Tuesday, 27 March 2007

It was too good to last anyway......

I got an email saying that my big client won't be paying me the hourly rates after all and that they will only be able to offer me the piece rates they were paying previously. Considering there is 70% less work and they still want me to cover 32 hours per week that means they want me to work for about $7 an hour and that's on the busiest day of the week. Naturally I have a phone call this morning to make so I can essentially tell them to jam it. We are luck in that while we don't have any savings we probably can survive until I sort something else out - I was just comfortable with the arrangement I had and the routine of it all. So now I'm an (almost) free agent. I still have this lovely anaesthetist to sort out and that will be something and hopefully if he's happy he will recommend me to other doctors. Other than that I'm going to have to start doing the phone/email/letter rounds of the private practice clinics at the hospitals and the medical recruitment agencies to see what else is out there. It also means that I can do a whole pile of classes at the store now but it's not guaranteed income as numbers can fluctuate, people can cancel or dont' turn up so that's not really reliable income either but it all helps. I know God provides so I'm just going to do my best to sort out what I can and have faith that He will figure out the rest. I feel like part of me wants to be sad about the whole thing - after all I've been working for them for almost six years now - and another part of me is very excited as I can't remember the last time I spent a week just looking after my kids and my house. I've always had a job (an income earning job even if I have been doing it from home iykwim?) and I only ever took 3 months of maternity leave at a time with my kids, only took two weeks with Caeligh and I was back to work, taking her with me each day. I want to relish in the freedom of not having to do anything at all except keep house and look after my kids. The possibilities are just endless so while I know I'll have to find something else soon I do plan on taking a couple of weeks to not do anything. It will be weird but worth it I think!

WOOHOOO - as there's no point being miserable about it because I can't fix it I'm going to go over to Cass's place today and scrap!!!!! lol Gotta do something to cheer myself up and there's still lots of OTP stuff needing to be done for the shop and lots of pub calls from the big three to answer if I'm feeling up to it.

Thank you to all you girls who take the time to read of my day to day disasters - even if you don't realise it, it makes me feel a whole lot better to know somebody cares enough to read it. I guess this means I can keep up with my blog properly now doesn't it?

Monday, 26 March 2007

So excited!!!!!

Today I got a phone call from one of the anaesthetists who works for the gastros that I type for (and for whom I still don't have a contract!!!! grrrrrrrrr but I'll sort that out later). He also does dermatology private practice as well and asked if I could do his typing for him!!!! This is my first "real" client that I have had approach me. Apparently he got some good feedback from the doctors I type for now so gave me a call. I must say I'm a little unprepared because although the intention was to always start getting new clients I had not thought they would come to me but that I'd have to go looking for them when I was ready to!!! lol Oh well thanks to the Big Guy upstairs for fixing my small procrastination issue!!!!

The big bonus too is that they don't know a lot about computers and also have some personal networking issues at home they need help with and I was able to recommend my lovely Dougie who is a genius with computers and networking and all that stuff but unfortunately doesn't have any paper qualifications to show what he can do so it is almost impossible for him to get a job doing what he enjoys so much and is so good at. To be honest it would be nice if we were able to help out a few people and he could get some word of mouth advertising for what he can do because right now he does lots of stuff for people at work but all he usually gets with regard to payment is "what do you drink?" and I think I've mentioned before that while it's nice to receive a good bottle of red, it doesn't help pay the bills!!!

So now I have to do some really quick research today and put together an IT plan for them as to how I can make it all work plus a pricing schedule as well. It's not a lot of work but it's still work and he's a very well known doctor as well so maybe if he's happy with the service he'll tell other doctors.

Cass is at the shop today, working on a class sample for a Mother's Day class. It's the first time she's had to do the whole "get everybody ready for school and kindy as well as herself" routine in I don't know how long. I can absolutely say I wouldn't trade working in an office again for anything!!!! I did it for years with Blayd and Lachie and then when I had James luckily I found my typing work which had fairly good hours even though it was at someone else's home. Now I work from home I can't even put a price on being physically here all day - it's little things like the load of washing I can throw on in between jobs, or the quick bathroom swish and swipe, or the fifteen minutes of decluttering or picking up here and there when I can. I am in awe of you girls who get up every day, get everybody and yourself ready, do the taxi service, try to fit in some housework in the mornings and THEN have to go to a job. Honestly you girls are just amazing and it must take a helluvalotta organisation to be able to do it, or you've learned to accept a lesser degree of tidiness at home. I know that's what I used to do - just accept that the house would never be as tidy as before and that I'd never be completely caught up on any of the chores. Ha ha I can laugh because even though I'm at home, with four kids I'm still never caught up on the chores and my house still isn't as clean as I'd like!!!! Mind you it's beautifully tidy for a couple of pristine hours before they all get home from school!!! Maybe there's a layout there - before and about an hour after they get home!!!! I will give a big shout out to you girls who do the whole SAHM thing too because the trade off is more often than not that you have to do virtually EVERYTHING at home if your other half goes out and works, or at least that was the impression I got when it came up on Scrapbook City the other day. It's funny, Cass bought a great book called "Wifework" and it talks about how all the feminism in the world hasn't really changed things that much for women. Women still do most of the housework, kid and baby wranging, shopping, the "emotional work" of caring for everybody and organising a household so everything runs smoothly and that's regardless of whether a woman works out of the home, for how many hours, or even if she stays at home and her partner works. I know there are some girls who have those more traditional values and are happy to shoulder the load at home while their partners work which is fine but I know that sometimes working away from home can be easier than being at home looking after a house and kids. I've done it all kinds of ways myself, from working full time, to part time, to working at home like I do now to being a full time mum and not working an actual "job" (crickey that sounds bad I'm trying not to make it sound like being a mum full time isn't as hard as working - I swear I know most of the time it's harder!!!!). It would be nice to see all those things shared more equally iykwim? I can talk though cos I think I have one of the best examples of "the perfect husband" that you are ever gonna find! He's the one who works a full time job and when he gets home he insists on helping out, whether it's with doing laundry, looking after kids, the kindy pick ups and drop offs, making dinner, you name it Dougie does it, with a smile on his face and without the least hint of feeling put upon. All because his Dad was exactly the same, worked a full time job and shared all the house stuff with his wife when he got home. And his father did it too - almost unheard of a working class suburb in Scotland in the forties and fifties. Isn't it funny how upbringing shapes a man? I hope now that my kids see Doug doing so much around the house that used to be and sometimes still is classified as "women's work" that they will consider it the norm, not the exception to do the same when they grow up. I've tried to instill in my sons that a man who will don an apron and wield a toilet brush is worth his weight in gold to a girl. It's also partly a survival thing too - I figure if I teach them to cook for themselves AND be able to clean up after then there's less chance they'll accidentally kill themselves with food poisoning when they move out of home!!!!

Have a lovely day

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Yes we have no title, we have no title today

It's a nice quiet Sunday here after a mostly nice quiet Saturday with only a few "to do" items on the list.

Yesterday was Blayd and Scotto's last game of cricket and as I had to work in the morning Doug took Blayd to his match. After lunch the boys had their trophy presentation in the hall of a local high school and Doug and Cass's man Kelly got roped into running the drinks stall with the boys and their teammates as per the roster. I think they enjoyed it a little more than they were willing to let on and all the boys got stuck in and really helped which was great. Doug and Kelly then took the little ones home as we weren't sure if we were going to be at the presentation for the long haul (as anybody with kids in club sport will attest to!!!). After the boys got their participation trophies and team photos Cass and I took them with us to the shop to have a looksee and find out how the first day had been.

There were a few hiccups which Cath handled beautifully (the newsletter is here if you want to read the gory details) and overall the day went well. It was a real buzz to see all the things Cass and I had made for the shop sitting there so people could pick them up, look at them, etc, stuff like the decorated dress forms, the little boxes and books etc. We just need to work out how we're going to put all our layouts up on the walls above all the product. Awful as it sounds we don't actually want stuff down at touchy feely level as I heard that people will do ridiculous things like tear paper or an embellishment off a display layout if they want to take it away to find the same thing or match paper with. I can't even imagine how awful that would feel if someone did that to my layout. I'd like to hope those kind of things are the exception and don't happen often but even the DT layouts I do I still love and I'd hate for that to happen to any of them. Has anybody else heard of that happening?

Scotto stayed over last night and the boys had pizza for dinner and stayed up late watching movies until we had to virtually unplug the TV and turn out the light before they'd go to sleep! Typical boy stuff but they still managed to be up and at 'em early enough today as well! I wish I knew where they found the energy......

Caeligh has gone with Doug to see his mum. She fell and broke her shoulder a couple of weeks ago so while she's fiercely independent there are still a few things around the house she can't do so Doug has gone over to help her with some housework and then he's taking her grocery shopping because she can't drive for about eight weeks either. Her Royal Highness went with him under protest because there was a house full of rowdy boys here and she was in her element. She wouldn't even let me brush her hair before she went!!!! I know it sounds ridiculous that a 3 year old wouldn't let me do something like that but Caeligh you must remember has an extensive collection of Oscar nominated wobbly performances to her credit and there are just some days when it isn't worth the screaming, choking, foaming at the mouth type of tantrum she was gearing up for. I washed her hair last night and it's that gorgeous straight but curling up a bit right at the ends kind of little girl hair that doesn't have a single knot in it today and because it's so smooth it looks like it's been brushed anyway. So I just put a couple of clips in the front as I'm growing her fringe out and she looks like a bit of a wild thing peeking out from under the hair!

