Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thursday night pimpin' lol

How cool are these kits??!?!?!?!  Now these are the reason I wanted to become a part of Wicked Princesses because they are the best kits I've seen around in ages and I think the girls have done a fab job putting them together.  The Dragon Kit is definitely  my favourite and I have visions of heaps of cool teenage boy layouts with it but also some funky, modern stuff too.  Now y'all know I'm not much one for pimping stuff off my blog.  I do it when required but I don't love it in other bloggers so try not to do too much myself.  I do however like to share something good when I see it and some of you may want to get your inky mitts on some kit club action for free maybe.....?  Read on!

Wicked Princesses are giving away a 3 MONTH SUBSCRIPTION to either their Warlock or Enchantress kit!! (Winner will get to choose which they prefer).

All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog - you can find it here - between NOW and Dec 15th. The winner will be drawn randomly, with the first kit being the January edition.

That’s $120 worth of scrap goods, just for posting a comment !!!! Too easy!  And don't even try and tell me you've got nothing to say lol

There is also a great discount on at the moment if you love all three kits and want them NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!  Have a mosey over and check them out.


As for anything else?  Well, what can I guessed!  I thought things would be slowing down this time of year but I'm just getting busier and today I got another new client so hopefully that will tide me over through the Christmas/January period which usually tends to be slow as clients go on holidays etc.  I think - if I'm reeeeeeaaaaaaaly lucky - I'll get the week in between Christmas and New Year off.  I desperately want a longer holiday but it depends on when my private clients are having time off.

My Christmas tree is still sitting in its box in the hallway with bags of unopened decorations stacked on top of it :(  We have decided to rent in the area we'd like to eventually buy in, close to the kids' school and preferably within walking distance, and so we're in the process of finding a rental house.  We have an application in on one we like and it's perfect, with enough rooms for everyone and an office for me - YAY! - but we can't inspect it on the inside yet as the current tenants are still packing and moving out, maybe end of next week we can go and have a look.  I'm really hoping like hell that our application gets approved and we get the place.  It hasn't been easy so far with a couple of real estate agents suggesting we could offer more than the advertised rent on places we've looked at (yep, I know all that is supposed to be illegal now but it is still going on), and I'm also finding it incredibly difficult just to get to viewings of  places to rent.  These days viewings are geared toward the convenience of the agents; no more are the days of driving up, leaving your drivers licence and picking up the keys to have a walk through yourself.  These days agents advertise a time that suits them (and don't even think of suggesting another time that might be remotely more convenient for you- never happen!), you along with half the city turns out to have a walk through and then you basically need to get an application off the agent while you are standing in the house and have the equivalent of the first week's rent in your pocket to hand over with your application before they will even consider you!  So far we aren't doing so great on the "good tenant" scale, mainly because we have four kids, a dog and we're living in a housing commission house and therfore don't have rental references (even though bank statements can prove we've paid our rent on the dot for years).  Apparently we get sent to the back of the potential tenants list in favour of working couples, groups of students, people with fewer kids, people with no pets and people who have rental references.  I can understand the last one.  No real estate agent will ever tell you outright that it works that way but someone I know who used to manage rental houses for a real estate agent said that's pretty much exactly how it works.  I don't even know how to begin convincing property managers that all I want is a nice house with enough room for everyone that I can take care of like it was my own and make it a real home for us all.  Anyhow fingers crossed for the application we've got in now, I've given them business references from my clients etc and thank goodness they are fantastic so hopefully that will help.

I'm really looking forward to end of school as there are so many things on right now.  Groan in unison if you all understand! lol  There are concerts, afternoon teas, exhibition days, classroom displays, ceremonies and events in every direction!  I said I would make something nice for my kids' teachers this year - SO NOT GONNA HAPPEN!  I think I'll give them what they'll appreciate most by this time of year - a nice bottle of wine! lol  Blayd will be moving into his last year of middle school next year, Lachlann will be moving into his first year of middle school (the equivalent of moving from primary to high school- he is so excited about it all!), James will be moving to the last year of lower junior school (grade 3) and Caeligh will be in Prep, and that will be all my babies at school!  I don't know how I feel about that yet.  It's one of those milestones that takes a while to really think about and digest.  I no longer have babies or toddlers.  All my kids are school age children now.  Yeah, the whole "oh my crikey I'm getting old!!!" type thing. 

I've changed my hair back to what could be considered a "normal" colour, a dark brown with a slight violet tint.  As I stood in Woolies last week having a look at the home colour kits and thinking how boring they all were, James stood next to me and said, "They don't have your colour here Mum.  Anyway, I like your hair the way it is", which is sweet if my hair wasn't a fading red with some serious roots!!! lol  I said I was going to make it a normal colour for a change and he then replies, in total seriousness, "but that colour is your normal hair".  I had to laugh before explaining what my real colour is.  How odd for my little man that he didn't knowwhat my natural hair colour is because it's been so long since he's seen it! lol

Doug and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Tuesday with takeaway Thai and a bunch of yellow roses for me.  Thank you so much to beautiful Lusi who sent us an ecard from her and her lovely fam.  I will get around to ringing at some point!!!!

I haven't done a lot on the scrapping front, but the delightful Miss Jilly has inspired me to play with mixed media which I'm enjoying very much.  I've done a canvas that I like but it's not quite finished yet and it's so much fun to get out the oil pastels, the inks and paints and really let fly.  I'll be sure to share if I get around to doing any scrapping whatsoever!

That's my update, not very exciting and they're all starting to sound the same these days.  I hope there are more creative folks out there than me at the moment!

Have a good weekend and enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit (my favourite is bourbon!).

Cheers, Lu

Saturday, 1 November 2008

OOoooooohhhhh milestone moment!!!!


Argh!!!!  Where has 13 years gone?????  I've been happily living in denial about how my oldest son and first child has been growing up (physically at least, maturity wise we still have  truckload way to go!) but today I was chatting to him while we were shopping and I caught a side profile of him with some lights behind him and realised he was growing A BUM FLUFF MOUSTACHE!!!!!  You know, the piss weak, feathery ones that teenage boys with attitude try to cultivate to be more like "real men"???? Yeah, that's the one.  It's awful and horrible and I realised then what I had to do.  I went to Woolies, bought him the safest looking razor I could find.  That wasn't an easy task.  Men's razors these days are big, huge V8 powered things with a thousand blades, trimmers and accessories and the head of the razor looks like it would cleave half his face off!!!  I got a nice, (hopefully safe) 3 blade job without any embellishments at all, totally bog standard.  I figure you need to walk before you can run (or shave before you can cut your whole head off!).  So now my 13 year old is standing in the bathroom, having had an instructional shave from Doug first plus a demonstration of what not to do with aftershave (how brave is Doug!).  

Right now I would normally be in the thick of things taking lots of photos but I figured this was a "man moment" and I gave them the privacy I figure they deserve.  Doug and Blayd don't have a lot of "bonding rituals" as step-father and step-son so I thought it best to leave them to this one. That's why I'm here instead of in the bathroom being a nosy mama.

Blayd has just emerged from the sanctuary of the bathroom, proudly showing me his glowing (slightly pimply) and perfectly smooth skin.  Doug has done a wonderful job of teaching him and he doesn't have a scratch on him, unlike Doug who has a couple of his own from the demonstration!  Doug also made him put on aftershave straight away - talk about mean, but I guess it's a life lesson and he'll know from now on.  I've given him a special "man moisturiser" to put on afterwards and he is walking around the house now ten feel tall and bulletproof!!!! lol

He's so excited that he's already called his dad and left him a voicemail message, strutted into his room and shown off his baby smooth face to his brother and his friend, is talking about telling his karate teacher, his school teacher, his cousins, his mates, like he plans on shouting it from the rooftops!!!!  He says, "I feel like a different person!" and I'm trying to keep a straight face and an understanding demeanour....

I also bought a Christmas tree today - 6ft tall green with gold glitter tips - it is tacky as all get out and I'm thrilled to bits with it!!! lol  I've gone with red deccos to match my loungeroom and have red velvet scrollwork bauble shapes, some red velvet reindeer, some red shiny and glittery baubles, dark red hibiscus flowers, red poinsettia flowers and artificial cherries!!!!  Laugh all you like, I've even got a bag of red feathers that I don't know what I'll do with yet but I'll think of something.  It sounds hideous and genius at the same time and I'll put up a pic whenever I get done with it.  I'm very excited at my super tacky, whorehouse on acid Christmas tree and I'm definitely busting a fufu valve to put it all together!!!  

Have a cool Sat night!!! Chat soon, Lu xx

Christmas is coming!

These cute little bird houses are what I've been doing for Wicked Princesses this month.  They are the OTP November kit which should be going on sale any old minute now.  I was a bit unsure when everything came flat packed like an Ikea purchase but the instructions included in the kit were easy and I'll be doing a project sheet to go with it as well so that should make it a bit easier.  The papers are Making Memories and there is the obligatory Kaisercraft bling plus some chipboard accents as well.  Trust me, when I opened it I wasn't sure if it was into it but once the houses were together and up I realised I really liked it and spent a bit of time adding accents and embellies.  I kept this set fairly sedate but I think I might buy another set and do something more elaborate with it.  It was quick to do as well and would make a great decco for home or would be really nice to give to someone with maybe little rolled up notes stuck in the holes of the bird houses.  Could also roll up little gift certificates or gift vouchers and present them that way as well - that would be cute!  I think I'll get the kids to write little Christmas wish lists, roll them and tie them up with ribbon and put them in there.  If you were REALLY into them you could create a whole Christmas village of bird houses and use it like an advent calendar if you know what I mean.  They would look awesome en masse, esp as all the papers coordinate.  If you're dreaming of a white Christmas you could even cover the birdhouses with spray on fake snow and do the same with your windows and then line them up  along the window sill.  Now there's an idea I like!!!

