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 me....lol)

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

Mmmmmmm Slider Love