I'm kind of meant to be scrapping but the boys are baking biscuits with the easiest recipe in the world (it's about three quarters of the way down and they're called Mrs Cattle's Biscuits) and I've had to keep a bit of an eye on them because with my kids you never know what will go wrong - and does - all the time!!!! They were quite determined today to do it themselves after watching me make them a couple of weeks ago. So I printed off the recipe for them and off they went. I think I realised we were coming a bit unstuck when Scotto asked me if the mix looked okay as it was a bit dry. As it turns out they had forgotten the sugar (amazing as there are only four ingredients in the whole recipe lol). We remedied that problem and they went back to it only to discover that they had used a commercial butter blend with a preservative in it instead of the Nuttelex that my kids have to use (and to this minute I still don't know why they would have used anything else!). Then I came back a minute later and suggested they might need a touch more flour to use up some of the moisture and realised that they had used plain flour instead of self raising. So off to the pantry for some baking powder when Blayd said I didn't need to put in any in as he'd done that already. Suspicion arose as I had to open a new baking powder myself to put some in for them so I asked what baking powder they had used. Well misinformation was abounding in my kitchen let me tell you folks!!!! They had misread the amount and used four tablespoons instead of teaspoons (double batch) and Blayd had thought baking powder was actually sodium bicarb!!!!!! URGH I did taste a tiny bit and thought it was a bit yuck but didn't realise just why until then........Blayd was doing the happy dance around the ktichen when I told him that the huge amount of bicarb would counteract any reaction from the preservative in the butter blend so he would be able to eat the biscuits after all!!!! (and by this time I was wondering if they WOULD be able to eat them after the frankenstein job they'd done on the world's easiest recipe!!!!). So they've been in the oven, risen to about ten times the original size and fallen flat as pancakes when taken out. They're cooling now and the boys are convinced that they look and smell wonderful but the proof is in the eating as they say. Maybe the dogs will get a treat today.........

Friday, 23 March 2007

Could so do without.....

.... the grief!!!! One of those weeks again (honestly people are going to start wondering if I'm not one of those eternally depressed doomsayers who never have a good week!!!!) where one of my sons is having LOTS of trouble at school with not doing work, not doing homework, lots of excuses yadda yadda, we're juggling the last of our money because I don't get paid until the end of next week from my new business, AND the cherry on top is that the new client is looking wobbly about the price parameters we set last week at our meeting. I walked away with the clear impression that what I had asked for would be fine and that she would just need to get the director's final okay and she would do the contract up. Now - a week later - it seems that she has not even shown the proposed pricing and hours to the director and claims she just can't get him and the accountant in the one place at the one time to talk to them. I'm starting to have some (I'm thinking understandable) concerns over how this is going to play out. Now the impression I've gotten after a phone call indicates that "if there's a problem" we'll need to just keep using the old price structure (which was considerably less per piece rate but at the time there was also considerably more work than I've had under the new staffing arrangements) and that just don't cut the grass as Cass would say!!! From the tone of voice it sounds like there is very much going to be a problem. She verbally agreed that yes, the arrangement for the new hourly rate would start from the day after our meeting last week but then we went into the "if there's a problem" part of the conversation. Because this is my first real client on my own I wasn't sure how forthright to be with her, knowing that being forthright is also frequently mistaken for rude, aggressive or confrontational by people if it's convenient for them to feel that way so I've had to say that me working at the old rates for the whole fortnight would not be satisfactory from my point of view given the gross imbalance of hours worked (too many) stacked up against how much I've had to do in those hours (not enough). Basically they want someone available to cover specific hours and I've accommodated with that but on the basis that I would need to be paid hourly as working 30 hours a week for them means I cannot find even one full day of work a week anywhere else to supplement my income and thus I have to ensure that what I charge per hour for the expected number of hours each week will cover my cost of living - JUST LIKE ANYBODY ELSE!!! I suddenly feel as if I'm standing on shifting sands and it's more than a little uncomfortable because I don't know how sweetly I need to handle the situation or if I need to be more aggressive to make sure they understand that I won't take anybody messing me around. So I bit the bullet today and submitted an invoice to them for last week and this week. The invoice normally wouldn't get submitted until next Wednesday for payment on Thursday night but I wanted to just get one foot in the door so that if they want to humm and harr about the rates that provisionally she seemed happy with, then they can argue with me after they pay me. I can just see that if I wait until next week they will have had a chance to decide that they're not happy with the rates I've quoted and because I won't have subbed an invoice to them they'll only pay me at the old rates, not the new ones. I really don't know what else to do but be prepared to stand my ground on the issue. I completely believed that there was no issue with the prices I quoted and that all she needed was a sign off and to email me the contract. Now I'm a bit stuck in nowhere land because nothing has been finalised and I have no contract to protect me at all because she's now wobbling over the deal. I also can see something else coming - because we don't have a written contract they may choose to terminate my services immediately because they don't like the rates I quoted them. I figure this way at least they have an invoice and the rates were verbally agreed upon (if she didn't bother to double check with anybody in charge before letting me walk out of that office last week I figure that's her problem to sort out now, not mine) so if the worst case scenario happens at least they will have to pay the invoice I've already given them (but I'm a worrier so I'm going to double check that to make sure I know where I stand in the situation).

So that's been my Friday so far.......grrrrr! And it appears Krys from SM isn't going to send out any nice emails this afternoon which is downright deflating right before the weekend!!!

Cyberscraps opens tomorrow and I don't even think I'll get to the shop at all :( because of logistics but I'll probably go in Monday afternoon after 1 o'clock for a couple of hours.

Jamie is going to his first school disco tonight (all of grade one he is!!!) and he's just bustin' with excitement!!!! They will have coloured hairspray for $1 (thanks so much to the school for that FAB idea.......what a mess to get out of his hair again!), lots of flimsy, poorly made glow-in-the-dark toys from $1 - $4 each (that will be broken before he even gets home but apparently that's okay as far as little kids and glowy things are concerned), and he's going to dance (or I imagine he's going to give it a red hot five year old go anyway!!!!). Lachie is going to the older kids' disco an hour and a half later and he's quite excited too for a kid who doesn't like anybody watching him dance. I'll be home with Blayd and Her Royal Highness. I may even get some more scrapping done if I can get Caeligh into bed early enough (yeah, funny ha ha I know!!).

I have to dash and go pick up the tribe from school and kinder because James and Lachie need to be home very early so they can get ready for their big night out!!!! I believe some kind of hair wax/gel/product is going to be required and a bit of fancy work from Mum the hairstylist!! Have a luverly evening chickies and I'll blogga blogga more on the weekend! Cya, Lu

Thursday, 22 March 2007

On a roll this week!

This is the new Urban Lily with a few blingy additions and some black pen outline doodling which I cannot seem to stop myself from doing lately!!!! I don't think Scrapbook Creations will EVER love me if I can't come up with something a little neater, a little tidier, a little "nicer" than the messy freestyle stuff I usually do! Oh well it's a good thing SM don't mind - I've got four sitting in Krys Yealland's inbox and Fridays are usually knifing day so I'll find out if she wants any of them. One can only hope and it's such a nice way to start the weekend when you have a layout accepted. She often does the stabbings on Mondays as well and I had a couple of things rejected earlier in the week which is a rather crapola way to start the week! SM must have had a mail back early in the week as I got "Cheeky Miss" back today and Cass got "Mates" back, both with the same photocopied "yeah we'll use it but not sure when" type of letter.

I don't know where the motivation is coming from but quite frankly I'm not going to question it because I've done more in the last week than I have in the last month. I guess the new working hours are making the difference maybe? Having set hours is a blessing and I have time and motivation to use the other hours in my day to scrap, comfy that I won't have to get up at 4am or work until midnight anymore. Long work hours harsh anybody's mojo I imagine, and it makes me want to avoid my desk because I work where I scrap as well. I have a big L shaped desk and my puty sits on the small part of the L at the bottom and I scrap along the long part so I can spread out a bit. So if I'm working far too much I don't even like to be at my desk, regardless of what I am doing while I'm at said desk. Hope that makes sense!

I'm now going to start dinner (something that does not require supervision ideally!) and I'm going to come back to my desk and see if I can (a) start another layout, and (B) use the new Urban Lily papers to decorate a 20 inch high manequin/bust thingy for the shop. It has a nice wood base and stand and a finnial thing (a stick with a knob - dodgy, dodgy.....lol) on the top. We have to make "skirts" for them with the newest papers and Cass did hers today which was absolutely fabbo so I have high standards to work up to! I'll take a photo of her once she's finished so you can see what the crackers I'm talking about!!!! Oh and I also have to do a "book in a box" which is an accordian book which slides into a book cover type box (sorry for yet another hopelessly in adequate description!!!) and a small chipboard mini book that goes into the Maya Road box I decorated yesterday. We want to get as much done as we can so it's all in the shop for Saturday but there's only so fast a girl can scrap before it starts to look crap and hurried so I'm going to take as long as I need to make sure the stuff looks okay.