I have some scrummy new Kaisercraft papers to play with but I haven't had a chance to do any layouts yet.  Another couple of busy weeks at work and a week spent with a killer tooth abscess that took five days of day and night agony to respond to antibiotics and high dose anti-inflammatories.  The worst part was that it only started as a toothache which I figured a couple of Panadol would deal with and then by the time I realised it was worse than that it was too late to go to the dentist (not that I would do that without it being dire agony anyway) and that I needed antibiotics to address the abscess before a dentist would even see me.  So I've been very sore and sorry for myself this week and today is the first day I've woken up and not been in pain so I'm a happy camper.  And yes, I can remember the pain enough that I might just have to go to the dentist of my own free will before it happens again....       

Today we're off Christmas tree shopping - YES I KNOW IT'S ONLY 1ST NOVEMBER!!!!  But because I'm so chronically scatterbrained and the days are flying past so fast right now, the tree is a constant visual reminder for me that I must get onto all the Christmas stuff that needs to be done.  Anyway I like Christmas, love Christmas in fact, so I don't mind starting the festive season early.  I don't turn our house Chrissy lights on until 1 December so it's just inside that gets the festive treatment early.  We change trees and/or decorations each year and before you say how wasteful that is, I keep all the past trees/decorations in the house so I can mix and match colours each year.  This year however I'm going for a colour scheme we've never had before so it will be new decorations.  I'm thinking those really nice bright green decorations and maybe silver as well but I heaps of silver stuff that I can reuse from a couple of years ago when I had a pink Christmas tree with pink and silver decorations.  That's the plan but because I'm into cheap and cheerful, we're going to trawl the $2 shops and see what takes our fancy.  All the kids get to choose the style of decorations they want in the chosen colour scheme so nobody feels left out - except maybe for Doug who's favourite festive saying is "Bah Humbug!!!" so he doesn't give a toss what we do but is happy for us to do it.  I was thinking a black tree this year but that's a couple of hundred dollars and it's not like I'd use it every year so that seems like a bit of waste of money to me so I'm thinking a big green tree (our old green tree is missing parts) that reaches the ceiling nearly and then just cheap shop decorations.  Caeligh is still far too destructive for anything pretty.  What I really want one year - maybe the year that all of the kids have finally left home! - I'll go to DJ's or Myer and treat myself to the beautiful hand blown glass baubles I've always wanted.  I could get them now but that's not fair on the kids because either by choice or by accident they will get broken, I will be angry and upset and they will feel bad about it and that's just stupid.  Much rather get plastic so it doesn't matter if accidents happen - either they break and get fixed or thrown or they last for a few years and there's no drama.  So that's the plan for the day and the kids are always excited about it and so am I.  I'll post a couple of pics once the tree actualy gets up and decorated.  That can take a couple of days sometimes depending on how busy we are and how much work I have on.  My house is less cluttered this year and my lounge room more coordinated and tidy than it's ever been so I'm looking forward to putting up a tree to compliment the red/white/black colour scheme - maybe the green won't work?  I'm so prone to changing my mind at the last minute that who knows what we'll end up with!!! lol  

I've also got to get to Hardly Normal sometime today and get some pics printed out.  I took the plunge and got a new camera after Caeligh smashed the lens mechanism on the last one.  This time I decided to really go for quality, for something that will last and will take the kind of pictures I want so I got the Canon 40D.  It's the same one Jill has that she uses for all of her amazing photography so Jilly, darling, sweetie, lovey, friend - will you give a hopeless camera user some lessons some time??? lol  It almost seems a waste because I don't know what I'm doing with it but I'm slowly learning.  I only got one lens with it, a nice middle of the road that will do what I  need it to now, plus an extra battery, an external flash (which I got to use last night for Halloween pictures) and a few other bits and pieces.  It weighs as much as a newborn and the children are all under strict instructions that nobody touches it but me or Daddy (or Aunty Cassie cos she knows more about it than I do!!!).  So I'm looking forward to getting into the habit of taking regular photos again.  I think that's another reason I haven't scrapped more - if I have fresh, great pics then I'm more likely to be champing at the bit to scrap them but it's hard to summon mojo with old photos that I've looked through so many times before and still not found any I felt like scrapping.  Hopefully I can share some pics on the blog as I get better at using the camera.  

We did do the Halloween thing last night - I know it's a divided issue, some people "do" Halloween and some people "definitely don't" and that's fine.  I understand that it isn't our tradition but Doug grew up in Scotland where it is done and the children just like an opportunity to dress up and play games so I don't mind getting into it with them.  The only trick or treating they do is to the lovely couple next door who always have "safe" treats for them to eat and the little toddle one door down and back seems to satisfy their Halloween urges.  We had quite a few trick or treaters last night and I had a good supply of Freddos on hand to pass out.  It was good to see so many parents getting out and keeping their children company and keeping them safe.  A few years ago we had little kids (like under 10) that were trick or treating with no parents in sight.  I didn't understand that.  We don't live in a "great" area anyway but even if we lived in the safest suburb in the country I wouldn't be letting my children wander about the streets in the dark by themselves.  You never know who lives behind the closed doors of any house in any suburb.  So the lollies got eaten, the children bobbed for marshmallows and lolly snakes and stayed up playing air guitar and having a mini disco in the lounge room while Doug played DJ.  They all fell into bed happy and sleepy.  Like I said, I know some people don't do Halloween but for me it's about taking any opportunity to create some happy memories for them of their childhoods.  I know that in 10 or 20 years they won't care if people didn't "do" Halloween, I hope they'll at least be happy that we did.

I'm heading out the door now to do the Christmas decoration marathon shop and I'll let you know how it all goes.  Cheerio to my mum who hopefully is loving her new car and reclaimed freedom - for goodness sake, Mum, please drive carefully and don't put any more dings in it!!! lol

Have a good weekend whatever you get up to, lotta love Lu xx

Sunday, 19 October 2008

A challenge blog layout and a just for fun

Okay well it's been more of the same here, lots of work, not enough time to scrap but last night I stayed over at Cass's place and got a couple of things done which is better than nothing in my book.  The above layout was just playing around really.  The paper is from a dirt cheap $3 paper pack from K-Mart of all places (thanks to Kylie and Peta for the heads up!) and I've used the glittery pink thickers I've had for ages plus some beautiful ribbony/fibre stuff I bought from Viv Bonder's etsy shop which I've loved and used loads of since I got it.  It came all bundled up in a lovely thicke skein and I was almost sad to unwind it all and use it!!! lol  

The ICK layout is for Category Stories and while I did later pat the snake in the picture, it still doesn't reduce the ICK factor for me!!!  

I'm also 3/4 the way through a layout for the Inspired by Amelie challenge site.  I saw the title on a bumper sticker somewhere and you'll get it when you see it.  Hopefully I can finish it over the next couple of days but I have work to do today sadly.

We're thinking of moving...*sigh*.....hate the very thought of moving but our house just is no longer big enough and Caeligh and James at 4 and 7 respectively are still sharing a room.  Considering she starts school next year I think it's time for her to have her own room now that she is a"big" girl, just ask her!!!  We've done the big toss up between buying and renting somewhere else and I just don't know what will be right for us.  Douglas is terrified of the commitment of a huge mortgage which is understandable and it would suck up the newfound income we now have which we're not spending on anything particularly important at the moment.  It's getting spent on wants rather than needs, although mind you a new couch is a need I guess, especially if the existing one breaks!!! lol  On the other hand, the drama of the private rental market makes me cringe, the inspections, the now very regular rent rises, the uncertainty of having the house sold out from under you and having to move again.  That all makes me loathe to rent privately again.  We rent a housing commission place right now which, when we first got it, we really needed as I wasn't working but now that I am working I know there are people who need it more than us and if we can afford to rent privately then we should do so and let someone else doing it tougher have this place.  Admittedly even though we don't get subsidised rent - we pay market rent here - it's still considerably cheaper than private rental and I think we've been a bit spoiled by that and not used to shelling out hundreds and hundreds each week for a house.  We did consider buying the house we're living in, staying for a while and then selling it later and using any profit as another deposit on a next house but now that the renovations are finished the house is worth more in the open market and the housing commission no longer offers a discounted house price to its' renters.  The house is market valued like any other house and that's what you pay.  I cannot imagine coughing up $300,000 to live in Inala, sorry that's just my personal opinion.  So the whole "what should we do, what should we do" thing is going on here and while financially we're okay right now, nobody knows what the future holds.  I don't want to place my family in a position were we suddenly cannot pay the rent or cannot pay the mortgage but we can't really stay where we are either.  Hmmmmm.........

