Thursday, February 26, 2009

New papers to play with ...

Hello again -

I hope this week finds you all happy and well.

I made a trip to my local Scrap Shop the other day, prior to going to a new Melbourne crop with Kath, and bought some of the papers from the new Basic Grey ranges - Marrakech, Bittersweet and Porcelain. They're just lovely! I also got some of the papers from Ambrosia, Urban Prairie and Offbeat - Basic Grey really are pumping out some great stuff lately!

Here's a layout that I started at last weekend's crop, and then all my inspiration flew out the window, so I couldn't finish it off. I got to the stage where I was just shuffling paper around on the page, and Kath was laughing at me, so I put it aside and half-started something else.

I finally got around to working on it again last night - just love the Ambrosia range. I did start out loosely basing it on a Pagemaps sketch, as inspiration had failed me, but then fiddled with it more, and ended up with this :)

I hope to try and get another layout finished soon (maybe tonight??) that I started on the weekend ... but I'm still a bit stumped for a title. I just adore the photo of my two boys, and normally titles are not something that I struggle with, but I've got nothing yet for this one. Hopefully inspiration will strike for that one soon!

Melbourne's weather is not sounding too good for tomorrow, with high temperatures and high fire danger again, so for everyone's sake, I'm really hoping that we don't have any more fires break out ...

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend planned, and I'll talk to you soon.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some more layouts to share ...

Hello all :)

I've been on a bit of a roll with my scrapping lately - I think it's because I was scrapping-deprived while we were away, I'm trying to make up for lost time.

Here is a layout that I did last night of a great pic of Ashton on his first day at school, and also a couple of layouts that I had started back at Warana last year that I finally finished off last night as well.

And here is page 1 of the Book of Me that I have started as well. Now my challenge is going to be finding (or taking) some half-decent photos of myself for the BOM. Hmmm ..... I like being behind the camera, not in front of it!

And finally, just a quick hello to Kath too :)

Talk to you soon,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My first CJ entry ...

Hello all ...

Having been in the duldrums since the events of Saturday, I decided to try and scrap myself out of 'the blues' ... so I have been creating things this week!

I have done my first ever CJ entry ... have always heard about CJs, but never really knew what was involved, and didn't really think I was of the standard to participate. But, this year, I've decided to throw caution to the wind, and am participating in the 2009 CJ at Scrapchat. This year's CJ is a little different - instead of everyone having to send around the whole album from participant to participant, we're actually making our pages, and just sending that page to the album's owner (saving heaps on postage!). I think that that is the reason why we have had such a huge response - there is about 20 people taking part in the CJ this year, and we are each doing 2 entries a month.

Here is the entry that I have done for Sandy - her theme is 'A few of my favourite things', and she had 10 topics for people to list. She also requested that Basic Grey Urban Prairie papers be used if at all possible. Thankfully I already had the matching brads as well! :)

Here is my sign-in card ...
And here is my left hand page ...

And here is my right hand page ...

I have chosen the theme 'Betcha didn't know ...' for my own CJ, but I'm yet to complete even my own entry *sighs* ... being away for most of December and January has put me behind a bit, but I'm working hard to try and catch up with everything.

Here is a pic of the card I made for Greg and Brooke's wedding ... I decided to go home between the ceremony and the reception, and whipped this little card up while I was there.

And here is a card I made for my Dad's cousin's 70th birthday. My dad has decided that, rather than going to shops and buying cards, he'll support me in my endeavours, and 'commission' me to make all the cards they need. They get cards that they really like, and I get my name out there a bit as well with all their friends etc. A very sweet gesture on his part ...

And now, I think it's time to put my littlest kidlet to bed for a rest, and I can get back to doing my first ever Book Of Me layout. The Scrapping Around forum is posting BOM topic suggestions each month, and I have decided to give this a go too. I will be scrapping these pages in 8.5 x 11 as well - something else I've never done before - just to try something a little different. Now, watch me struggle with trying to lay everything out on the different sized pages .... LOL.

Thankfully, we had a tear-free drop off at school this morning with Ashton - we had a little chat after his drop off on Tuesday, and determined that he's getting frightened with so many adults around. So, I suggested that we find his little friend Saskia from his class, and maybe he could stand with her in line, and then he wouldn't need to get frightened. He thought this was a great idea (he's besotted with her already ...), and it seemed to work a treat :)

Anyway, I hope you're all having a lovely Thursday, and I'll talk to you soon.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Such a sense of sadness ...

I'm writing to you today with such a heavy heart ... the bushfires that swept across Victoria have really left everyone here in such a complete state of shock.

As I write this, a total of 173 people have been confirmed dead, and unfortunately, this total is still expected to rise in the coming days, as fire crews and Disaster Victim Identification teams gain access to the affected areas.

The weather on Saturday was the worst I have ever seen. The heat was almost unbearable (about 47 degrees where I am), the wind was unbelievable, and the smoke in the sky was frightening. We had a grass fire in the street next to ours, but thankfully, it was contained very quickly, and spread no further.