We're back to the good ol' question of does anyone have an exciting weekend planned? Not much here (so what's new everyone moans!!!! lol). I know I must sound like a vegetable on weekends. I am a bit of a homebody just because organising much else with four kids and not much in the way of spending money (don't get my first real pay until next week) is so damned hard and with weekend sport it cancels half your Saturdays as well (can I get an amen from the soccer/cricket/football/whatever sport your kid inflicts upon you on Saturdays Mummies in the audience tonight????). Blayd's last cricket match is this Saturday though which is (sorry Blayd) kind of great!!!!! He has Trophy Day as well, I'm assuming it will be after lunch at the club once all the junior matches have finished so there goes a goodly part of Saturday afternoon as well! Scott is coming over for a sleepover with Blayd (we haven't even told them yet, maybe I can hold it over as leverage tomorrow morning when they need to be ready early to get to school for breakfast club?) and so Sunday will probably be just a muck about day around the house too. If the scrapping mojo keeps on coming I'll try to get some more layouts done and I'll probably go to the shop sometime on Saturday and again on Sunday because I don't have much time during the week to help out or get involved too much because of work.

Well have a fab weekend regardless of what you get up to. I know I always say that but it's because I always mean it!!!! Some of my favourite fun weekends haven't been the big events or trips, they've been just hanging out at home having fun together so that's why I say it. So do something fun and don't make me tell you twice girl!!!!!

Cya babes, Lu

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Marah Johnson layout

Can you tell that I couldn't use "Tuff 'e' Nuff" as the title as I bloody well ran out of "FFFFFs". I felt like using a few effs myself at that point that cos I realised I'd have to find a new title!!!!! lol but it's done and that's good. Caeligh does actually have a Marah Johnson heart with wings rub-on on her arm in the photo but it hasn't shown up very well which is why I just put it over the top of the picture otherwise nobody would have seen it!
(and for the grammatically anally retentive amongst us - yes I do know how to spell but I was doing that thing of using phonetic spelling - for fun - and lack of other correct available chipboard letters!!!! lol)

Cyberscraps Grand Opening Saturday 24th March!!!

Cyberscraps is opening the doors on Saturday 24th March 2007! The shop is located at 32 Ainsworth Street, Salisbury (opposite the Salisbury Bowls Club). The phone number is
(07) 3274 5522 (hopefully nice and easy to remember!). Our online store is also always open at www.cyberscraps.com.au

Everything is unpacked, ready and waiting for you to come and have a look if you're a Brisvegas local. Cath will be there in the morning and Cass and I will be in later in the day to help out where needed. The good news for local scrappers is that we will even be open on Sundays - a blessing for those who can't find the right embellishment mid-layout!

Be sure to stop by and say hi if you are in the area or feel like a drive. We can't wait to meet everyone and to show of the shop! We have finalised our first class timetable with some Easter projects in the weeks after the bunny visits and some Mother's Day projects in the lead up to Mum's big day. We've even got kids' classes so they can make something special for Mum too!

Now the promo is over, I can say I'm really excited. It's nice to see everything up in racks, hung up, displayed and waiting. Cass and I have been and are going to continue to be busy with off the page projects for a while because I know when I walk into a LSS I like to see finished projects decorating the shop and while I'm not a huge OTP fan I'm certainly having fun with the ones I'm doing at the moment.

I'm off to type some more but hope you can stop by the shop if you live nearby!

Cya, Lu

Yay Marah Johnson winner and layout share

Hi all, thanks to everyone who came by my blog and left comments over the weekend. Good to see that somebody's havin' some fun!!!! lol Anyway the winner randomly drawn by Her Royal Highness is......drumroll please.........Jas!!!!

Jas if you want to email me your addy I can put your goodies in the post for you!!!! Hope you had a lovely weekend btw! I've actually not been blogging much lately because I've been getting more scrapping done! Shock horror!!!! Now that I have set working hours because I've successfully negotiated an hourly rate instead of a piece rate I don't have to work myself into the ground any more to do as much as I can to get paid each week. It's a huge relief and I'm very thankful. So here's a layout I finished yesterday. I did another one last night but it's not scanned yet so I'll share once that's done. For this layout I actually bought a fascinator kit from Spotlight - you know the ridiculous foofy, feathery things we girls wear on our heads at race meetings if you aren't a hat person? Yeah those things. Well I bought one with black netting, black ribbon and brownish-red feathers, took it all to pieces and used it on this layout along with an upholstry fabric sample and a few other bits and bobs. It's actually really heavy which is different for me! Love the end result though. It's called "Is Forever Too Much To Ask?" and of course it's about my gorgeous Scottish sexy beast Douglas!!!! I did originally want to do just a straight BG Scarlet's Letter layout or a Marah Johnson Love Struck layout but neither seemed to work 100% so I used both and the result was definitely better!

I'm off to get some more work done now so I'll pop back in later and post my Marah Johnson layout. Thanks to Cass from whom all good scan come!!!!!!

Cya, Lu

Saturday, 17 March 2007

I have far too many supplies.....

.....and how do I know this, you ask? BECAUSE CAELIGH CAME IN WHILE I WAS OUT AND TOOK EVERYTHING DOWN OFF MY PEGBOARD AND DUMPED IT ON MY DESK!!!!!!!!!!!! The somewhat sheepish response from Daddy? "I had to go to the bathroom - I was only gone a minute or two". I purposefully left the bedroom door shut when I left to go out this afternoon so her Royal Terror would not come into my room and destroy things, break things, lose things, crush things, open things, etc, etc, etc. I won't even go into the question of how she got in - I know these things can happen - but when the bathroom door is only one metre away from the bedroom door and we live in a pokey little house with timber floors so the sound carries crystal clear, I want to know how come Daddy did not hear her ripping everything off the pegboard and throwing it on the desk, the floor, the chair, etc, etc, etc!!!!! I'm sure she can hear me open a packet of rub-ons at fifty paces, so fast is her response to come hurtling into my room to ask if she can scrap too yet Doug didn't hear a sound as she wrecked my ENTIRE scrapping space. The worst part is that I can't even get him to put it all back because he has no idea where it all goes and doesn't know what's not frequently used and thus goes to the back of the racks and what gets used frequently so needs to be at the front. It's all a bit upsetting as I had a layout in my head tonight and now I can't do anyting until I put everything away first. I had even cleaned my desk up before I went out so I could scrap when I got home!!! Oh the injustice of it all! And Caeligh's response? "sorry Mama I won't do it again!" with a screwed up little smirk on her face and rolling eyes and a tone of voice which actually meant "oh give me two seconds and I'd do it all again for ya Ma!!!!".

Oh and she ripped that layout I did last night as well. Pity if anybody wanted to pub it and I don't like it so much I'd redo it so into the back of an album she goes now! So now I am going to reorganise my scrapping supplies - involuntarily!!!! Definitely a glass of red moment methinks!

Cya, Lu

Feeling less frazzled today

I've woken up feeling less frazzled than I was yesterday. I'm taking notice of my word for the year - chill - and I've decided to do just that. There's no point working myself up over every little thing because that won't actually fix any of it, just leave me feeling depressed and deflated. So I'm going to just put the ducks in a row and shoot them all one by one!!!!!! lol No, I mean I will deal with everything in a calm and orderly fashion and try not to rush to the mental fire escape like I did yesterday when I let everything get on top of me.
I did sit down and do the Dares challenge (Window to my soul) but I'm afraid it was a reflection of how I felt last night, even though I like it and it happened in an hour flat! That's fast for me these days. The photo isn't great and I haven't scanned it yet so the alphas are actually inked bright red with black scribbly outlines, it's just hard to see on that shot and it looks a bit dark now I have a good ponder about it! Sorry about that chief!
The journalling reads: "Some days it's easier to have the curtains closed.....than to deal with anyone who wants to look inside". I guess to me it means that I sometimes withdraw myself even from those closest to me while I do my own mental/emotional stocktake and can bounce back to my usual self. It's not that I don't appreciate external love and support, it's just that I think I can sort things out faster in my own mind if I don't have to concentrate on other people at the same time. Cass will totally get what I mean by that because she's watched me slowly flake out over the last few days and she knows she just has to sit and wait for me to come back - which I have this morning!!! Love ya babe and I don't know what I'd do without you, who knows when to sit back and wait and when to come charging in with the cavalry!!!!
Cass and I are going to head off to Spotlight this afternoon and have a little motor around the place. I really wanted to get to the Paper Arts thingy (hi Jill I will definitely say hi if I make it over there!!!) but Cass went yesterday for the trade show for Cyberscraps and I don't know if I want to trundle about by myself. That's a bit nigel-no-friends really........and the last time I took Doug he very kindly sat down with two of the kids (Caeligh being only a couple of weeks old a few years ago) and kept them entertained while I did the smash and grab around the stalls by myself. If I go alone there's nobody to tell me that I don't need this and that and do I really want to spend that much on whatever......maybe it's safer if I don't go! I have to make my money last this fortnight as I don't get my first real full pay from my new client for another 13 days so best hang on to the cash methinks!
I'm working this morning but that's okay. Doug is over at his mum's place with James and Caeligh and the big boys are at their dad's place this weekend. Hope Blayd's cricket match went well today. We've got this little talisman thing going now where I tell him to retire before he leaves to play any match and it's brought him much luck so far so I never forget to say it to him now. I think it has a placebo effect really and he plays better as a result of him thinking I've bestowed the luck on him by saying it. Cute but hey who cares, as long as it works for him!
I'm going back to my typing but I really appreciate everyone who has come and had a look and those of you who have taken the time to leave a comment. Jas I hope you have fun at the wedding and Lusi I hope Brett's feeling better in no time. Prayers for him from me and enjoy your weekend.
Cya, Lu