Anyway, that's my little thought vent for the day.  It doesn't clarify anything in my mind to put it down for the blogworld to read but I guess I'm just thinking out loud if you like.  I'm sure it will all figure itself out in the end but God, I sure wouldn't mind a hint or two about what we're meant to be doing!!!  I know He knows but how about letting me know!!! lol  Yes, all in good time I can hear some of you

I've got netball this afternoon with Cass and her sisters and a couple of other people.  Sadly I don't actually play netball, I just kind of run around my bit of the court trying not to knock people over or get knocked over myself!!! lol  I never played netball in highschool so I had to learn the rules very fast and so far I've worked out that if I just do what comes naturally when I play wing defence - be clumsy and get in people's way - then that seems to work okay.  I am going to the chemist to get sports tape today though; I've rolled my left ankle the first game and last week, second game, I rolled the right one so I've come to the conclusion that I have weak, girly ankles and need to strap them before I really do some damage to myself.  I've also worked out that netball is vicious!!!!  And the guys are worse than the girls - we're playing in mixed teams.  How on earth do I goal defend against a 6'5" man????  I believe groin shots are not permitted so we lost that  I asked Cass if she thought we'd maybe get a crap team to play against today and she smiled at me and said "Dear, we ARE the crap team" lol

I'm off to type so enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a great week.  Shout out to all the mums who will be enduring student free day tomorrow - thinking of you and wishing you strength, tolerance and coffee.

Lu xx

Thursday, 16 October 2008

What's for dinner?

Caeligh:  "What's for dinner tonight Mum?"

Me:  "Roast chicken"

Caeligh:  "Well I'm sure not gonna eat that!", pokes a face at me.

Me:  "Why not?"

Caeligh:  "Cos if something is gross you're not sposed ta eat it!!!" yells at me. 

Quite obviously I need an

Saturday, 11 October 2008

All quiet on the Western front except for......

....I'VE BEEN CHOSEN TO BE A WICKED PRINCESS!!!!!  I've never applied for a kit DT before but there's always a first time for everything and I've sworn of retail design teams forever so I was looking for something else to try.  I stumbled across Wicked Princess kits by accident while having a blog hop and really liked the kits.  I've always been wary of buying kits because I was worried that even though you see a picture of what's in them, somehow it's not the same in real life and I'll end up with things that aren't quite the colour I thought they were or something.  I guess I've always liked the safety of having my money in my hand and going to the LSS to buy exactly what I want so I know I'll use all of it.  I saw Karen and Tam's call for a design team not long ago and figured why not?  I looked at their kits and the pictures were very good and I liked just about everything in them so I thought I'd take te leap.  I'm hoping they'll learn to love my creative yet slightly inappropriate side!!! lol  So I'm very excitedly waiting for my first kit so that I can go totally crazy with it and the add ons are awesome too so I'm very keen for my AP courier to turn up hopefully this coming week.  I'll let you know how I go and post some layouts when they're done.  Also very importantly, because October is breast cancer month, Wicked Princess are donating $5 from every kit purchased in October and  up to 15th November to this fabulous cause.  What better reason could there be to grab a great kit plus support a cause all close to our boobs...ahem, I mean hearts!

I haven't been scrapping much lately, I'm still trying and failing to get that work/life balance right.  I did however take on a wonderful new client which means I'll be able to cut down my transcription company work a bit and maybe have a full day of once a week now.  The lack of scrapping time hasn't cut into my ability to buy scrapping products though! lol  I'm still going hammer and tongs at that because I figure I'll get to scrap one day soon!  I've raided Spotlight lately and been looking for interesting habby stuff and ribbon and trim, plus they've got a great selection of feathers, flowers, etc for making fascinators (you know, feather dusters ladies at the races wear on their heads that isn't quite a hair accessory and not quite a hat?).  There's so much stuff that's scrapbable that isn't in the scrapbooking section.  Quick question, does anyone else dislike the fact that Spotlight have their scrapbooking papers organised by colour instead of by brand or range?  I find it really annoying because I know what I'm looking for.  I don't know if the colour system is easier for seasoned scrappers or beginners but I don't like it and end up not buying any of it.  They also have a great range of Kaiser products which is good to see.  Oh wow speaking of which, keep an eye out at your LSS for the new ranges coming out this month; Distracted, Dancing Jewel and Rustic Charm.  They are awesome!  There's also some fantastic new rhinestone releases and chipboard - yep, I said CHIPBOARD ALPHABETS!!!  These days Kaisercraft have all the bases covered and the prices are always great.  I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some of that too.  The Distracted range is my favourite so far.  I've also been to a couple of LSSs around the place and picked up new Basic Grey and I've been feeding my Thickers habit as well.  So the sad bit is that while I have lots of nice stuff to use I feel like I have no time to use it all.  I'm hoping to shift my scrapping into the loungeroom soon (hasn't happened yet) and that way I'll be more inclined to do stuff while I can watch TV or hang out with the kids etc.  Right now I spend so many hours in front of the computer that I don't feel like staying at the same desk for more hours to get scrapping done.  We did have a crop night last week at Cass's place with some friends over - hi Peta and Kylie!!!! - and we had a great night catching up and I did get a layout done - see above.  It was for Aussie Scrapjack and I'm really happy with it although it is way OTT.  The huge purple flower is from Spotlight and the big chipboard circle is from Magistical Memories.  The photo was of my catch up with my aunty Anne and my grandparents when Cass and I were in Townsville on our way to Hughenden back in August.  We only had a couple of hours so I took heaps of photos.  It means so much to see myself in pictures with people whom I look like, so I can say I can see a family resemblence.  Being adopted, I missed that growing up and was always envious of my friends for having family whom they looked like.  So I was so glad to see them all as Granddad is not well right now and I was very lucky to have gotten the chance to see him.

THe kids are all good, glad to be back at school as it's the last term and they just want for it to be over.  They're all looking forward to Christmas already and let's face it, the shops are not making it easy as they are putting stuff out already!!!  We're still tossing up colour options for the tree this year.  We wanted to get a black one with lights wired into it but I haven't seen Target's tree display yet (as, kindly of them, they haven't put theirs up yet).  I change colour schemes every year but don't worry, I don't waste last year's stuff, some years I mix and match what I have from previous years or Cass and I have a very successful decoration exchange programme going on so we always have colours to choose from! lol  

I'm off to get some typing done (the paying kind, not the playing kind) so have a good weekend and I'll try to be more regular with my posting although I'm not sure anyone reads here anymore! lol  Chat soon, Lu xx

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Eight very long years today since you've been gone baby girl.  I love my flickering lamp and the smell of strawberry lip gloss but we'd all much rather have you here with us.

Too long have you been gone from our arms but never will you be gone from our hearts.

Missing you always Miki Moo, love Aunty Lu xx

Monday, 8 September 2008

Inspiration from White With 1

I did this layout at Cass's place on Saturday night for the White With 1 challenge.  It was all about dads this month so I've used a photo I love of Doug holding James when he was a day old.  While James was my third child he was Doug's first and I love the look of pride in his eyes as he holds his tiny son in his arms.  I'm not very good at following rules so I didn't do a good job of making white the dominant colour because I found some great brown paper with white grid pattern on it and really wanted to use it.  My

Loving throwing myself back into the excitement of doing challenge blogs again, and even thinking about scraping up Everyday Garbage off the floor and seeing if we can't give it a bit of a refresher.  I'll let you know how that goes, but for now I'm loving being a participant and creating for the fun of it.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Happy Father's Day all the dads out there, those who have children, those who want to have children, those who have lost children.  It's a special day and I hope you have all been made to feel so special and valued today.

Father's Day in our house is always a bit bittersweet.  My two eldest sons go to their Dad for the day, while our younger two (whom Doug and I have together) spend the day with us.  It's hard because my older two came home in very different moods; my eldest (he's the autistic spectrum one) came home happy that he had seen his Dad, played a bit of catch with him and watched TV at Grandma's place, while my second eldest came home bitter, angry, resentful and tearful.  He felt he didn't get to do anything special with his dad and that his dad didn't want to do anything special with him.  Doug and I spent the rest of the evening trying to make it up to him with lots of attention and letting them watch a movie until late which is typically not allowed on a "school night" where they have to get up for school the next day.  It's also hard for Doug, who does his best 24/7 for my older two boys to direct them, teach them, help them learn about how the world works.  My eldest is eternally ungrateful (as most teenage boys are for just about everything) and still idolises his father no matter how many screw ups he makes.  My second son, Lachie, was the one who felt it most today and came home so sad.  It's hard because no matter how hard Doug tries,  he is not a substitute for their own dad's attention which Lachie felt he did not have today, and Doug felt like no matter what he did for Lachie when he came home, it wasn't enough to eclipse the bad feelings he had of spending the afternoon with his own dad.  It's a bit hard all round really but what can you do?  Not a lot... you make the most of what you have and you give them all you have to give them, and then you just hope they will somehow understand that you are trying your best in what are sometimes not the best circumstances.  

