I'm missing it already, but priorities are priorities. I hope you're all still there when I come back! Happy spring!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Scrap Whispers Challenge #125 - journalling

It's technique time at Scrap Whispers this week, and Georgina has chosen JOURNALLING.

I know this is a challenge in itself to many people. Even I, Mrs Chatterbox, often can't be bothered to include much more than the essentials: the who, the where and the when. I think a lot of this is because I often forget, after 4 years of doing this, to save a space in the design for the words. Yes I know - DUH.

I developed a method to get round this very early on, and I'm finding myself using it more and more to avoid cluttered layouts. For me the photos are nearly always the main focus. So I tuck the journalling behind the photos, and leave a tag at the top to pull it out of the top of the page protector. No messing about with cutting holes in page protectors, no having to pull the LO out to read the journalling. I like to be tidy! Have you noticed? Haha.

This is the other half of a double page spread. I showed the left side a few weeks ago for the red, orange and green challenge, and told you all about Wirra Wirra. This is the cellar door and the actual church block: the piece of land with the church on it (that tiny building at the back) where the very first grenache grapes were grown for the original Church Block wine blend. I made the labels to echo the label on the bottles, and the Wirra Wirra sticker is off the packaging - well-insulated with foam tape and several layers of card-stock because I'll bet my boots it isn't acid-free. Here is the double page. They definitely look better as a pair.

Do you have any good ideas for how to hide or display journalling? What are your pet methods? Maybe you don't journal - well here's your chance to try something new. Share on Scrap Whispers, link us up and link back to the blog, and you will be entered into this month's fabby prize draw.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Beautiful Surrey

We arrived back in the UK yesterday morning (Thursday) to 0.5*C, thick fog and jet-lag after being up since 11:30pm (UK time) Tuesday night. Consequently we were a bit useless yesterday! My brother took us all out for a wonderful walk in the unbeatable Surrey Hills after the fog cleared in the afternoon. Most of the trees are still bare so we were able to watch the birds and squirrels flitting around. The blue tits and great tits were disturbing spring blossoms like pink and white confetti floating down. There was pussy willow and lambs' tails or catkins, and daffodils, primroses, wood anemones and even bluebells in bloom already.

My brother had been on this walk only last month in thick snow, and was showing us his photos as we walked. What an amazing place little old England is. Right now I am SO pleased to be back.

Scrap Whispers Challenge #124 - sketch

Ooh I love the sketch challenge this week at Scrap Whispers! It was designed by our very own Nilsa (and made pretty and purple on the computer by yours truly) and it was such fun to use. I love all the little details!

I flipped it because my precious little subject was looking the other way, then I had a colour-fest with Echo Park's "Be Mine" collection, some blue card-stock, distressing and doodles. And I have to say, this is now one of my favourites. When we visited Singapore at the beginning of the year we caught up with as many friends as we could. It was just delightful to see how little S has grown, and how she lost almost all her shyness by the end of the evening. This was the first time she had tried sushi, and it was a hit. What a smile!

Over to you - head to Scrap Whispers and have as much fun as I did!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Scrap Whispers Challenge #123 - scraplift

Welcome to another scraplift at Scrap Whispers.

This week we are featuring the lovely Kelly, whose delightfully simple LO was a joy to lift. I dusted off my Silhouette to cut these adorable little cockatoos. The papers are the last (almost - I still have some scraps) from the My Minds Eye collection which was amongst the first paper I ever bought for scrap-booking back in 2008. I loved it so much that I couldn't cut into it! After 4 years I'm over that now, thankfully. The tree is just a simple scalloped flower from my QuicKutz dies, and I hand-cut the trunk and branches.

This is the river Torrens that flows between north and south Adelaide, South Australia. We were walking to evensong on a gloriously sunny Sunday evening, and there was a flock of white birds pecking under a large tree. At first glance I thought they were gulls, but they were sulphur-crested cockatoos, and very noisy. How wonderful to see cockatoos just hanging out, not worried about people, the same way we'd see ducks on a pond.

What would you do with Kelly's design? Flip it? Rotate it? Use the colours, or the theme, or the title? Or keep it the same as I have? Link us up to your entry on your blog, link back to Scrap Whispers and try your luck at this month's prize. See you there!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Conversation with DH

Me: do I have your permission to throw out that horrible green crunchy t-shirt?
DH: what horrible green crunchy t-shirt?
Me: that emergency one that you got on holiday in Phuket and only wore twice 'cos it's too short
DH: {blank look}
Me: the one with the spelling mistakes on - it's been in the ironing basket for a year
DH: {blanker look}
Me: {digging it out from the bottom of the ironing basket} THIS ONE
DH: {unpeeling it} but that's my favourite...

