Thursday, 13 August 2009

So what do I miss about the UK?

There have been periods over the last 3 1/2 years when I have felt very distant from home, not a part of where I live now and very homesick. Most the time I am happy where ever I am, so long as I have my husband and kids with me I can make a home anywhere but it doesn't stop me pining for what I have left behind.

I love England, it is my homeland and I loved my life there but I totally understood that my husbands life was far from ideal with 5 hours commuting each day and not being there to see the kids get up in the morning or go to bed at night. Australia provides a much better family life for our family unit and it provides so many more opportunities for the children and it is beautiful, especially where we live here in the stunning state of Tasmania.

I am finally feeling part of the state, it has taken a long time as it is a close knit community. No one here is horrible, in fact everyone is very friendly but I think it is hard to break in to the community as although people will chat to you at baby groups, at school etc you never get invited over for coffee or out for a trip. It took me a long time to understand why but I know now, it is because many people have all their family near by, they have life long friends nearby etc, their lives are full, rich and busy and they don't realise yours isn't and that although they don't need your friendship, you need theirs - desperately! I found in the early months all my friends were from overseas, like myself, or were people who had moved in from another state.

Stampin' Up! has been fantastic for me as from being a demonstrator I have met so many people and people that share the same hobbies I do. I can walk around in town and actually bump in to people I know. When someone says "oh yes your a SU! demonstrator, I have heard of you" I feel really happy. I love the craft nights we have here as they are a real laugh and so many of my customers are now most definitely my friends. I now feel a lot more part of Tasmania than I did even 12 months ago.

Having said all that by the time we get back to visit England I wouldn't have set foot there for over 2 years and there is so much I miss

Things I miss....

  • The countryside, the amazing greens and lushness of everything. The higgledy-piggledy layouts of the villages, the old buildings.
  • The history, ruins, stately homes and estates, hedge rows, stone walls, horses, tractors and combine harvesters all going past my front door.
  • The morning bird chorus
  • The smells
  • The supermarkets, espceially Sainsbury's & Ocado Online!
  • Argos!
  • The familiarity, during a lifetime you pick up so many hints and tips about the country you live in, you understand the systems and how to achieve things, in a new country every single thing you do requires a steep learning curve.
  • Family
  • Friends, especially those I only saw a few times a year due to distance but when I did see them it was like we had always been together. In a new country you only have local friends and no one to go away and visit for a day.
  • My childhood, it is not easy for me to share my childhood with my children as I can't easily show them the places I used to live, visit, play at etc, I feel very removed from it.
  • English Marmite
  • McVities Jaffa Cakes
  • Jelly Tots
  • Galaxy Chocolate
  • Nice Cadbury's Chocolate
  • The relatively good driving!
  • Free Banking
  • Reasonable mobile phone deals
  • SKY Plus
  • Easy international travel
  • Foxes, badgers and hedgehogs
So it is only fair to say what I love about Australia

  • The patriotism, Australians are so proud of their country, I love that! England has lost it's identity. My kids sing the Australian national anthem with pride at school, they don't know the words to the English one as it was never sung at school as it was politically incorrect!
  • It is so beautiful in so many ways
  • I can afford to go sailing, a hobby I could never have had in the UK because of costs and location
  • The beaches and beach lifestyle (yes even here in cold Tassie!)
  • The intimacy of Hobart, you can live in a city without all the hustle and bustle!
  • The history of Tassie
  • The people!
  • My new friends!
  • The wildlife (except spiders, sharks & snakes!)
  • There is so much to see on a scale which is unimaginable to and Englishman!

A Challenge...

Well I am sitting here waiting for the vets to call, it is crucial to know whether our little puppy was able to drink the water and eat the food without it causing her any form of upset so to keep myself occupied I shall post a picture of a card I made this morning.

I received the Weekly Inkling from SCS and the tutorial this week was a recessed window card. I decided to give it a go and came up with the card below.