I rang my dad tonight and got his messagebank.  I don't have a great relationship with my dad.  I used to though, once when I was little.  He had a very bad motorcycle accident when I was only 5 years old - he used to be a motorcyle parking cop - yeah, he was the guy who would write you a ticket if you parked too long in the wrong spot.  His motorcycle got clipped by a car and he was thrown off.  Even with his helmet he still sustained a head injury that led to severe personality change in him and sadly for all of us - me, my mum and him - he was never the same and became an angry, paranoid, abusive man.  I prefer not to think about what I've lost and I just try to maintan a friendly relationship with him.  I ring every now and then to check that he is okay.  He rings occasionally to tell me of his troubles with his Filippino girlfriend who he has finally gotten rid of but not before she put him in debt for the first time in his life and almost cost him his house which he built with his own hands.  It's hard because he wants a sympathetic ear but I cannot forget his treatment of me as a child and teenager.  It's hard because now that I have a medical background after working in that field for so long as a typist I do understand that his behaviour/attitude/personality is not his fault.  It's hard because my mum is gone and there is no go-between for us, no line of communication, so we have to rely on our own very faulty selves to connect.  It's hard because he is the only link I have to the large Italian extended family which I grew up in and now have very little to do with, just because everyone seems to be fighting with or not speaking to someone else for whatever reason.  It's hard because without him I would just consider myself an orphan - stupid really, I'm 34 for goodness sake - but no matter how large my family, without him I don't have any other links to them.  Time and distance have estranged many of my numerous cousins, aunts and uncles.  It's hard because he doesn't know my children's names;  he knows my oldest son, because he was in a "good place" when Blayd was born, he had a nice Filippino girlfriend who took such good care of him, just like my mother would have, and he was happy then.  He doesn't remember Lachlann, referring to him as "the other boy", and James is the "the younger fella" whereas my daughter is "the little girl".  Sadly for them they won't have a grandfather, not at least what a "normal" grandfather is thought to be.  He keeps to himself, does not like contact.  He would rather sit alone without comfort or aid than have family around to help and take care of him.  That is who he is, and always has been;  a fiercely independent man, despite good sense and the best wishes of others.  Anyway, I left him a message, told him how busy my week had been, what Doug was doing at work, that the kids were all fine and sent their love.  I said I hoped he was okay and if he needed me to just call.  I told him I loved him and that I'd ring him later in the week to check on him.  The sad part is that he is old enough to have died in the house and nobody else would know....and he wouldn't have cared about it being that way.  So I will have to ring tomorrow now because he would normally be home at 7.30 on a Sunday night but he didn't answer the phone.  I don't know if he went to bed early because he was tired or unwell - he is getting old after all, late seventies now my dad is, and likes to insinuate that he has multiple medical problems but won't elaborate on them to his only next of kin - or if by some chance a friend came over and took him out for the evening.  Either way I will now have that worry in the back of my mind that somethinghas happened to him so I will have to call again tomorrow to basically make sure he isn't dead.  I know how callous that sounds but he has been alone - by choice- for so long and has so little contact with me, his only child, and his entire extended family, that really nobody would notice, not even the neighbours.  This is, however, a regular occurrance.  He won't answer the phone and if Doug stops by on the way home from work he might be out and then I have to go by myself and walk all around the house, looking in all the windows and then asking the neighbours when was the last time they saw him, just to make sure.  It's a sad situation because I know that any attempts at an emotional connnection with him will be met with rejection and indifference, and yet I worry about him because he is my last link with the adoptive family I grew up in.  I was raised an only child but had dozens of cousins, lots of aunts and uncles.  I feel like when my dad finally passes it will sever a connection with that family tree, even though I love each and every one of those people and have done all my life, regardless of whatever inter-family strife, trouble or arguements they had between them.  So here's to hoping he is okay for one more time and that when I ring him tomorrow he will pick up the phone and I'll say, "It's me, Cinda, just checking how you're doing," and he'll say, "I'm alright.  What's wrong?" like he always says....

Friday, 5 September 2008

Some inspiration from The Art Is Found

This layout was done for The Art Is Found blog - I promised I was going back to challenge blogs to find my true mojo again and this is my first one.  I've been snowed under with work all week but had to stop in at Cass's place today and she was on her way home so she said "Do a layout!!!!" and suggested the music sheets inspiratin for this challenge.  So I threw this together in about half an hour and I'm happy enough with it.  It's a start anyway, let's call it that.  I can see a light up

Busy week this week with lots of work, Lachie's 11th birthday today (and his best friend is sleeping over), Caeligh's prep enrolment interview this morning (which went surprisingly well, no screaming, climbing walls or throwing anything at all), running around delivering typing work to clients and getting caught in a rainstorm this afternoon while picking up the kids.  Yep, got absolutely soaked and haven't even had time to change yet - I've dried out somewhat in a couple of hours!!! lol  

The weekend is a blur of work, some scrapping (hopefully) and going to the fleamarket to buy new plants for the garden.  I've really gotten into the gardening thing since I've managed to keep EVERYTHING I have bought within the last three weeks alive!!! Truly a miracle!!! lol

I have my eye on a couple of other challenge blogs - the new White with 1 looks okay and I'm dead keen on Category Stories as I can choose from all their previous challenges from the past year and there are some fab ones in amongst them.  

I'm off to organise pizza for the ravenous hordes in my loungeroom playing Wii.  Have a great weekend y'all!!!!  Love, Lu

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Something I am VERY grateful for!

Today I am grateful (and very thankful to God) for protecting my Doug as he drove to work and a massive crash happened right in front of him only 20 minutes ago.  He was just missed by an out of control car which veered across his path and then smashed into the side of a truck in the lane next to him and bounced off and slid back toward him, missing him in our car by only a couple of metres.

He rang me after doing the rescue thing and making sure eveyrone in the vehicles were all okay (which everyone was, another thing to be thankful for) to let me know because he knew if I heard it on the radio or TV Iwould have been worried.  The first thing he said to me was "Do you know I love you?  Really love you more than anything else in the world?".  I was a bit confused, said "I love you too babe, I just don't like your mother much"  See we'd had a disagreement about his mother before he left so we weren't on the best of terms, not fighting but a bit stand-off-ish with each other because we hadn't resolved the issue we'd been talking about.  So I figured he was ringing to smooth things over with me!  Then he said "No, forget her, forget everything else and all the bullshit.  I love you more than anything.  I've just seen the biggest accident of my life right in front of me".  Then he filled me in on all the awful details and my heart is still pounding as I think about it.  He was moments away from being taken away from us or very badly hurt.  He wasn't.  I am so grateful to God for watching over him and even if I can't write on my blog what I'm thankful for (because I'm a bad, inconsistent blogger) I do promise to take more moments to tell God that I am thankful for what I have.

Sorry not meant to be a big religious spiel or anything but I just thought I would share because our whole family's life could have changed forever today, just one moment, just a second, could have changed everything.  I'm now sorry for having a tiff with Doug this morning over something that doesn't really matter in the perspective of what's just happened.  And you know what?  I didn't even hug him goodbye before he left because I was cranky - that will never happen again.   Today was obviously meant to teach us both something and I think it has.  I promise to be more grateful, more thankful and more appreciative because what we have in life can vanish so quickly.  This is where the really warm, fuzzy bloggers tell you to go hug your kids a bit tighter.  I'll just say take a moment to think about how quick life can change and then you decide what to do with that.

Have a SAFE Tuesday, Lu xx

Monday, 1 September 2008

Back in the creative swing of things

I haven't had a whole lot of time to scrap lately so I've been really happy to be able to come up with anything I'm remotely happy with.  The mojo has been a bit battered and bruised for quite a few gals I know, including myself, but fortunately I can say mine has recovered somewhat and best wishes to those of you who are waiting for your mojos to be given a clean bill of health!!!

Singapore Fling was done with the Kaisercraft Everblooming range.  I really really loved it the moment I received it from the nice TNT man and it is probably my favourite Kaiser range ever.  I scrapped the delicious lunch Cass and I had at a restaurant in Sunnybank called Little Singapore on my birthday this year.  Very hot, very spicy, very scrummy!!!  

Now this layout above is a weird one.  Anyone who regularly visits knows this is so not my style - look at all that empty space!!!!  I'm not a "clusterer" normally at all and I like balance spread across the page.  I had every intention of making this a two photo layout and I thought I'd start at the top right hand corner but then suddenly changed my mind and decided to start at the  bottom left and work out from there.  Well that's as far as I got!!!! lol  I really tried to put things elsewhere, add another photo, incoroporate more of the paper lace red heart shaped doiles Cass got me but every time I tried to add more to the page the layout would scream "Nooooooooo!!!" and so that's all that ended up being on there.  I don't think it looks unfinished but I do think it looks a bit sparse to my eye anyway.  I did that one while sitting at the free crop at Hughenden on the Sunday morning, chatting and just playing around.  

This layout is of my lovely friend Jill's gorgeous boy Jonah.  I knew as soon as I picked up the photograph that I would have to match it with the new Basic Grey papers.  There's also some cool metallic red/gold mesh stuff that the v.lovely Kylie and Peta shared with me at crop on Friday night - well basically I saw it, begged and grovelled a lot and they let me have some.  Thanks girls!!!  The brown flourish thing behind the title is actually the brown paper backing of Cass's Prima felt border stuff.  Hey, it was brown, it was good!!!!  Even better, it was recycled!

So layout wise that's all I've been doing really, just the odd page here and there.  This week I'm very determined to have a go at some challenge blogs and a big thanks to Kayla Renee for giving me such a great list from my request on my last post.  There are some great ones there and I can't wait to get stuck in.  I think I've already mentioned that I'm planning on doing all my challenge stuff in A4 size so that will be something different too, something new to hopefully add to the appeal for me.