Friday, 16 March 2007

Extremely scattered Friday

Well I know it's been a while (almost a week!!!) since I said much of anything to anyone. It's been a mentally difficult week and those who know me know I'm a bit scatterbrained at the best of times and I find it very difficult to concentrate most of the time. I've made the leap (well kind of been pushed by circumstances) to running my own business for myself. Previously I worked for myself but didn't have to do all the paperwork and the admin side of things so I had it pretty easy and really it didn't count. This week I've had my first contract negotiation meeting which was nerve wracking. I knew how much I wanted to make but wasn't sure it was how much the client was willing to pay. Thankfully I got pretty much what I wanted and financially it's been a real blessing for us. Now I have to learn how to manage that money and the whole minefield of dealing with the tax office, working out what I can claim and what I can't and finding a way to make that money work for us. I'm not a numbers person - quite honestly it all gives me a migraine even thinking about it - but I'm also not a tolerant person of whiners either, the people who say it's too hard, I can't do it, it's too difficult, so I have no choice but to knuckle down now and find out what I need to know to do it myself so I don't turn into the kind of person I dislike. I've always been very confident and figured I could do whatever I wanted to if I had to and now will be a great time to prove to myself that I really can do something even if I think it looks hard now.

The kids have been "difficult" this week. Isn't that a polite term? They've been real little four letter words actually and both Doug and I have been really snappy and cranky as a result, thankfully not both at the same time! Caeligh decided today that she didn't want to go to ballet - as we walked in the door. She was fine at home, fine getting dressed, wavered a bit at Cass's place while Lily got ready but was okay again until we arrived. Then she clung to me, whined, cried, yelled, refused and generally chucked a hissy fit. Can't even tell you why. Don't even really care myself actually. It was just not the day for it in my books but I did persevere for a few minutes, putting her on the floor and trying to leave just to have her chase me outside the room and grab on again. The last time I checked they didn't beat them with sticks or anything so ballet surely can't be that bad. I think I gave up after having all the "perfect life patrol" mummies glare at me from the sidelines in the performance room (pretty accurate considering what Caeligh turned on for me and everyone watching) each time I brought her back inside. I'm normally a no-nonsense mummy and don't take crap but today I've just felt overwhelmed by the new responsibilty of running a business, by the stressy week with all four kids doing their utmost to test our patience and because I have just felt really "not with it" today ALL DAY. I'm cranky and grumpy and I don't know if it's anything in particular or just a combination of all of it. Probably all of it I guess. I can only deal with one disaster at a time so like any self-respecting mummy I packed madam up and took her home. I just could have done without the looks and the stares and you know the kind of mummies I'm talking about - the khaki and Ralph Lauren polo shirt wearing kind (thanks to Cass for this new classification of mummy that we've noticed lately). So that was how my Friday ended up and now I'm sitting here.....

I want to scrap but I don't know if I CAN scrap. You know what I mean? The will is there but I think when there's so much in my head it all gets tangled and my poor ol' mojo just gets lost in the clutter! Maybe I should do a layout about my overcrowded brain. Clearly there's not enough room left for rational though so maybe I should just open a bottle of wine instead. Oh no that sounds alcoholic!!!! lol I'll get a Coke and see if I can scrap anything. Between you and me I honestly believe that if a glass of wine while you make dinner calms your frazzled nerves and lightens your mood so you have just that little bit more patience with your kids then go for it. It's only if that one glass doesn't hit the sides and you need a second that you might be in for trouble.....

Does anyone have anything fun planned for this weekend? I'd love to hear about it if you do, hell I'd love to hear about it even if you're going to stay in and do laundry!!! Maybe we can have a contest about who's going to have the most mundane weekend? I've got a freebie pack of some Marah Johnson papers, chipboard and stickers for anyone who wants to leave a hi, hello or "I'm having a boring weekend" comment because I'm basically sad and want someone to talk to!!!! lol If you were going to say hi anyway then lucky timing for you! I'll get my "give that girl an Oscar" performer to randomly choose a comment and I'll let you know Monday who gets the goods.

I'm now going to try to get something done with the pile of paper I possess. Surely something will come to mind. Have a wonderful if boring weekend and thanks for having a read!

Cya, Lu

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Sometimes happiness only costs three bucks.....

Well we did the markets this morning (quickly mind you, the heat here in Brissy today is phenomenal - hotter two weeks into autumn than it has been most of the summer) and went with the entire peanut gallery of five kids (mine plus a nephew). Apart from the usual jostling, shoving, wandering, name calling, touching even when told not to and general mucking about they weren't too bad! I know I'm in for a few lean weeks while the new work arrangements get sorted out so I figured I would pick up a few things now that I love that will last me and cheer me up when I'm technically a starving artist (working but not getting paid yet!). Funnily enough I found out today that happiness in little doses costs about three bucks!!! It was funny - I didn't set out to have a set amount, just basically cheap and cheerful was what I was looking for. I do my best to be low maintenance!!!! lol I ended up with, as above, a pair of hair clips, a strawberry fake ruby studded ring, a bunch of short stemmed red rosebuds and a single strand of blue beads and a double strand of jade green beads. Would you believe that all of these cool things were only $3 each?!?!?!?!?! That's what I call low maintenance! And I love these things to bits, they make me happy and for $3 that's a bargain!

I also went and got another temporary tattoo......couldn't help myself! I know I eventually want a real one but I'm test driving a few different temp ones to see what I like and where! I'm quietly horrified at how I look from behind now, having contorted myself to take the pic in fornt of a mirror. Oh my hat those stretch marks!!!!! I had no idea they looked like that!!! And there also appears to be a considerable amount MORE OF MY BUTT than I remember!!!!! See what happens if you don't keep a close eye on it? It multiplies with each kid and then you scare yourself in the mirror when you thought you were being funky-cool-hip-sexy and what you end up with is a tattoo which looked SO MUCH BIGGER when I looked at it BEFORE it was placed onto what looks, to me, like a VAST EXPANSE OF BAHOOKIE and now it looks microscopic and to cap it off I actually look really blotchy, which, in fact, I'm not, but that's what you get for trying to DIY these kinds of things!
Fun day overall!!!!! Working tomorrow......well I'm working every day nowadays, now I think about it. Something else to sort out during the week is a meeting to agree on that whole hours versus time and money thing.......ucky but necessary.
I love the new How Dare You challenge - "Window to my soul".......I could get all deep but right now I feel about as deep as a teaspoon so I think it's going to have to go some other way! I also found a cool blog last night and instantly emailed the link to Cass. If you love Cass's style then you might like this one too - www.hmitm.blogspot.com which stands for How Much Is Too Much. Very cool and while I don't know if I'll be able to get the challenges right all the time - sometimes there are number challenges and if my layout says something different then I'll have to do that instead and forget the original challenge as one must do what the paper tells one to! - but I've loved looking at the talent on display! Pop over if you like something different cos they're a fun and very talented group of gals!
Have a fab week and thanks for having a looksee!
Cya, Lu

Empty but still exciting

Cass planned a little surprise for Cath last night and we arranged to meet her in the (almost) empty shop (Ainsworth Street, Salisbury) before our DT meeting last night. We felt like a pair of schoolgirls it was all so exciting. Cass bought us matching pink tshirts, we both wore our jeans, our K&Co Frippery bracelets with our kids' photos on them and Cath had made us both Cyberscraps calico aprons with the store name and our name printed on them so we wore those too. We grabbed a bottle of champers and a welcome sign I had made yesterday and off we went.

Cath was so surprised to see us all trussed up for work! But she seemed very tickled too, seeing the reality of it standing in front of her. The huge photoframe for the front window is up. It's nine openings with 12x12 frames in each one and it's full of mine and Cass's layouts. We did give Cath a pile of layouts we liked and she chose the ones she wanted to use. It's so cool to look at that shop window and see your own stuff looking back at you. All of the slatwall is in, the paper racks and gondolas are in as well but there's still SO much more to get done. We tossed around a (very tentative) opening date of 19 March which is only eight days away but it, like so much else so far, is dependent on things like Telstra organising the phone lines, eftpos etc etc and things like the new awning going in and the pain in the butt side of things like converting price info from one computer program into an accounting program and pricing absolutely everything we stock individually. Cass and I will be busy this week putting the "personal touches" on the shop like OTP things we've done that we will be able to use as well as be decorative and finalising class details.

Until I have a meeting next week with the doctors' practice I'm now working for I won't really have any idea how much time (daylight time anyway) that I can spend in the stop. Weekends aren't a biggie and so far I've allowed for evening classes but daytime would be so good. There's every chance after all the hoo haa about the job changeover that when I have this meeting we won't be able to agree on money versus hours etc and I may end up walking out with nothing. I used to think that was terrifying but since I've had my faith strengthened by things, people and events of late, I know that if that happens it will be okay. I know we'll manage somehow and that we will get by. I've got an inner calmness now that keeps telling me that I don't have to compromise on what I need to get by and I don't have to settle for less than what I want or more hours than I can afford to be away from my kids and that if it comes to that, I can stand up, thank them for the time we've worked together and walk out happy and peaceful about it.