I used some DSP I had just previously admired but never used any of it - I am on a mission to use my DSPs more as I cannot keep stashing it! I also inked one of my most favourite stamp sets for the first time, Upsy Daisy - I am shocked as this was on my Top 3 sets of stamps I wanted when our current catalogue was released and I got it straight away but I just haven't got round to using it- how bad is that?!

I went for a relatively masculine colour scheme, you can get away with flowers on a card for a man if the colour choice is

I am not sure that this picture really shows the dimension of the card, the pale square in the middle along with the stamped image is actually recessed about 7mm in. I'll try and take another picture tomorrow to highlight it a little more.

Card Recipe..

Stamps: Upsy Daisy
Card: Basic Gray
Inks: Basic Gray

Accessories : Boho Blossoms & 5 Petal Flower punches, Clear rhinestone brads, semi-pearls from Pretties kit, Urban Garden DSP, Taffeta ribbon

Another one of those weeks!

It must be the time of year! The weather here has been atrocious, it has been like living back in the UK, non stop rain , cloud, dampness and gray! This afternoon is the first time in literally days when it hasn't rained. Tomorrows forecast is OK but after that it is more rain - oh joy!

Our little man has been off school all week, he was sick throughout Saturday night and has not been right since. He hasn't had an overly high temperature but he has just been out of sorts, very lethargic, no appetite and today he seems to have pulled a muscle in his groin and is struggling to walk- poor little thing is very sorry for himself!

We have made some bread this morning and then made some cup cakes, he managed to eat 2 of those! As you can see he enjoyed decorating them,

and was very proud.

Our poor little puppy is also poorly, she is currently at the vets in their equivalent of Intensive Care. She had haemorrhagic diarrhea and initially they thought she had contracted Parvovirus despite being immunised but now they just think it is 'a' virus. the earliest she will be back with us is Saturday morning. We are hoping when they introduce water and food to her today she is able to cope with it.

this was her last week at the beach.

Get better soon my little one!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

One of Kind or Playful Petals and more...

Another post, two in one day - my word!!!

Well I was looking through some of my fave blogs and came across this lovely fresh and very simple card by Kate Lewis (Yours Truly)

I decided to have a go at recreating it, she has written that she used the stamp set One of kind so I dutifully got it out and started stamping and colouring and realised in fact that is not what she used but instead she had used Playful Petals. it was at that point that I realise that apart from the inside bit the stamps from both sets are exactly the same shape and size - well wouldn't you know! All we need now is for SU! to bring out a punch that fits.

So what have I changed from hers? Not much really! The text as the one she used is now retired here in Aus but I have to say I am pleased to have been reminded to use this lovely sentiment! I have also changed the colouring on the flower, everything else is the same. I might add here that on a card that has lots of layers on it I tend to have it hinging out from the left as it stands up better, I find with Tent fold cards (hinged from the top) if there are lots of layers they keep falling flat so I end up have to make a tab to lock them in place.

Card Recipe..

Stamps: Playful Petals, Wonderful Favourites
Card: Whisper White, Tempting Turquise
Inks: Stazon Black

Accessories : White gel pen, dimensionals, brads, corner rounder punch

This card is just one single layer. I was browsing the other day through the web, as one does, and came across this very simple mosaic stamp. you basically stamp iit on to your card and then use each section and some masking. I don;t possess that stamp but decided to recreating just by drawing lines with a marker and ruler (in hindsight I should have used a brown marker not a black one for this project!).

The design needs some work, it isn;t a very well thought out mosaic but the idea is there! using post it notes as masks I decided which rectangle was going to eb thr top one and worked on that and then worked downwards from that point. I should have used my SAMJ to get various stamps straight - specifically the main sentiment!!! Next time........

Card Recipe..

Stamps: En Francais, Dreams du Jour
Card: Very Vanilla
Inks: Creamy caramel, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Kiwi Kiss

Accessories : black marker, ruler, Post-It notes


just found the stamp I saw here,
it is in the US so will have to wait until I have spare pennies to purchase, in teh mean time perhaps I will have to keep drawing my lines!