Doug and I braved Ikea on Saturday (well it's not really that bad, we didn't have any kids with us!) and had a look at options for an entertainmet unit for our loungeroom that could accommodate some not so obvious storage for my scrapping stuff.  Right now everything is still in boxes in my room after the painters finished up a couple of weeks ago and because my desk in my room seems to have been overtaken by my typing business and household paperwork etc, I decided I needed to scrap somewhere else.  Now I have a small house, a REALLY small house, with an eat in kitchen and only one living area, the lounge room.  It sort of doubles as part office as Doug's computer is in there too.  So we decided on a couple of these cool storage units which are white and have eight compartments and no back on it, and it can be stood upright or on its side to make a low line unit.  We bought two of them, lucky enough found them right at the end in the discount area, because they had a couple of scratches that won't be seen where we want to put them.  So that will accommodate the TV, the games consoles etc on the sideways one and the upright one will have storage boxes and a couple of doors fitted to the compartments and my scrap stuff will get stored in there.  It won't be obvious what's in the red leather look boxes but I'll keep all my stuff in them because I've decided to move my scrapping to the loungeroom.  That meant finding another desk but I couldn't have anything that takes up more than a bare minimum of room.  Doug's suggestion was to scrap at the coffee table - can anyone spell chronic back ache???  He obviously couldn't!!! lol  So Ikea to the rescue again with a fold out desk which looks like one of those old roll top ones but has a flat fold down panel on it to make the table part and room inside to store stuff I use a lot like pens, tools, etc and a shelf at the top for more stuff.  You can also buy a rectangular piano stool type padded seat that fits perfectly underneath it when the desk is closed up.  The seat comes off and has more storage underneath.  Gotta love Ikea!!! So that will be my new desk but not sure when that will get bought.  It's Lachie's birthday this week so maybe if I'm lucky and the finances permit I can get it when we go back to Ikea this coming weekend to get Lachie's loft bed.  He really wants his own bed (right now he has the bottom bunk underneath Blayd) so we figured we'd get him a single loft bed and put his desk underneath etc so they won't loose any real floor space that way.  As his birthday is Friday we figure he can wait until Saturday, come down with us and help us carry the damned thing!!! lol  Another Ikea job for Douglas - thank goodness he knows how to assemble anything with an allen key!  Anyway, the desk won't be huge, won't be a lot of room and won't be like having a whole room dedicated to my scrapping but I figure I don't actually need that much space.  I don't have time to scrap every day and when I do scrap right now I have to do it on the desk in my bedroom, away from the kids, the TV and Doug, so I think this will work out much better.  I was thinking about moving my typing to the loungeroom as there is less room/storage needed for that but I can't work with all the noise of the television or radio or kids around me so the typing has to stay in my room and the scrapping has gots to go!  I'll take a pic when I get it all sorted out and set up (and when I get another camera too, that would

Home is a bit chaotic at the moment.  Blayd at 13 is turning into the hormonal grump monster who doesn't want to do schoolwork/homework/exist because life is so hard and awful and everyone is so mean to him.  Yeah, it's a bloody sad lament isn't it?!?!?  We're going to be organising some family counselling because his behaviour is getting worse and I don't think in all honestly  Doug and I know the best way to manage/help him through this stage in his life.  I'd rather be honest and say I don't know what to do than just keep muddling through and have him get worse, more distant from us and get into goodness knows what kind of trouble because he's not happy with his life.  I feel like a bit of a slacker mum because I keep thinking I should instictively know what to do for him but when I'm trying my best and still apparently not getting through to him or helping him it's time to call in the experts.  After all, I've never had to raise a teenager before but I know there will be great counsellors who will have a lot more to offer us than what I can come up with.  It causes a mass effect when Blayd hates the world as he fights more with Lachie who in turn is teary and cranky because Blayd's forever picking on him over meaningless crap, then Lachie takes it out on James who seriously overreacts because he is way babied by Doug's mother and seriously believes he is constantly persecuted by his half brothers (yeah, another massive issue that I am trying to sort through) and because Caeligh is such a strong willed brat (sorry but in the last week or two she really has been a brat - at least I didn't call her something else!!!) she sees everyone else going off and joins right in so it feels like every kid in my house is going off the rails all at once.  Yes, sadly I do realise that it's a reflection on how Doug and I handle these issues that contributes to how the children all cope and right now I don't think we're handling things very well thus the kids are all exploring their own ways of coping/acting out/expressing their feelings.  Iv'e had some good suggestions from the school counsellor as to where to look for help so I'll be doing that over the course of the next week or so.  I hate living in what feels like a giant pressure cooker where everyone is constantly yelling, fighting, exploding over the littlest things and taking out frustrations on each other.  How are Doug and I holding it all together?  Well, I wouldn't say we are actually.  We don't have screaming fights or anything like that.  We never have.  We just get snippy and snarky with each other which I hate too because we really should be backing each other up and being each other's best support right now.  I think counselling will be good for all of us and hopefully it will teach us a few things about how to manage stress and how to deal with things more constructively.  Fingers crossed it will make a big difference to the peace in our home (or lack of it at the moment!).

I don't think I have any other exciting news....oh, Caeligh is having her enrolment interview this week for school.  I'm wondering whether I should sedate her with Phenergan before we's so very tempting.  I'm terrified she'll show them what she's really like and they won't see a very intelligent girl with a fiesty nature, they'll see an undisciplined, out of control little beast that they won't want at their school.  She's just not great at self control and I can hardly blame her.  I was just as beastly at her age apparently so I can't say much at all...  I just hope she can behave long enough for them to see that she is more than ready for Prep and in fact I'm sure she will love the place.  Part of her behavioural issues I think come from boredom.  She likes constant attention and something interesting to do all the time otherwise she starts getting bored and that's when the trouble starts, either that or she feels she isn't getting enough attention so she does something to draw attention to herself.  She's not fazed by being in trouble though, not in the slightest, and working out a reward/punishment system has been hard with her.  I'm praying that she'll have a good day and things will go well at the school.

Typing is going well, nice and busy, but as you can see from this post, I'm here blogging instead of typing which means I'm having some real concentration issues of my own at the moment.  I'm so easily distracted and I'm not getting done as much as I could be.  That's something I'll have to address with myself though, not sure how just yet.

Now I really will go so I can get some of that work done.  I'll be sure to post up any challenges I get done and if you come across any good challenge blogs then be sure to pass the info my way!

Have a good week, love Lu

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Back from the Bush!

Only this time last week Cass and I were at the Townsville Airport, ready to board our flight back to Brisbane after an amazing long weekend at Hughenden for Outback Scrap.  It was a long time in the planning and despite some hiccups along the way, Kerry, Lindy and Karen from Flinders Poppy Arts and Crafts Group did a fantastic job of organising the whole event.  Women came from all parts of the Queensland outback including Julia Creek, Barcaldine and Cloncurry.  I think there was even a lady from Mackay who travelled all that way!  The ladies who came to take classes were all just amazing too, wonderful down to earth women.  I loved meeting everyone!  It was a great opportunity for the ladies to try new techniques and products and I really hope the classes provided some valuable new scrapping skills.  Sandra and Rachelle did some great classes too and it was fab to spend time with Rachelle on the trip up and back and get to know her a bit better.  It was a wonderful weekend for all.  Half the fun of course was the chance to sit and chat and we had plenty of opportunities for that.  The recreational hall in Hughenden is fantastic too, as good as you will see anywhere, with lots of room for sport, theatre, etc and a great industrial kitchen where the local ladies fed us the most amazing home cooked food every day in between classes.  On our very first day in Hughenden we had morning tea at Karen's house and had the most amazing pikelets and rosella jam and cream.  I don't even like pikelets but wow I do now!!!  And I had no idea I liked rosella jam either because I've never had it before so there's two new faves to add to my list of things I shouldn't like as much as I do.

Cass and I stayed on a beautiful cattle farm outside of Hughenden which is owned by Kerry and her lovely husband Alan who cooked us up hot breakfast every single day!  What a man!!!  They are really lovely people and the farm was great, a real piece of true outback Australia.  Cass and I stayed in cottage (see above) on the farm and it reminded me so much of my Nanna's old miner's cottage where I used to go and stay for Christmas holidays when I was a kid; all corrugated iron and glass louvre windows.  The constant noise of cattle and wind was weird but relaxing at the same time, simply because it was so different to the sounds of home.  On the Sunday night when the classes were finished for the weekend and we had packed up the hall we all went up to Mt Walker for drinks and fish and chips for dinner.  The sunset was just amazing out there and there were so many stars at night without the city lights to draw attention away from them.  I'll share more photos later; I had to rely on Cass's camera for any shots I wanted to take as Caeligh dropped my camera a few weeks ago and I didn't have the money for a new one before I left.  I'm hoping to remedy that really soon though - I miss my camera!!!!  The photo of Cass and I lying on the road is on the way back from the drinks that night - note the roadkill in the background?  "Don't sleep on road!!!!" is the message here people!!! lol  There is more to the story but for now let's say we'd had a few to drink and were being egged on by our hosts!!!