This morning we're off to the flea markets to have a look around. The kids (not to mention me!) have a bit of an obsession with temporary tattoos at the moment so that's what they've been waiting for all week. Cass's son Scott (my nephew) stayed over last night so we're about to pack all of them up and head out. All I want to look at is cheap pretty jewellery, I want to find some more strands of cheap plastic beads for my collection, a new temporary tattoo (just cos I like them!) and maybe some flowers for the house. I don't buy flowers often but it's one of those things that I've started doing agin, in keeping with the " doing things that make me feel pretty" philosophy. I can look at them and I can put them in my hair or something. Well it's Sunday as well and I'm pretty sure I promised myself some scrap time this afternoon so I'll have to get onto that too. I've used the Marah Jonhson Caution Boy and Caution Girl papers but I've been saving the Love Struck ones. I want one of the kids to take some pics of Doug and I together as we have so few and I'll use those methinks.

Have a beautiful Sunday and remember to do something to make yourself feel pretty today!

Cya, Lu

Friday, 9 March 2007

Some days I don't get it......

Okay now I'm having just a little poke at the mag editors here......there are some days when so much of my stuff gets rejected in one hit that I wonder whether the editor even looked at it or just hit the "dump that crap" button on her little email program!!!!! I have to say that I actually really like the above two layouts but especially love the "disaster area" one that I did about my sons' room. Maybe it was just the combination of brand spankin' new products, a couple of cool paint techniques that I hadn't done before and that I personally just think I created a really great layout which to me would have said "good chance of getting pubbed". C'mon now, surely you know what I mean - don't you sometimes do a layout, an OTP, an ATC or whatever, and sit back and look at it and go "I can't believe I just did that cos it's so damn good!!!!!" It may not happen every time you sit down (I know it doesn't for me that's for sure and I have the "not for publication" layouts hidden away in an album to prove it! lol) but sometimes, just sometimes you come up with that gem that is just amazing even to you, the person who created it. It's when layouts like that get rejected the same day you subbed them that I start wondering what's going on. Yes I KNOW that some mags have more layouts accepted already than they know what to do with, and I KNOW that my style isn't representative of a large proportion of the scrapbooking community (but isn't that the idea? - to show the whole spectrum of styles?) and I KNOW I should be grateful for what I've already had pubbed (which I totally am, believe me!) but no matter how good your self esteem is, when you create something that you personally can summon a bit of self-pride up about, and even the best stuff you've ever turned out gets rejected, it does knock one's sense of abilty somewhat, makes me question how good am I really? I'm not having a wallow, I'm just musing about the things in life I don't understand. It's all well and good for us to say to ourselves as scrappers "it's okay if you don't get stuff pubbed, as long as you like it that's fine" but some of us want to have that recognition, that affirmation that we really are great at something that is purely from the heart stuff, not mummy stuff, not employee stuff, not wifey stuff. Y'all know what I'm talking about here.
Does anyone want to share thoughts on this one? I know there are lots of scrappers who've never cracked a pub even though they've subbed literally hundreds of layouts. I know some scrappers who have just about everything that springs forth from their hands accepted. I'm kind of middling here - I've subbed probably about a hundred layouts and my acceptances are listed down on the left hand side here on my blog. It's not a great strike rate but better than some. The irony of it all is that some of those layouts that have been accepted are not, in my opinion anyway, the best I've done so I sit and ponder why they were accepted while others are in my belief fantastic layouts for my level of ability and my style and yet they weren't taken. It maybe comes back to those factors I talked about before but everything aside, do you as a scrapper who wants to get something published have the same amazement when on fire great layouts are rejected and the not-so-fab ones are accepted? Are you at the point where you don't know what magazine editors want at all anymore because you can't seem to come up with it? - no matter how many times you've subbed and no matter how many styles or themes you've tried???? Or are you so well pubbed that you don't fret over the rejections any more and do what you like whether you think it might get pubbed or not?
It's my bugbear for the weekend now, this whole subbing thing. Is anyone willing to share their experiences about trying to get published? It may help a lot of others who have never submitted anything and those of us who routinely sub can sit and empathise.
Let me know what you think girls, because another common theme I'm hearing lately is that many of us "freestyle" scrappers are missing out on pubs just because our techniques are too detailed, too complicated, too different or (and I find this hard to believe) too "out there" for the traditional scrapping magazines. I could start another tirade against the PLB (perfect life brigade) here but I won't - but I do hold some of them responsible for freestyle and especially reality scrapping being a less frequently pubbed style. My life is not all perfect photos, rulers, straight edges, co-ordinating stickers and sunshine. My life, like me, is messy, grungy, fun and funky sometimes, with sometimes a few uneven edges, organic, rich, soak-it-up, raw, real, alive, breathing and kicking!!!!!! I asked Cass today whether somebody - ANYBODY - would consider a scrapping magazine targeted at freestyle, "out there" (whatever the hell that's meant to mean), non-conventional and reality scrapping. It seems like we have to resort to blogs, challenges, crops and gatherings of like minded scrappers to see the kind of stuff I know I would want to see in a mag at the newsagent. Right now we have three very mainstream scrap mags in Australia. I don't know if there is room for a fourth but maybe one of the papercrafts mags could embrace the idea?
If you've got any thoughts on this then please share!!! I know it's a hot topic among lots of scrappers of all levels of publication, or not, as is sometimes the case and I'm curious about what you think. If you think I'm an up myself idiot you can say that too but surely we've got opinions about the whole publication thing?
Talk to me dah-ling, tell me your deepest inner most thoughts.......no, no! just the scrapbooking ones!!!!!!
Love, Lu

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Excuse me Miss - my brain is full.......

I went to a whole day Making Memories trade class today!!! It was so wonderful to sit, with no kids, no menfolk, no work, and just scrap. Well it wasn't exactly just scrapping whatever we wanted. We did the better part of an entire 32 page 9 x 9 album in about 7 hours! It was fast paced, high pressure scrapping! The pages were really simple and basic, that being the idea so we could then teach beginners to use the products and create well put together layouts with minimal effort. I'll confess it was absolutely not my kind of scrapping at all. Everything was done from an instruction book which contained a layout on each page plus measurements for all the paper and cardstock we'd use for each layout, plus basic instructions on how to put it all together. But when Cyberscraps opens the doors the ideas I got today will definitely make things easier when it comes to class ideas and workshops. We ended up getting all the product for the whole album (including chipboard, alpha stickers, metal alphas, paper flowers, crystal brads, rub-ons, paint and all the patterned papers) as well as a beautiful chocolate brown leather bound ring binder album for our layouts. It is just gorgeous! We all got a lunch pail (the tall rectangle tin) with lots of goodies inside and I won a lucky door prize of Making Memories products including Tiny Alphas, ColorBoard stickers, some paint, a pad of 6x6 embellishment papers, the jumbo paper flowers with crytal brads, a Boho Chic tin frame and photo corner set plus a way cool set of Summer Fun foam stamps that I haven't seen before. They are sooooo cute and I can't wait to do some of the beach layouts from this summer. We managed to get to the beach (thanks to Cass's sponteneity) so much more this year and got amazing pics of the kids. Honestly we worked so fast all day that by about 3pm my poor brain was on the verge of collapse!!!! It didn't help that I'm a bit picky about photos and stuff and we were mainly meant to work with 6x4 which I have almost none of, and we were told to bring one theme of photos but it turned out we needed pictures of ourselves and our interests as it was meant to be an All About Me album by the time we were done. So rather than use whatever I had to hand for pics I decided to leave most without photos so I could come back tonight and print out exactly what would go best with the papers and with the theme. We're going to use it as a display in the store so I want to be sure it looks great, not just average! The two American ladies from MM were absolutely lovely and Gail, who took the class today, was so OTT and fun!!! Would you believe they both wore matching lilac purple cardigans with the MM logo embroidered on them - is that cute or what????? (I'm not saying anything.............not a word!).

It looks like lightning outside, some more rain would be nice! Tomorrow is work for me until about 2pm and then Caeligh needs picked up from kinder and it's off to ballet. Last week she didn't last the whole class because she has the attention span of a budgie but she's still enthusiastic about going so that's what counts. I want to get some more Marah Johnson layouts done now that she and her DT have put examples of her stuff into our product showcase album in the Cyberscraps gallery but I really have too much typing at the moment so it's going to have to wait until Saturday methinks, and then because I'm working Sat morning and we have a meeting Saturday afternoon/evening at Cath's place to talk about the shop, DT stuff and all that jazz it may not be until Sunday even! That's okay - my mojo has been seriously compromised after today's efforts so it may take a few days to get back to normal. My nephew Scott is coming over for a sleepover Sat. night and all the boys want to go to the Rocklea markets on Sunday morning and get temporary tattoos. I can't say much because I ended up getting one of my own last week!!!! hee hee I got a heart with wings - the pic is above - to see if I would get used to it because I have wanted to get a tattoo for as long as I can remember, as well as get my nose pierced, but haven't done either as yet. I've had a few "out there" things done - my belly button twice (not that it's an out there thing anymore!) and I've had my tongue pierced - two studs at once, not had it done once and had to have that one re-pierced). It's not a new or fad thing for me and is just another part of me wanting to embrace and accept me for who I am inside. And me on the inside likes the occasional tatt and body piercing and bright red hair and green eyeshadow and lots of pink clothes!!!