There are so many fantastic card makers out there, I call myself a 'crafter' and consider myself competent but some people are more than just crafters they are artists as well. One of my son's, friend's mum makes the most beautiful cards, they are simple but are of drawings she has just whipped up and watercoloured - they are stunning - she is an artist.

Another artist I really admire is Michelle Zindorf. In the card making world she is right up there at the top! I subscribe to her email updates and this morning I received one which had a card that I loved and I even had the stamps to recreate it. At this point I looked at the housework and thought - nah! No doubt my husband will moan that I am spending too much time on my 'hobby' but today that is what I am going to do!!!

So this card has been made following Michelle's fantastic tutorial. Obviously it is not as good as hers, as bright as hers and certainly not photographed as well as hers but it is inspired by her

Card Recipe..

Stamps: Inspired by Nature and Garden Whimsy
Card Stock: Whisper White, Perfect Plum
Lots! Old Olive, Always Artichoke, Close to Cocoa, More Mustard, Really Rust, Apricot Appeal, Versmark
Accessories : Prismacolours, brads, grosgrain, clear EP, sponges, brayer,

This next card is one I made eons ago and I am not sure if I ever did post it or not! the layout was inspired by a card I made before which was inspired by one made by Joanne from mainly Flowers. The technique used to colour the flower and leaves in is called Re-inker Splash I think! Basically they were stamped with Versmark on watercolour paper and embossed with white EP, Each image was then flooded with water and drops of re-inkers were added with an aquapainter and played around with until the desired effect was achieved. The images were then left to dry completely (took some time!) and then cut out.

Card Recipe..

Stamps: Playful Petals
Card Stock: Mellow Moss, Pale Plum
Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, Bashful Blue
Accessories : White EP, Heat Tool, Watercolour paper, Aquapainter, Mat Pack, White Signo Gel Pen, Grosgrain, Eyelet Border Punch

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Spring Mini Samples....

Now don't get too I haven't really had a proper play but I thought I would share what I have achieved so far.

This first one is a little card I sent out with the new mini to some of my customers. I saw a card using the stamp and similar colours and liked the plain'ness (not a real word!) of it.

Card Recipe..

Stamps: Just Beachy
Card Stock: Kraft, Whisper White & Sahara Sand
Sahara Sand
Accessories : White Signo Gel pen, dimensionals

This next card I am not 100% happy with, I was only playing about but I didn't want to waste it so I kind of threw a card together. I am sure someone somewhere will like it.

Card Recipe..

Stamps: Unchartered Territory
Card Stock: Baja Breeze, Whisper White, Red Riding Hood Red, Basic Black
Baja Breeze, Bordering Blue, Not Quite Navy, Black Stazon
Accessories : Water colour wonder crayons, gingham ribbon, dimensionals

This card just uses one stamp from the very cute set, Forest Friends. I inked the tree with Kiwi Kiss and then used a black Stampin' Write marker to pick out the truck and brances. I also cheated here and used a Cuttlebug embossing folder to dry emboss the Kiwi Kiss background. I know it is ow an SU! product but I know crafters source their stuff from all over and as we don;t sell an equivalent I feel justified in showing this off!

Card Recipe..

Stamps: Forest Friends
Card Stock: Whisper White, Kiwi Kiss & Basic Black
Kiwiw kiss and Basic Black
Accessories : Brads, Dimensionals, Kiwi Kiss Satin Ribbon, Cuttlebug Embossing folder

Boxes Galore....

This first little box is a trapezoid box I drew a template for. It is very small, about wedding Favour size, the top dimensions are 7cm x 5cm. It is very sturdy as I drew the template so that the front section folds down inside and forms an extra base layer too. The picture isn't great as I couldn't stop the shadows getting in and time is of the essence!

Project Recipe..