The picture down the bottom is of me and Cass - on quad bikes mustering cattle!!!!  Ha ha I never thought I'd see the day!!!! lol  We got up Monday morning with the anticipation that Alan said he would teach us to ride the quad bikes so we could have a look around the property but then he put us to work!  Mustering cattle isn't as hard as I thought but it did take a little while to figure out how the cows respond to where you are behind them and how fast you're going etc.  We got the hang of it pretty quickly and after a while Alan left us to it with 65 head of cattle including a couple of massive bulls who looked like the size of cars and would kill you if they sat on you!  There were also quite a few poddy calves, still fuzzy and only a few days old.  Seriously cute!!!!  I think we did okay for a couple of city gals!!!  It was the best fun I have had in ages and I would love nothing more than to take the kids out there one day so they can see what country life is really all about - I fear though that they wouldn't ever want to leave once they got out there!  Is that such a bad thing - I'm not sure.  After only a few days in Hughenden I could see me happily packing up and leaving the city behind.  I wouldn't want to be too far from a regional city but let's just say it was very appealing and I'm lucky that with my typing job I can work virtually anywhere.  Just a thought for now....

Up the top is a pic of Cass and I at Mt Walker with our bona fide cowgirl hats on!  Mine sits proudly (upside down, Alan, just like you told me!!!!) on my desk with the faint coating of Hughenden dust still on it that I refuse to wipe away.  It's my most treasured souvenir of the trip and I'll be sure to wear it every chance I get.  After getting to do actual cattle mustering I figure I've earned it!!! lol

The house has been totally upside down while I've been done.  We had a total internal repaint last week so I came home to every scrapbooking item I possess being packed in boxes - where it all still sits because all I've done is type since I got home.  I'm really itching to do some though because I did a layout while I was away during free crop time that I really love.  It isn't me but that's okay, I'm still really happy with it.  I'll have to ask Cass to scan it for me.  

Speaking of scrapping, you know what I'm going to start doing again?  Challenge blogs.  I used to love them and some of my best work came from doing challenges, comps, etc when I was just getting started and I think I need that motivation back in my scrapping.  There are so many great sites now.  I know that our Everyday Garbage challenge blog really fell off the wagon.  Cass and I just struggled to find time to do what had to be done for it each month but if anyone is interested in us doing it once a month for inspiration purposes then let us know.  I am pretty sure I can fit in once a month but rather than getting people to send their work to us, we can put up examples of what we've done and then people can post a link to their blogs for people to come and see.  It would be more a place for inspiration rather than the way we tried to run it before.  If you're up for that we'd love to know.  

Likewise if you know of any great challenge blogs that really do it for your mojo, please drop me a comment and let me know.  I hear names floating around the blogsphere but I don't have time to find them all so if you have a favourite I'd love to know what it is.  There are so many out there that I imagine it's hard to choose.  I'm also planning on going from 12x12 layouts to A4 size for my challenge blog stuff, just becuase I don't have an A3 scanner at home (I use the one at Cass's place for my 12x12 stuff) and because for me if I see a challenge that inspires me I want to create right away, do something immediately and scan and upload it so I have to utilise the A4 scanner I have under my desk.  Maybe the change in size will be good for mojo as well.  I've never tried it before and used to think it was a bit sacreligeous to scrap in anything other than 12x12 but I'm very ready to expand the horizons and grow some wings (and grow some balls too!) and try something different.  How many of you have tried A4 or is it 12x12 all the way?  I don't think it will become my preferred side but for challenge blogs I really want instant gratification so it's a way for me to achieve that.

I'm off to - you'll never guess! - TYPE!!! lol  My work is a'calling me so I must pull out the proverbial finger and get something done.  I have extra work this week and don't want to miss Friday night's crop at CyberScraps as the new Basic Grey is in plus some cool new Pink Paislee alphabet stickers (mmmmmmmmm....alphabet stickers....drool).  I'm looking forward to catching up with the chickies and seeing what everyone's been up to. 

Have a good week everyone and don't forget about those challenge blogs!!!  Love, Lu xx

Monday, 11 August 2008

Outback Scrap - Hughenden 15,16 an 17 August 2008

These are the two projects I'm doing for Outback Scrap this weekend.  It's going to be a really fun weekend of scrapping and running amok in the beautiful Queensland outback!!  If you are a local or you don't mind a drive (a really looooong drive!) then you can give Lindy a call on (07) 47410385 or Karen on (07) 4741 1911 to find out more info, class descriptions, sizes, costs, etc, plus the low down on things like how to get there, accommodation and all the other things to do while visiting the region.  Both of these ladies have been absolutely amazing in organising this event for the Flinders Poppy Arts, Crafts and Resources Group and have overcome some massive obstacles to be able to put on what is sure to be a fantastic weekend of scrapping and fun.

Cass and I are already starting to pack as we have an early flight on Thursday morning up to Townsville, where we spend one night, before flying out to Hughenden early Friday morning.  I'm really looking forward to catching up with my aunt Anne (my birth mother's sister), whom I've only met once, and my birth mother's parents whom I have never met in person.  It's certainly been a long 34 years for them as the last time they saw me was in the hospital after I was born.  I'm hoping to catch up with them for a couple of hours when we get to Townsville as they live there.  All of our kits are already being couriered up as they are too heavy for the flight to Hughenden also so hopefully they will arrive today or tomorrow.  I'll feel more relaxed once we know they've arrived.

As for home, we've all been sick here.  We've all had a cold for the last couple of weeks and then Caeligh brought home a gastro bug on Wednesday afternoon from kindy.  The poor thing was so sick and so I spent Thursday looking after her but then by the early  hours of Friday morning I had the same thing and I have never been so sick in my life!!!  I wound up in hospital trying to find an anti-nausea drug that would work and I lost 5kg in three days.  That's good from a weight loss perspective but cruddy in that as soon as I start eating again it will all come back.  Right now all I can stomach is water, Gatorade, diet shakes (I was sure the milk would not agree with me but seems all good) and fruit.  That's literally all I can eat right now.  I guess it's one way to change bad eating habits!!!! lol  So Blayd and James got sick too over the weekend and Doug and Lachie seemed to be unscathed, how I'll never know.  It's so weird that some people get it and some don't.  But because my immune system was already down because of the cold I had, which is why I got such a bad bout of gastro to begin with, now that I'm slowly recovering from that, my cold is worse than ever so I'm also living on vitamins and Codral to get through the week.  I just want to feel human again in time for Thursday!!!  I've never been on a plane so I'm really excited now and it turns out that Thursday is a student free day here so all the kids will be coming to the airport to see me off as well which is cool.  Doug and I have never been apart in 11 years as we will be this week, five nights, and he's already telling me he'll miss me.  I'll miss them too but there's a part of me that's really looking forward to going and having that freedom and independence that comes from being away from home and family and not having to worry about anyone but yourself, even for a few days.  It's a great restorative but not many mothers get the chance to do it.  

I'm going to go and get started with my work for the day.  I have to try to make up for what I won't be earning while I'm away.  I'm also going to go make a shake and find some fruit to eat.  I'm not sure if I'll get the chance to blog again before I go because I have a busy few days with stuff to finish for Kaisercraft as well as something for Scrapbooking Memories plus work plus packing etc so if I don't chat to you all again have a great week and I'll be sure to post some pics when I get back.  I'm trying to convince Doug to let me take his laptop so I can check email and stuff while I'm gone but he's funny about giving me something valuable like a laptop.  I'm just as likely to leave it on the plane or in the ladies room!!!! lol  Chat soon, Lu xx

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Scrapbook Creations Issue 57 and a massive TOOT!!!

Now first of all this is the big TOOT I'm talking about - nothing to do with scrapping cos that's a bit up oneself!!! lol  What we have above, courtesy of some Japanese car fan website, is a picture of this very lovely Black Mitsubishi Colt - identical to the one n ow sitting in my driveway!!!!

Her name is Lola and I'm definintely in love, or at least very appreciative, to have her.  We bought her last week, finally making the decision to buy a second car after managing with only one for about seven years.  Seven years is how long it's been since I have had my *own* car so that I can come and I go as I like.  I've been stranded at home on the days I'm working because Doug takes our slowly expiring old van to work every day and his mother has been dropping off and picking up the kids from school for me.  That hasn't been without it's problems so the children are all very happy with the arrival of Lola.  I was even a good girl and did my research first on what we were going to buy, reading car reviews, specifications on all the different types of small cars available etc.  I've never prepared for something quite so thoroughly!!!  I also went into the showroom knowing exactly what I wanted to pay for her and the extras I wanted that I wasn't prepared to pay for so the salesman had to figure out a way to have them incorporated into the price I was happy to pay.  It all worked out beautifully and while I'm probably paying a percent or so more in interest than I would have liked (because I've only been working for myself for such a short time) I figure I can wait it out a year, establish the business a bit more and refinance her next year at a better rate.  So I finally have my freedom back and boy does it feel good!  I went out the day after we got her and bought a pink fluffly steering wheel cover and black seatcovers with pink love hearts on them as well as matching floor mats.  Even a pink air freshener.  Can you tell I'm trying to discourage Doug from wanting to drive it all the time instead of me???? lol  It now definitely looks like he has borrowed his wife's car when he drives it.  It hasn't deterred him that much though because Doug has never owned a brand  new car before in his life and I let him drive her home from the showroom on the day we picked her up.  He's really enjoying driving something that doesn't make strange, unidentifiable noises and that will actually promise to get him where he is going!  And very unlike me, Lola is being kept spotlessly clean!!! lol  No rubbish left in the car, no eating in the car, nothing gets left in the car and she's been washed once already.  Black does show all the dirt sadly so every morning I use a special cloth to give her a quick wipe over before I drive her.  I plan on keeping her a long time so I want to take good care of her.  I figure cos she gives about 600km per tank of fuel I should really treat her nicely!!! lol  So there is my exciting news.  I'll take an actual picture of my Lola when I get a new camera as Caeligh dropped my good camera and busted the lens so it is stuck halfway and won't close or open fully anymore, completely crapped...not very happy about that......