I'm going to go get some work done now so I'm not up too late. I didn't fall into bed until 2.30 this morning (Doug and I curled up on the couch with a couple of glasses of red after the kids went to bed last night and we sat and watched music videos on Foxtel and laughed and kissed and made fun of each other's sad 80's fads and clothes - I love being in love with him - "he gets me" for those who are regular readers so I know you know what I mean). So I definitely want more sleep tonight so I can have an early start tomorrow.

Thank you so much for having a read. It's so cool that you took a few minutes out of your probably stupidly busy, hectic, crazy day to sit and find out about my stupidly busy, hectic, crazy day! I honestly am really flattered that people take the time to visit when there are so many cool blogs out there. I don't blogsurf nearly as much as I'd like so I totally appreciate the time you've taken to have a look at my blog when you could be doing a gazillion other things.

Have a wonderful weekend where ever in the world you are and thanks for stopping by.

Cya, Lu

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Never alone

The photo on the far left is Caeligh with a Marah Johnson rub-on of a heart with angel wings as a tattoo. She practically begged me to put one on her. I don't know why she thought it was a tattoo but she was tickled when I put one on her arm!

Today I'm grateful for my own personal miracle. I had a situation which to me seemed impossible, torn between loyalty and opportunity with no clear way ahead. I knew the pros and cons of both sides and worried myself sick with all the different outcomes that could have happened. I had to choose between loyalty to a very close friend with whom I still wanted to remain close and the chance to better my work situation, hopefully giving me more time with my family but without sacrificing the pay we have come to rely on to get by each week. I just didn't know what to do, what would be best for everyone including me and my family? I decided to hand it over to God because it was a far bigger tangle than I could ever have hoped to sort out alone. I prayed that whatever happend it would be a peaceful, accepting resolution for everyone involved and most importantly that it would be God's will and that I would find peace in myself regardless of what happened.
Today the situation has been resolved and I am so humbled and thankful to the Lord for the way things have come about, for understanding on every side, for the grace and goodwill in which things have unfolded and for the amazing sense of security and peace I now have that things will be okay. For me it was a huge leap of faith to hand over this situation as I'm only just getting to know God in my life, a bit of a newbie so to speak and it seemed like a lot to give over to a virtual stranger iykwim? I can't tell you what a difference 24 hours has made to my faith and I have to thank Lusi also. Thank you for your guidance, love, support and prayers and for teaching me how to hand something over to the Father and to trust enough that He will hear and do what is best for me. I'm not normally a big "holy roller" as the cynics call it but I wanted to share it because it shows what can happen even if you don't know God that well and just have a little bit of faith.
So right now I'm feeling so elevated and to top it all off I've had a very productive 24 hours of scrapping too! Something else to be thankful for! I've got the Marah Johnson papers in my bag and I've been using them to create a couple of layouts. I only took photos (up above) I havent' scanned them properly, just photos as Cass is coming over later to scan them back at her place. I really liked the grungy, funky papers and embellishments and can't wait to do a bit more with them.
I'm off to a Making Memories trade class tomorrow which is v.cool. Not sure what we'll get to play with but Cass went today and said apparently I'm going to be doing a whole album tomorrow of 16 layouts!!!! My poor brain can't even comprehend that many layouts in a day but apparently the MM ladies work at a cracking pace and you just have to keep up so I guess I'll just hang on and try to enjoy the ride. I'm a bit freaked though because it took me three hours today just to do the "disaster area" layout above. The title is actually "Just Your Average Garden Variety Disaster Area". The one with Caeligh is called - v.appropriately - Troublemaker. I spent way much more time faffing about with the "disaster" one than I had planned to but I'm so glad I did because I completely love it. The boys are both incredibly embarrassed that their messy room is going to be on my layout and were even more mortified when I said it would be on my blog for dozens of other mummies to look at too!!! lol Gee I hope it gets accepted for publication!!!!! I wonder if that will be enough motiviation for them to clean their rooms........?
Have a fab evening and thanks for stopping by. I'm going to go sort out some reinforcements to take with me tomorrow to this trade class but I'll definitely post when I get home tomorrow and show you what we got up to!
Cya, Lu

Monday, 5 March 2007

V.productive day plus MARAH JOHNSON IS IN!!!!!

Be warned though that supplies are limited at the moment as we were not sure about its popularity so if you really are desperate to get your hands on some then you had better get cracking!!!!! Find it at http://www.cyberscraps.com.au/ and search by manufacturer for the quickest path to scrapping nirvana!!!!!!! I've just picked up my design team order and the papers are to die for, the swatch books of rub-ons are screamingly gorgeous and the brads and matching ribbons are knicker-wettingly fabulous!!!!! And the best part is that it's all at terrific prices so you can afford to go a little bit crazy and buy as much as you want!!!
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.........

Had a v.productive day today at Cass's place, getting layouts done on the BG Scarlet's Letter, the new Cosmo Cricket paper and my Asian inspired How Dare You layout for the current challenge.

The one up the top is the Scarlet's Letter and I got funky with two whole packets of BG rub-ons. Pretty but a leetle bit on the expensive side for the everyday! I liked the end result though.
The one to our left here is the Basic Grey Pheobe papers and monograms with some L'il Davis chipboard alphas that I've grown very fond of since I got them a few weeks ago. I also couldn't stop at just paper piecing with this one and I had to add hot pink Kindy Glitz and stick on gems as well.
This is my Asian inspired layout for How Dare You. I didn't actually know for sure what I was going to do and then settled on this one - totally not my kind of style at all - but still really happy with it. Different but my kind of different IYKWIM?
So I'm glad I got three very different layouts done today. It's always nice to squeeze in anything else apart from a single token layout, especially with three toddlers running around the house as well!
I got all excited at the thought of Cyclone Odette - the papers were all bleating about how it would spell the end of the drought in our part of the world (which is apparently all that matters so it seems the farmers out west can just all bugger off as long as the city slickers can keep their lawns green - excuse the sarcasm!!! lol). As it turns out Odette is like any woman, fickle and prone to changing her mind on a whim (I will at least admit to it!!!) and now she's become a bit of a non-event which is disappointing because it's so badly needed - the rain I mean. The occasional scattered shower does nothing but remind you what rain looks like, not fill dams or anything helpful like that! We did the National Carbon Test last night on TV - well Blayd had to do it for homework for his environmental studies unit so we all kinda got roped into doing it as well. I have to say we aren't doing as badly as I had thought but there is always room for improvement and goodness knows things have to change for everybody's sake so I've gotten a timer for the bathroom to limit showers as apparently hot water is a big chunk of household carbon contributions. It turns out that red meat and dairy are also so apparently if you are a mung bean loving dyed in the henna vegetarian then you are certified better for the environment that the rest of us. We only eat red meat here maybe once per week but with four kids dairy features pretty highly on the menu and I don't think I'm prepared to face the revolt if I tried to cut that back due to environmental reasons so we'll find other ways to cut back.
I'm off to get dinner ready now. Doug has been kept back at work for two hours later than normal as he has an excursion to prepare for so he'll be a while still and the natives are getting restless. I've worked out that if I get one of the older ones to watch the littler ones in the bath while I get dinner then I can have them all fed, watered and washed in record time and I'll be able to sit down and break out all the new Marah Johnson. I can't tell you how slightly painful it is to have it here in front of me but not be able to touch any of it yet. How dumb am I??? Here I am blogging on to you lot when I could have been scrapping already!!!!! lol Just kidding - I actually really like blogging and spilling my tales of horror and misfortune each day and when I lost my internet for almost a whole day last week I felt as if I'd had a limb amputated!!!! That's bad and sad at the same time! lol So I'll do what I have to and THEN I'll get to scrap later. Golly it's hot here in Brisbane tonight - it must still be close to 30 and it's almost dark. Time to crank up the very bad air conditioner and get the cooking over and done with.
Remember if you want the Marah you gotta move fast girls!!!!! Have a fab night!!!
Cya, Lu

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Birthday Glimpses

This is my punishment for being stupid at Blogger!!!!! Sorry about the mess!

Happy Birthday To My (not so) Baby Girl!!!

Well Her Royal Highness is 3 today!!! What an amazing three years they have been. Our lives have definitely been changed forever by the arrival of one tiny baby girl in a house full of lots of boys and me, the token female! I was beginning to wonder if the only Barbie dolls I'd ever buy would have to be for myself!

Naturally Caeligh has been up since sparrow fart, not even daylight yet so we all got dragged out of bed for the present opening ceremony. She's done okay for herself too! She got a pink and purple Leap Pad for reading, two new Barbies, a huge Dora The Explorer playdough set and moulds, new clothes, lots of plastic shiny princessy jewellery, a dress up set complete with $2 plastic "hooker shoes" as I call them, a paint-your-own-suncatcher set, even more hair accessories, a set of bouncy balls, a box of seashell chocolates (thanks to Lachie for the idea because he figured if he bought her chocolates she'd have to share them with him - overly optimistic little soul he is!!!) and a few other bits and pieces. Her gran has bought her the pram and she'll be over later no doubt. Then we have to go and get her brothers from their dad's place and I believe the plan is to go to Crazy Critters for a play. Right now she's settled in front of the "tee wee" while clutching a pile of Dora playdough moulds to her chest.