Stamps: Snow Swirled, So Swirly wheel
Card Stock: Very Vanilla, Kiwi Kiss
Inks: Versamark, Kiwi Kiss
Accessories : Clear EP, Dazzling Diamonds, Trio Flower Punch, Heat tool

This second box is very roughly made, I designed the template as I went along. it needs some decoration on the inside yet but I will get round to that at some point - you know how it is?! I don;t know what kind of box you would call this, kind of a 'surprise box' as the sides fall down to leave a box still in place. I saw the idea on ILWS and thought that I could make one too!

Project Recipe..

Stamps: none!
Card Stock: Kraft & Bordering Blue
Inks: Bordering Blue
Accessories : 5 petal Flower Punch, Boho Blossom Punch, Clear Rhinestones, Wide grosgrain ribbon, Bella Blue DSP

I am in the process of converting all templates in to PDFs with instructions of any boxes I have personally designed a template for. these will be available at some point!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Life in general.....

I know I am bad, I haven't been good at creating these last days and I really wanted to WOW you with some goodies from the new catalogue. I have been trying to catch up a bit with jobs at home so crafting has taken a back seat. It is funny how we feel we have to earn our time to play but I guess in a busy family that is just the way it goes!

Of course there are all the trials and tribulations of family life that prevent you from allowing you creative juices to flow, for example.....

Our youngest son was kicked in the nose in March by an older boy. Apparently my 4yo son had his hands round this boys neck, I struggle to believe it as he has never done that before and unless this other boy is a contortionist I am not sure how he could have been grasped at the neck and still kicked my little boy in the nose, also it does not tie in with two other 'eyewitness' accounts! Look at me going in to 'mummy defence mode' The only trouble is that it caused major nosebleeds at the time. We even ended up in A&E as we could not stop it bleeding but 8hrs later at 2am he was asleep and the doctor didn't want to disturb him so told us to come back the next day despite being able to see the wound - I think not!!

Anyway since then he has had at least one bad nosebleed a week but usually more and in recent weeks it is 5-6 a week. I kept thinking that it would right itself eventually as we did have some 'good' weeks, but that has not been the case. He gets spontaneous bleeds and any slight knock to his nose causes a big bleed. The novelty has worn off for him, he now gets very distressed and so do I as it is horrid seeing him upset. I am fed up with carrying tissues around or having a mad panic when I don't have them. So today I took him to the doctor who didn't see anything so believes the injury is high up the nose so we now need to take him to a specialist at great financial cost. Ironically about 5 minutes of being out of the surgery his nose bled badly again despite the doctor being so gentle.

He has the appointment with the specialist in a couple of weeks, I suspect it will be quarterised but I wonder if it is too high up would he need a GA ( I have a bit of a thing about those as my step brother was brain damaged due to a mess up by an anaesthetist!). I am trying not to worry too much as I am sure it will all be very straight forward and it will be lovely for him and I not to be on constant nosebleed alert. I would love to hear any comments on people that have had treatments for nosebleeds - just positive tales!

On top of all that blood our Border Collie had to have an operation last week as she had a nasty infection on her foot. A grass seed had got in between her 'toes' and caused the infection. Fortunately they found it and were able to remove it. She came out with a very beautiful Pink Passion bandage which ultimately ended up looking more Close to Cocoa after a couple of days. The good news is it wasn't too expensive, she has recovered well and is off for her first walk in a week tomorrow. If you have ever spent time in a house with a 2 year old Border Collie who hasn't had a walk for a week you will understand the tension we have here, we are all being rounded up!

The third thing, there always has to be a third thing, is, our eldest son was sick in the early hours of Saturday morning. I am not good with sick at all, fortunately my husband cleared up the 'main' bit but I was left with the carpet to clean. I had a face cloth with Tea Tree on it over my face to stop me being sick as I desperately tried to get it all off. You have to bear in mind we have white carpets and he had pizza the night before!!! All I can say is Orange Power Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is sooo worth the money and Bicarb of Soda is fantastic at removing smells - all is now good and most importantly he is well and it appears not to be the onset of Swine Flu!

No wonder I haven't been creating much this last week!!!

Lynda x