In other exciting news....(not that a pic of my ever-widening arse is exciting, trust

My first ever article for SC has come out in the latest issue - 57.  I have to say I'm really excited about it.  I'm glad that after doing the whole pubbing thing for a while I'm not sick of it or unappreciative of it.  I'm still feeling very thankful to have my article picked up and I think Kim and the team at SC have done a fab job with this issue.  I'm missing one layout - No Mama - because it's actually my Masters single layout entry from last year *my bad* but I figure somebody may as well use it if they like it.  I just can't find where I've put the photographs of my Masters stuff which is why it isnt' there.

The typing is going great guns to the point where work just keeps coming from the most unexpected places and with people coming to me instead of me having to go and find them.  One of those things that makes me thankful that God is working in my life even though I know I don't give Him nearly as much time or thought as I should.  But having the makings of what hopefully continues to be a successful business has brought so much change into our lives that I am grateful, really grateful, and it makes the long hours and lack of sleep far more bearable, knowing that hard work is paying off and that we can use that money to do things for our family that we couldn't afford to before AKA Lola.  Without the business there's no way we could have gotten another car, not even a second hand one let alone a new one.  How sad when I'm excited that we went lounge shopping last weekend while all the kids were off with their gran and we found a lounge we like.  We've also never owned a new lounge before, always hand-me-downs and cast-offs from other people or second hand from op shops (not that I haven't loved some of our old lounges!) and the one we have now is totally wrecked and another lounge is getting to be a priority.  So we've found the one we like and we're going to save up to go and buy it.  I even got excited about buying new towels!!!  I've never bought a set of towels before in my life, I've gotten one or two when I've had money or they've been really cheap so every towel in my house is mismatched, a beach towel or full of holes.  I went to KMart a couple of weeks ago when their manchester was on special and bought extra blankets for the kids' beds and I bought 10 matching big towels.  It's those kind of things that we've never spent money on before that I'm really grateful for too.  I'm sure for some people it's totally normal to regularly buy a new set of towels or linen etc on a regular basis but with four kids I know there's lots of you out there too who know that those kind of things are waaaay down the list of priorites and are just frivolous wants instead of actual needs.  It's also about knowing that when the bills come in we can pay them.  That in itself has been a huge stress relief for Doug as I know he worries about that kind of stuff alot and now I'm glad that I can do my part to help so he doesn't have to worry so much.

I've been getting ready for my first ever plane trip next week to Hughenden for Outback Scrap.  I'll put up a post about that shortly so you can see the layout and album I'll be doing.  It's been a lot of work in the lead up but I can't wait to get up there and meet everyone who has been involved and so helpful.  Karen and Lindy from Flinders Poppy - the craft group who has organised the event - have been absolutely amazing and performed some not so small miracles in the face of adversity.  I will definitely be buying those girls a drink!!!  

I'm also excited to hopefully be catching up with my Aunty Anne (my birth mother's sister) and my grandparents whom I've never met.  They live in Townsville and we have a stop-over there before flying out to Hughenden so I'm really looking forward to meeting them and getting some photos.

Well I'm going back to my typing.  I've got a whole pile of Kaisercraft goodies to do up for the coming months of releases along with the other v.talented Kaiser girls so I want to do some of that tonight as well once the typing is finished plus finish off the rest at Jilly's place tomorrow.

Take care y'all!!! Love Lu xx

Monday, 28 July 2008

Unexciting me....

Only unexciting because I haven't really been up to much to share with anyone! lol  It's been a lot of work, work, work and more work, and if someone had told me six months ago (when I was still thinking about how to get my own business off the ground and wondering how on earth I was going to find any clients) that now I'd have people coming to me with offers of work and that I'd have to start turning work down because I have too much, I would never, ever have believed it.  On one hand I'm extremely grateful because being self-employed can be real feast or famine stuff - you either have heaps of work or sometimes not nearly enough to pay the bills - but on the other hand it has left me with so little time for scrapping that I feel like I've forgotten how to scrap properly!!!  I haven't sat and had a whole day to scrap in a long time.  I've been going to Cyberscraps for our fortnightly crop nights which is good but then it's such a fun social thing to catch up with the girls that sometimes I don't even feel like scrapping then.  It can be more fun just chatting and catching up instead.  I did "Unleaded or Regular" at our last crop night.  Glad to have it finished as I started it the fortnight before and it just sat in my bag until the next crop night.  Nothing brilliant but I had wanted to do this layout for a while.  I took the photo of the Coke cans at my birthday lunch this year when Cass and I went out for Singaporean for lunch.  She's always been the full strength "regular" Coke and I've always been the "unleaded" Diet Coke and that's how we both refer to it if we're getting each other a drink "Do you want regular or unleaded?" even though we both know the answer already.  The layout looks black on the right hand side because I cut a one inch strip off the paper so the photo mount corner would stick out and the scanner just sees black if there's nothing there.

The layout below is a "play" layout that I did over at Jill's place a couple of weeks ago.  Jamie went for a sleep over and it was his first "proper" sleep over at a friend's house.  He's used to having sleep overs at Gran's place but staying with friends was a first for him.  It was also Levi and Jonah's first time having a friend sleep over at their place.  Luckily they were all beautifully behaved.  Doesn't it make you wonder why they don't ever do that for their own parents but will be perfect angels for other people?!?!?  I'm referring to James there but I'm glad to hear he didn't have Jill and Tim pulling their hair out with his usual drama queen antics - he saves that for us! lol  So while the boys were settling in and Doug and Tim were off being geeks together Jill and I took the opportunity to have an hour or two to scrap.  Jill's working on gorgeous ATCs which I love to watch her create.  ATCs sort of scare me because they're so little and I worry that I won't have nearly enough room.  The idea of "inchies" makes me cringe even more - I can't wrap my head around working on a 1 inch square space but en masse I'm sure they would look fabulous.  So I had a rummage through Jill's stash and boy does she have some stuff! lol  It's always funny how I look at my own stash and think "Oh I've got nothing good" and go through other people's stashes and find the best, funkiest things but it turns out the owner of that stash thinks they've got nothing good either.  It's all in the perspective isn't it?  I didn't even have my own photos so I've used a pic of Levi.  It was totally just playing and I had fun doing this one.  Sometimes they're the best ones, the ones we do for the complete creativity of it, with no goal in mind, no purpose and no plan.

Anyway I was talking about work before I side-tracked myself.  I haven't counted the hours but I think it's at least a full time job right now and I'm also over the hurdle of having people who pay on different cycles.  Some clients pay weekly, some pay fortnightly, some pay end and middle of the month and another pays monthly so that's been something else to juggle until we've gotten into a pattern and I've gotten used to when money comes in.  It's finally starting to make an appreciable difference to how we get by too, and I've been able to buy a few things for the house that we've needed but haven't had the money for previously.  I think I can even see something that resembles a savings account at some point soon and I haven't had one of those in a very long time.  I know a lot of people are the same; savings?  what savings?  That's the stuff that gets gobbled up by the ever increasing cost of living and the government and the banks all have a tisk-tisk at us terrible people for choosing to eat and have a roof over our heads instead of save our money.  Sorry for the cynicism but I'm sure you get what I mean.

On a brighter note, it's only a couple of weeks now until Outback Scrap happens up in Hughenden, Queensland.  I've got my classes all set and organised and I'll post something in the next couple of days with more details.  If you feel the urge to get away from it all for a few days you should make the trip and come play with us!  You can email me for further info if needed.

Okay well I'm off to type now - nothing new there - but have a great week!  Love Lu xx

Monday, 14 July 2008

SALE! SALE! SALE! Now I have your

Cyberscraps Mid-Year Sale Now On!

30% off everything
(except for already reduced items and Bazzill which is 70c everyday anyway) store wide - even the brand new stuff!!!

Jump online to score a bargain too!

or visit the shop at 36A Ainsworth Street, Salisbury.

Ph 3274 55 22 if you need info or directions.

Sale runs from today, Monday 14th July until Saturday 19th July 2008.

Happy shopping!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Shiny Happy Friday!

Okay well it's a bit of a hodge podge mess this post but let's just try and make the best of it! lol  What's with all the pics you ask?  Blogger has finally changed their upload page to allow for five pics at a time so I figured I should make good use of it because I hardly ever post pics (bad me) and thought I would take the opportunity to photo share what's been going on lately at my place.  I posted a pic of Lachlann cos he's my deep and meaningful one.  He loves contemporary ballet, has a crystal collection which he uses for various purposes and wears a necklace with certain crystal pendants on it for calming and focus.  He's the ADHD kid.  He's kind of floating in the middle right now and I have been trying to find the spare money for him to go to dance classes.  I'm hoping that because he's so emotive and very much a "feeling" creature, that he will be able to use dance as an outlet for his thoughts and emotions.  Logistically it's hard but we'll figure something out.  I think it involves a second car but we need one anyway.