Talk about surprising - Caeligh had opened everything and stood to survey her haul when she looked up at Doug and I and said "thank you for all my presents Mummy and Dad". I was completely gobsmacked for a second, and then I had an indulgent moment of thinking I obviously hadn't done such a sucky job of being a mum if the 3 year old gets the concept that we had to go out and buy all her presents and then thinks to thank us for them!!!

I don't know what breakfast will be yet. We usually let the birthday kid pick what they want (within reason of course - Froot Loops haven't featured on our birthday menu here in quite a few years now - the whole day of tears and hyperactivity just isn't worth it) but I think it might be pancakes or toast with a smiley face imprinted on it. Oh speaking of food now I've got to go and get myself organised to make her cake. Unfortunately pretty much all of the decorations you see in the shops and bakeries are loaded with artificial colours, flavours and preservatives which means that only Lachie could eat them (Blayd, James and Caeligh all have food intolerance issues) so I'll have to buy a cheap piping bag set while we're out and about today so I can make icing using the natural plant based food colourings I bought a little while back.

I'm off to take breakfast orders and to see what the birthday girl is up to!

Have a relaxing Sunday (if you can!).

Cya, Lu

Saturday, 3 March 2007


Things I am grateful for right now today are:

(1) I still have a job and while I haven't made as much this week it's better than nothing
(2) I am grateful that our van keeps chugging along with very few problems even though she's getting old
(3) I'm grateful that I am able to buy Caeligh presents for her birthday tomorrow and that her brothers will be coming home a day early to celebrate with her
(4) I'm grateful for considerate companies like Heidi Swapp who replace rub-ons that stick to the backing paper instead of the layout
(5) I am grateful that while I don't have everything I want, I have everything I need and then some - my life is more blessed than I acknowledge
(6) I am grateful for my Dougie, a kind, strong, passionate, considerate man who does his best every day even though he wishes he could do more, who understands that a man's house is not his castle but a haven for his family, a man who believes that a real man's place is right next to his wife "in the trenches" doing laundry, picking up toys, chaning nappies, making kindy lunches, cooking and cleaning and sharing it all equally and then sometimes doing even more than his fair share because he wants to help. I'm grateful every single day of my life that God brought us together and while we don't have the perfect relationship I know it's as close as lots of people will ever get and I also know that if I died tomorrow my kids would not want for anything. I'm grateful for that security and that comfort.

So there you go. Thanks again to Lusi who's beautiful soul and passion for life and God inspires me to focus on what I have to be grateful for and to live a better life because of the blessings I already have. It's amazing to know there are people in this world who care so much about others.

Definition of love

I don't know about you guys but sometimes Doug and I find ourselves lying in bed and having THE chat, about why we're together and what we like about each other. It's a fun reminder of why we're here together rather than with anybody else. He gave me the usual reasons last night "I love you", "you're fun to be with", "you make me laugh" and then he came out with one that I've never EVER heard him say before. It brought a whole new meaning to how much our relationship means to both of us because it's definitely reciprocal but I've just never put it in the same words as him before.

He said "You get me".......I can't believe how powerful those three words were and it suddenly brought home to me how much I meant to him, far more than any of the usual reasons people give for being together. He considers me the one person in the whole world who knows him inside and out and understands and accepts him completely, why he is the person he is, why he lives, loves and laughs the way he does. I actually had a bit of a Kleenex moment!!!!

I just thought I'd share because it's going to make it's way onto a layout over the weekend because to me it's a significant moment in our relationship and I want our kids to one day be able to read and know exactly how much we love each other and why. Hopefully it will help them to make the right choices down the track when it comes to finding someone to share their lives with.

That's so cool when a layout virtually creates itself in your head in only a split second!!! Can't wait to get started on that but I also have to do my Cyberscraps Get Real Challenge for this month. I asked what did people want to be when they grew up. Not what their parents thought they should be or the "sensible" choice but as a child what was their real burning desire to be? I'll give you a free laugh and say I wanted to be a pop star - urm Kylie Minogue to be exact!!! lol Obvioulsy things haven't panned out for me in that department (DUH!!!!) but for a long time it was a very cherished and very realistic plausible career choice! So I'll be doing a layout about that. Cass wanted to be a movie star and I'm so proud of her that she is still pursuing her passion for acting, letting it run its parallel course along with the rest of her life. Maybe I should go and tick karaoke off the big list and I could say I've "touched the dream" just a little!!!

OOOHHHH OH OH OH OH!!!!! Very exciting news - we've got the keys to the new shop and we've started decorating and getting the shopfittings ready!!!! Even better is the large frame that will go in the front window today (hopefully) with three rows of three 12x12 frames in it that Cass and I are going to put some of our favourite layouts in to show people what the shop's all about before we open. If you're local or nosy or want to know where we are, the address is 32 Ainsworth Street, Salisbury (right opposite the Salisbury Bowls Club). We're right next to the second hand bookshop. Today also the carpet is going in and Cath, Cass and I are all going to go in and have a look around, get a touchy feel of the new painted walls, the new carpet and get a "feel" for our new place. It will also give us a chance to see exactly where everything is going to go. Up until now we've only been able to peek through the vertical blinds and look at a dark empty space but now we can have a pace around and see just how much room we have to work with. We want to be able to do everything in the space we've got so the shop will suit as many people as possible but until we see how successful (or not but I'd rather not think about that!!!) we are going to be we will have to work with the size of the shop that we have but it would be nice down the track to say we're doing so well that we'll need to move to one of the other shops further up that are bigger. Fingers crossed and we'll see how it all goes.........

Blayd will be at cricket and I hope he doesn't get rained out. Good luck baby!!!!

I hope you went and did something to make yourself feel special yesterday or maybe you can do something today. It's Saturday after all!!! Even if you have the drudgery of kids, housework or a job to go to take a moment to prettify your lovely self!!!!

Have a fab Saturday and thanks for stopping by. Remember to swing past and check out where we'll be opening if you're a local or you're in the area. We can't wait to fling open the door and meet everyone because I think having a scrapping shop is as much about making friendships as it is about creating layouts. Look forward to seeing you!!!

Friday, 2 March 2007

Hooray for Fridays!

So glad the week is over. The bigger boys are away at their dad's place, it's just Dougie, me and the little ones although Caeligh has enough noise and excitement to make up for ten other kids! She went to ballet today with no real argument but she was unsettled to start with so only lasted two thirds of the way through the class before she got to wandering about and not listening to instructions any more so she came outside where she proceeded to burn off more energy running about like a lunatic. I wish I had a fraction of that wacko power that keeps her going like the Energiser Bunny! lol

I've got to work tonight and I'm working until midday tomorrow which is okay. I've got to spend tomorrow afternoon getting the rest of Caeligh's bday presents for Sunday. She's already got a couple of Barbie dolls, a little make up set, a pink plastic vanity table and matching cheval mirror, she got a pretty shirt from the fam in Scotland and a bug catcher with a microscope built in from her aunt and uncle in Hervey Bay. It's so cool that they realise that she's not the average "princess" and will enjoy the bug catcher possibly more than the Barbie dolls I got her! I think her gran is getting her a mega fab doll pram with all the bells and whistles which she'll love because we walked to the shop yesterday with her pushing her cheap little plastic pram and it was about as fun for her to steer as the only trolley left in the supermarket with the wonky wheel that goes everywhere BUT where you want it to!

We've decided to take her up to Crazy Critters on Sunday for a play with James and Lily and Ronin. Blayd and Lachie are coming home early from their dad's place so they can spend the day with her and Lachie will have fun too but Blayd is technically too old to go into any parts of the indoor play centre and I can tell you now there will be major sookies and wobbles when he has to sit down with the adults and play gameboy instead of joining in with the others. How terrible to have to grow up........ I don't see why he can't go in to keep an eye on the littler ones. They let parents go in to play with their kids. Why can't her brother go in with her? Maybe I'll just tell him to go in but to keep himself under control with running about like an idiot kept to a minimum? Maybe that's why grown-ups aren't fun any more - we don't have playgrounds that cater for our size! Hello out there in blogland - somebody build an indoor play centre for grown ups!!!!!! If you have to you can call it a physical activity centre so people can feel better about going there.

I got ready for the school pick up and ballet today and even went to the trouble of make up! I decided this afternoon that I had a right to feel good about myself and considering I've been in a good mood all day I figured I'd let it show. So yes I went about my afternoon with silk roses in my hair, bright glittery pink toenails and my favourite green eyeshadow. I know that paints a really ghastly picture but honestly it isn't like that!!! lol Yes it may even sound drag queen but I promise it's not!!! I often wear green eyeshadow just because it makes my hazel eyes look even greener. And I figure if I have bright red hair then why can't I wear pink roses in it if I want!?!?!? And do you know what? I felt fab all afternoon! Just like I've grown really sick of the perfect life brigade, I've also gotten very impatient with the "you must act and dress your age otherwise you just look ridiculous and you must keep up appearances at all cost" brigade as well. You know them when you see them. They are perfectly groomed, probably took an hour to blow dry their sensible hairdos, wear leather mules (not that I dislike mules or anything - I have a pair but they are pink and fun, not beige and boring), have a sensible genuine leather handbag and minimal day makeup. I betcha lots of them honestly believe they couldn't wear anything more daring or outrageous, they would never ever consider a haircolour that didn't fit into the mahogany spectrum or the perfect ash blonde range. I'm holding up a small white flag and saying that yes, some of the sensible brigade are probably very proud of how well they keep themselves and are perfectly happy with their style but surely they all can't be? Surely some of them are just trying to be perfect wife/perfect mummy material?