Unfortunately, that was not the case for so many Victorian communities. I am still in a state of shock when I see the photos of places like Kinglake (about 30 minutes from me) and Marysville. Marysville is my most favourite little place - such a gorgeous little country village - and the stopping point for most of our camping and four wheel driving adventures. I feel such a deep sadness that a place so beautiful has been decimated by this fire. I cried when I saw the pictures of Marysville's main street.

Kinglake, as we knew it, doesn't really exist any more. The horrible pictures of those cars, all crashed together, and now burnt out - obviously desperately trying to escape the fires, but came to grief with the poor visibility ... that image will stay with me for a long time.

If you're wanting to see some of the pictures first hand, The Australian website has some very compelling slideshows available ... they clearly show the force of these fires, and the total destruction they caused.

And then there are pictures like this one that really bring a lump to the throat ...

The fires were coming down closer into towns that are not really that far from me. They worked down into St Andrews, Christmas Hills, and Kangaroo Ground. We have even had a couple of small grass fires in Warrandyte, which is basically just 'next door' to us. I have been on edge with the prospect of the fires getting that close to me - I can't begin to imagine how those people who have been through the thick of the fires are feeling. I think there are many people who are still numb - in a state of shock, because this all happened so damn fast.

What I am struggling with at the moment is just how helpless I feel. I'm lucky. I have my house, my car, my family and my friends all around me. I have a job to go to in the morning. So many people now have absolutely nothing.

This morning I drove to Diamond Creek, to the Community Centre, which is acting as a collection centre for donations from the community, and where those directly affected from the fire (which was really just up the road from there) can go to get assistance. It was so upsetting to look across to the next hill top as I was driving in, and all I could see was burnt forest. There's nothing there. It's all just black, and a lot of it is still smouldering. The road block at St Andrews is still there, stopping people from returning back up to their homes.

Once I got to the Community Centre, I was overwhelmed by the level of support I could see there. I had to queue in the main street, before I could even turn into the driveway, to drop off what I had to give. I gave them baby bottles, and small baby food containers, bath towels, hand towels, facewashers and manchester, and I also donated my 3-wheeler pram and toddler seat that has been sitting here waiting for me to list it on Ebay. I thought someone there might have a more urgent need for it.

I also have heaps of kids clothes that I can donate, and also some of my own, but at the moment, they are struggling to sort through everything they have received. There were piles and piles of clothes, all needing to be sorted into sizes etc. There was a small army of volunteers, directing people in the right direction to drop off their goods, and then sorting the goods once they had been delivered. I was advised to hold off taking more clothes at the moment - they need to sort through what they have before they can accept much more. People were arriving with toilet paper, shampoo, razors, toothpaste, soap .... the personal things that everyone is going to need, much more than 20 cans of tomato soup.

I was so heartened to see so many people springing into action to help their community - it brought a lump to my throat.

The more immediate need for people affected by these horrible fires right now though, once the basics of clean clothes and essential toiletries have been sorted out, is money. If anyone reading this (even my international visitors) would like to contribute, to try to ease their suffering in this desperate situation, the Red Cross has a secure online donation system happening. At last count, I think there was about $15 million that had been donated by the public, and more is still coming in. More is still going to be needed though, to help these poor people through, so if you are able to contribute, even a small amount, please consider doing so at the Red Cross website.

Now is the time for everone to pitch in to do their bit ...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I did a layout!!

I know ... I know .... I too was beginning to think I'd forgotten how to scrap! It's been so looooooong since I've done a layout - I think it was mid-November?? I made a few last-minute Christmas cards in December, but that's about it.

But, thankfully, the Scrapping Around CC this weekend (where I'm on the DT) gave me cause to do my sample layout, and also another layout for one of the other challenges. I hope to get more challenges done too if I can.

Here is the sample I did for my '3 Little Things' challenge ...

And here is the layout I did for Tanja's Challenge #2 - 'Who stole my heart?'

It's so nice to be back and scrapping again, although I did sit at my desk for a little while so I could remember what it was that I had to do.

Hopefully the mojo will stick around for a while, and I'll be able to show you a few more layouts in the next little while.

Hope everyone is surviving the heat today - we've had a grassfire down at the end of our street, and the sky is full of smoke, but thankfully there's no direct threat to us yet ....

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A successful first day ...

Well, it's been a long time coming, but my biggest little man started school today!

He had a wonderful time - was up bright and early, and was dressed and ready to go by 7.45am! Poor thing wasn't meant to be there until 9.30am ... so we waited, and waited, and finally headed to school about 9.00am.

I've just been to pick him up, and he has had a wonderful day. He skipped out of class and was singing songs and telling me he played with train tracks and was bursting with excitement. So, SO happy to hear he had a great first day.

I'm sure the enthusiasm will wear off eventually, but I hope it lasts a little longer yet :)

Here are some pics of School Day #1. I don't have Photoshop back on my pooter yet, so they're unedited, sorry ...