Mr James is in the school choir and he really loves it.  This was their first performance outside of school, at the local shopping centre on a Saturday morning.  I think he spent more time waving at me, watching the crowd and picking his nose than singing but he never misses a performance or a rehersal and as long as he's enjoying himself then that's all that really matters.

I promised James I would share this picture of his favourite whoopee cushion.  He has three of them.  I guess it's the age.....

Now this is more just for my records than anything else.  Caeligh turned 4 waaaaaay back on 4 March and she's like a little adult wandering around in a child's body.  That rampant naughty streak of hers hasn't gone by a long shot but we have a naughty chair in the hallway now which is the "most boringest place in the whole big house" so now at least we have an effective negotiating tool!  She gave me an earful the other day about why she shouldn't have to sit on the naughty chair because she's the princess.  I asked how come she thought she was a princess.  Apparently it's because I call her that all the time, me and Daddy both, so that makes her a princess and princesses get to decide what they want to do.  Apparently I, Mummy, am NOT a princess so I can't tell her what to do but because she is a princess, she can decide not to sit on the naughty chair if she doesn't want to.  I grabbed at a really thin straw and said, "Well, if you're the princess then I'm the Queen so I overrule you kiddo!!!".  She didn't get it until I got out a pack of cards and showed her how the king and queen are in charge! lol

Mr James again, and you can't see it in the photograph but he's lost both of his top front teeth so he's a bit weird about smiling for me.  He turned 7 on 19 May and he's as much a drama queen as ever and everything is a total disaster.  His favourite saying is that he's DOOMED!!!!  What 7 year old thinks he's doomed for goodness sake?  It's always at the height of a screaming hissy fit and it's right up there with, "Can't a boy just have some fun?" when he gets asked to come inside, "Can't a boy just have some toys?" when he wants to take half his room in the car when we go somewhere, "Can't a boy just have a bite to eat?" when he has left it too late to snack before bed, as we're trying to get out the door etc.  He is fully of lots of funny little sayings and mannerisms that I really love in him, including seeing his dad make fun of the Nu Wave Oven on the shopping channel the other day.  We were being sarcastic about how much we'd love a Nu Wave and it's only $299 with a FREE knife set!!!  James sat down and dutifully wrote down the toll free number of the home shopping channel and then brought me the piece of paper and asked if we could get the Nu Wave Oven for daddy for his birthday cos he really seemed to want it a lot.

Blayd has also had a birthday and now I'm officially the mother of a teenager. ARGH!!!!  It's come way too soon, as these things always do, and it really is as if overnight they turn from *sort of* normal kids into grunting, cranky, bad-tempered beasts!!!  He always seems to be in a bad mood and I don't like boy hormones already.  It's been a very eventful month for him actually.  He turned 13 on 28 May and then a week later proceeded to break his right pinky finger just below the first knuckle, snapped it clean through while playing dodgeball at school.  That's the first time any of my kids - touch wood - have broken anything and I consider myself to be lucky for one and blessed secondly that God watches them when I can't and has spared them from worse injury over the years.  He's also had his first girlfriend.  Well, it's kind of a girlfriend...I think...sort  I say that because the young lady in question was also quite partial to his cousin Scott and I think she just wants to hang out with both of them when it suits her so I'm keeping my nose right out of that one!  I did give him the (and I know this sounds dreadful but you'll understand where I'm coming from here) "Bros Before Hos" speech - not in those words of course.  I said something like how his friendship with Scott, who is also his cousin, will be there long after the girl in question has grown up, moved away, found a new boyfriend, etc and that the friendship is worth far more so if it came down to the situation where the girl was causing friction between Blayd and Scott I told Blayd to pick Scott.  Girls will come and go but I hope that their very special lifelong friendship will stay exactly that - lifelong.  Wish me luck on that one!!!! lol

This is the desk where I've spent what feels like every waking hour lately.  My desk where I do my typing work and also where I scrap.  Typing to the right - where you can see my trusty keyboard - and scrapping to the left where you can see my scrap stuff and my purple basket full of inky dinks.  The stuff under the desk is just stash and I'm not even sure I remember what I own anymore.  It will all have to be moved soon as there is a huge built in wardrobe going in our room - exactly where my desk and all that crap - sits right now.  I dread having to move it all.

These is my mobile stash - the bags I take with me whenever I go to Cyberscraps for a crop or to Cass's place to get some scrapping done.  It's all a bit of a mess right now and seriously needs some sorting out.  Would you be surprised if I told you I can't find anything I need when I need it?!?!?!

Cass and I escaped this morning and went to a local LSS for a paper sale.  I was totally restrained and only bought $13.50 worth of paper!!!  Don't even ask me about the fish paper - I have looked at it every single time I've been in that shop for the past couple of months and I figured that there must be a reason I need it for it to keep jumping out at me each time I go in there so I bloody well bought it!  Look out for it on a ghastly layout some time soon! lol.....

I barely took any photos at all over the June Scrapbook Convention weekend.  I did have my camera but it remained in my bag 99% of the time because I was having way too much find talking and demonstrating for Scrapping Outback and helping in Cass's class and chatting to remember to get it out!  The one above is Cass and Melissa at dinner on Friday night at an amazing Indian restaurant in West End called Sitar.  The food was just fantastic, the best Indian I've ever EVER had and it was such a great fun night getting know Melissa and Fi from Kaisercraft.  

This is a pic of moi and the wonderful, wonderful Louise Nelson who came a bloody long way just for a scrap show!!! lol  I've loved Louise's work for just about forever and think she's a mega clever chicky.  We've done the blog stalk back and forth but never met up IRL until that weekend.  I snuck away for half an hour on the last day of the show to have a yak and a hot chocolate with her.  She's really lovely and I'm so glad to have had a chance to catch up with her.  Now I just need to find a reason to go to South Australia for a visit..... lol 

This was Friday night dinner again with Mel, Cass, Me and Fi.

This was Sunday night dinner with the girls from SM, Melissa, Cass, Me and Leanne Stamatellos.  We went to aThai restaurant this time and again, great food, great wine, great company.  Poor ol' Cass got herself a wee bit tiddled!!!!!  You'd never guess it from the pictures though.  Earlier in the evening we found ourselves at the Printblocks for drinks and got to catch up with some of the wonderful industry, retail and magazine chickies from around the place.  

This is a (bad) photograph of the layout I did for Scrapbook Creations' Colour Competition.  It was a struggle, let's be honest, but I'm happy with it.  It was on display along with a layout Cass did as well.  We both had 20 sheets of paper each to use, plus different embellies etc and I was working at Cyberscraps that day so did mine there and she was at home.  She emailed me her layout once it was done and it turns out we had used exactly the same two sheets of patterned paper and our layouts look freakishly similar, right down to the same Fancy Pants journalling card as well!  When Kim (SC Ed.) got them in the mail she apparently thought we'd done it on purpose as a joke!!! lol  Nup, all very Twilight, do-do-do-do...I'm lousy at theme songs, sorry....

Cass and I had a fab day at Jill's place last week, getting our Kaisercraft DT work done.  Yes, even with all that yakking and chatting we even got stuff done.  Her new kitten Fergus is just adorable even though by the time the boys were finished doing some painting, poor Fergus was a bit pink and orange as well as brown!  Jill and fam have been having a well deserved break so hope the travels are all going okay!  See you when you get back!

I'm doing some stuff for Kaisercraft at the moment which is keeping me more than busy, plus I've got a couple of product challenges for SM on the go and an article for SC to finish by next week.  I'm trying to settle into some kind of routine with the new transcription company I'm doing work for and I'm making slow but steady progress there.  It takes up way too many hours but any job does.  I'm spending my days working, occasionally scrapping, thinking a lot about where I want to go with my life in general.  I worry too much, don't enjoy my family enough and I think I'm too inner focussed and feel like I should be doing more for others in the universe.  All very deep but it's a real sense of obligation that I feel at the moment, that I am lucky to have what I have and should be doing more to help those who don't have the life I do.  There's a lady locally who makes up care packs for children who have to go into foster care and most of them arrive at a foster home with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and even those aren't enough most times, so she makes up a drawstring duffle bag that is age appropriate and contains a couple of sets of clothes, new underwear, a new toothbrush, a couple of toys and books so that at least they have something to call their own in the middle of the upheaval of having to leave their family and their home.  I think that's a great cause so I was thinking about trying to get involved in that somehow.  I'm not sure exactly what I can do apart from donating the things that go into these bags but that's a start.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Not long now until Outback Scrap at Hughenden.  I've got my OTP and my layout all done and ready to go and I think we leave Brisbane on 14 August.  This trip will be another tick off the Life List for this year as I'll be going on a commercial plane for the very first time so I'm looking forward to that.

I was also really sad to hear about Jane McGrath this week.  Rest in peace.

I'm off to grab some lunch and then it's back to my keyboard for an afternoon of copy typing.  Have a good weekend and keep in touch yeah?  Love, Lu xx

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