I guess I'm just sick of nobody having any bloody fun lately!!!!!! If you have a favourite colour then why not wear it? Do something wild and different with your hair - it's just hair, at the very least you can always dye it "boring" again if you get freaked out and at the worst you can say you're shaving it all of for the Leukaemia Foundation and start again! Wear your favourite funky beads or sparkly bling to the supermarket. Try makeup in colours you've always wanted and get an honest friend to tell you if it works or not. Fabulous could be just a new eyeshadow palette away!!! Put flowers in your hair, find a pair of pretty thongs to see out the rest of the summer in, paint your toenails girly pink or vamp red or funky purple. Live in colour!!! Have a bit of fun for goodness sake!!!! If you are one of the fun and funky brigade then I completely applaud you! It comes down to loving yourself enough to let go of what other people might think and do the little things you can do each day to make yourself that little bit happier, feel that little bit freer in spirt and to be that little bit more accepting of yourself as a strong beautiful woman regardless of the package you are in right this minute! Oh holy cow I'm ranting now but I'm on a roll!!!!!! I'm a good 10-15kgs overweight, I've got some wrinkles, an age spot or two, a less then perfect smile and because I work from home there are days when I don't even have to get out of my jammies!!!! Some things I can change if I want to but other stuff I'm learning to accept. Along with all those things I do have an iron will, a loving heart, a kind soul and a fun spirit so as part of my journey to loving myself more I've decided to do all those little things that make me feel a bit happier each day. And I'll let you in on a little secret - Doug is more than a bit pleased that my idea of a treat is a new hair clip, a cheap and cheerful new eyeshadow or lip gloss or a pair of $10 hot pink thongs. See, easy to have fun and be low maintenance!!!!

I'm having one of those "I actually feel really great about myself " days so I'm not trying to yell at you girls - I guess I'm just trying to say that we all deserve to have those days and they shouldn't be so few and far between. Find the little things that make you feel pretty, sexy, carefree and happy because we deserve to feel this way EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Love you guys for coming and having a listen to my rants. Now go do something to prettify your gorgeous selves ladies!!!!

Kisses, Lu

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Yup the day didn't get any better.....

Oh at least I can say I was forewarned!!! The day lived up to its promise and at 11am my internet connection went down due to supposed "maintenance" which is really when you should do maintenance isn't it? - in the middle of a business day with no guarantee of how long it will be down??? Excellent idea over there at Telstra! NOT!!!! My internet was out until the salubrious hour of 6pm so no work done except for a few hours this morning. It doesn't help that there has been very little work this week anyway and I can see it being one of those weeks where we will end up earning diddly squat. Try to imagine, if you're a working mum, that someone cuts your pay in half one week. What would that do to your bills, your peace of mind and your sanity? Honestly I felt like I'd gone backwards six months today with my border collie deciding to sit under the house and bark not contiuously but regularly enough to tick off the neighbours all day and the cockroach infestation I had been victorious in defeating a month ago made a heroic resurgance today as well, because today was buggered anyway so why not go for gold???? My MIL dropped my sons off and had a blast at me about how cheeky one of my sons were (not her biological grandchild, just one of my kids) while I was trying to talk to the ever unhelpful Telstra on the phone about why I had no internet connection. I still have the bite marks in my tongue where I restrained myself from telling her exactly what I thought of her at that moment when I was already frazzled enough thanks very much!!!!! I had to walk to the post office to pick up a registered post which turned out to be my "Share" layout that For Keeps were returning to me, even though I'd spoken to FK just this morning and was told that the layout wouldn't be returned until the next issue was out (you'd really think there would be some record of where my layout was considering she knew from my name what the layout was called!) so that concerns me somewhat that she didn't know it had already been sent back to me! What if it had gone missing? I would never have known as I'd been told hours before that they still had it!

So now I'm on my second glass of red, the children have had their favourite dinner - "free for all" - which means you can eat anything for dinner as long as its within the diet, isn't chocolate or junk and will fill you up until breakfast. The internet is back on and I could do some of the v.limited work that is available for me but truth be told I really couldn't give a flying (inserte expletive here!) so I'll have my wine, get my babies into bed and watch SVU and CSI methinks!

On a bright note (cos you always have to look for them even on the darkest of days) FK did return my layout in perfect condition and Scrapbooking Memories sent me my VERY FIRST PUBLICATION CHEQUE!!!!! I did have one layout published by FK a couple of years ago but I never got the cheque for it and was "green" enough at the time not to worry about it because I was just so incredibly honoured to have something published. So technically SM's cheque is the first one I have received and I will absolutely scan it before I cash it. I'm sorry to confess that I'm far too pov not to cash the cheque and to hang on to it for its sentimental value. Sentimental value DOES NOT pay for groceries, doctors' appointments or power bills!!!!! It sure ought to but does not......

Fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow. Oh it's ballet - let me find my helmet and hunt around the room for my stern mummy resolve - where on earth did I leave that?????

Thursday Meltdown......

Aren't there some days you wake up and you just know it's all gonna go to hell in a handbasket and there's nothing you can do about it????? Today is that day - in my house at least (although after quick chat to Cass maybe it's her day like that too).

I woke up cranky (not really sure why - not PMS as I can't be bothered with monthlies so just take my pill continuously for four months at a time) so it wasn't the best start on my part. It just went downhill from there with the two older boys not wanting to get up and get going. I walked through what can only be described as a complete pigsty - not my boys' rooms, just the whole house!!!!! I try to do quick pick ups and vacuums during the week to keep the mess down and then on the weekends I do a bit more. Doug usually handles all the laundry during the week but it's a matter of getting it down to the actual laundry. Today though the whole house was awful, clothes left in the hallway instead of in the laundry basket in the bathroom, the bathroom floor covered in clothes, wet towels (from last night - see what they do when mums go to bed early???), magazines, bath toys, old toilet rolls (because hell a bin would be too good for those), the lounge room had baskets of laundry, breakfast bowls from the littlies, cups from last night, piles of magazines shoved all over the coffee table instead of in a neat stack, toys, rubbish, old newspapers on the couch, the kitchen was covered in breakfast and lunch making stuff by the time every body left and the sink was full (the saving grace was that somebody had turned the dishwasher on so that's why the sink got used instead), there were dirty tea towels on the floor and a GOOD TOWEL used to mop up milk someone had spilled.

Honestly I just walked from room to room feeling the veins in my neck bulging ever more each second as I surveyed the mess. I often wonder how people are happy to live like that all the time. I can't handle it even for a day anymore. I used to be a complete slob and once upon a time I wouldn't have cared but I know myself well enough now that I have more patience, better mental clarity and I'm happier if the house is tidy. I guess it's because I know that in the pecking order, even though scrapping is my favourite activity, it comes way behind everything else so all that crap has to get done first.

As Cass says, anger is a powerful cleaner!!!! So far I've done a couple of loads of washing, brought some more in, picked up in the loungeroom, walked about with a garbage bag picking stuff up, taken all the washing downstairs to the laundry and I've purposely turned the shower onto the bathroom floor to flood it - I've come to the conclusion that it's the only way to really properly clean the floor. I'm sick of mops and brushes that just move the hair and dust around which grosses me out so badly. So I got my super duper toilet cleaner (the White King stuff that will salvage even the grossest toilet - as mine was not fantastic either but that was a couple of weeks ago before I found this stuff!) I used it to clean the bathroom sink, the bathtub and the floor around the toilet. You know if you've got boy creatures (irrelevant of age!!!) that for some unknown reason that big round hole to wee in is actually a teensy weensy target to shoot at so the floor gets revolting after a little while. So I covered the floor and got my broom and used that to scrub the floor while the shower was on. I don't ever think that bathroom has been so clean!!!! The sad part is that it will all end as soon as the kids walk in this afternoon........ :(

I just get jack of making only 5% of the mess and having to clean 95% of it myself. The menfolk and the kids leave the house each day and I have to wonder if they think the cleaning fairy comes while I'm sitting here supposed to be typing, working, doing DT stuff and does all the cleaning for me and cos she seems to come every day it's okay to make mess because it will all magically be done by 3pm anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Do you get what I mean? Honestly how hard is it to pick up that bit of rubbish/clothing/toy/plate/cup/shoe/pencil/towel/food scrap that you're hot-steppin right over the top of on your way to somewhere else in the house? Is it? Is it really that hard????

Maybe the White King fumes have brought on an attack of the crackpot rages but I'm getting sick of it because nothing really changes no matter how often I stand in the mess and go seven shades of nuclear at them all! They don't even like to do chores for pity's sake! I tell you I'm going to start keeping their allowance and call it "cleaning and maintenance charges" and for each thing they start doing themselves like picking up their own clothes, hanging up towels, putting stuff away they've used and putting their plates in the dishwasher when they're done, I'll start giving them back their pocket money - a buck at a time - until I don't feel like they need to pay for a maid anymore!!!!!

Yeah you have a good laugh - I know it's only wishful thinking on my part!!!!! lol

Mmmmmmm Slider Love