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Less Is More - neutrals

I ought to be packing, dismantling furniture and doing the washing and ironing, but DH is catching up on some much-needed sleep. I didn't want to wake him up so I sneaked off into my craft room instead. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Less Is More want neutrals this week. Although I just love Mandi's mosaic card the best, it is a design which I tend to fall back on when I need to throw together a quick card and I have no tools with me. And there will be a LOT of times like that over the next couple of months, so I'm saving it up. I went with a Cuttlebug and Spellbinders fest as I may not be able to use those for a while. I made two more with a white background, but I'm not entirely happy with the design. I'll add the greetings as I need them, probably just beneath the bows. Simon Says Stamp are still on their "anything goes" challenge so I'll be one of hundreds on there!

Right. I need to get my act together and try to decide what to pack, what to air-freight and prioritise it (if we have air-freight) and help DH dismantle furniture. So... deep breath, air-con ON and bye for now!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Scrap Whispers Challenge #122 - colour

It's all about colour at Scrap Whispers this week:


I went back to our wine trip to Adelaide for this one.

I got the gorgeous picture paper when we were in McLaren Vale. It was so pretty that I didn't want to cover it up, but the vineyard is the part that still shows. The bottle top is from the bottle of wine that we're holding in the photos, which we bought at the Visitors' Centre (and drank when we got back to the hotel!) DH trimmed the sharp bottom off it for me, then I ran it through the Cuttlebug. I used two B plates, and it didn't squash it flat, but kept the shape. I photocopied the receipt to make it acid-free. The background paper is from Basic Grey's Kraft collection. DH bought it for me for Christmas.

I'd love to see your take on this colour scheme. Link us up to Scrap Whispers, make sure you link back in your blog post, and you will be in with a chance to win this month's fabby prize. See you over there!

Signs of spring?

Well that isn't happening in Western Australia - we're just welcoming the cooler weather of the beginning of autumn! But in a couple of weeks we'll be back in the chilly West of England, and we will be definitely looking out for signs of spring. I must make sure that we have all our warmer clothes packed in the suitcases before the packers come on Tuesday. The packing assessor came yesterday, so now we know what we can and can't take, and everything we must do to prepare for them: cleaning bikes and the lawnmower, and dismantling furniture etc. It's going to be a busy weekend.

So back to "signs of spring" which is the challenge at Cute Card Thursday this week. It's nice to work with pink and green again. I do love that colour combination and I don't think I've used it much lately. I've used Stampavie's sketch again (rotated this time), Charisma Cardz's masking, Stampin' for the Weekend's bingo (pink, pearls, ribbons) and Simon Says Stamp's anything goes. Isn't it pretty?

Too many good byes

I'm making the most of the final few days of crafting which I have available to me, to make a few thank you cards for the amazingly kind people who we are having to say "good bye" to.

There are too many "good byes" this week. :-(

Sometimes I find a sketch which doesn't inspire me, but when it is made up into a card, it works really well. Stampavie posted just such a sketch this week, and I'm really glad I used it.

This one is for the church, to thank them for the beautiful farewell gifts we were presented with on Sunday. It had to be non-girlie and neutral, and Colour Create's yellow, white, grey and black theme fitted the bill. DH bought me the Cuttlebug embossing folder and it is the first time I've used it. I inked the raised paper, and being a close design it took the ink really well. This also fits in with Simon Says Stamp's anything goes challenge.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Rest well Cathy

Today one of the mainstays of my scrap-booking community lost her last fight with ill health.

It is always indescribably hard to lose a friend, even an on-line friend who I've never actually met or spoken to. I can't spend 4 years watching a life story, a life history pan out; its tragedies, past and current; its funny little stories; its confrontations and its incredible joys, without forming an attachment. It is a little like reading a book, or an autobiography. You get to know and love the characters. You cry with them, laugh and rejoice with them, and you want to know what happened to them "in the end".

Well this is the end, and all who knew Cathy in any way will be in sorrow today. For Cathy herself, this is the end of her long stays in hospital and her battles with her physical self. For Cathy's family it is the beginning of their lives without her, knowing that their dread of her never coming home is now reality. Tom and Eileen, our prayers are with you all.

New card, same classic design for the Less Is More scraps challenge.