Improving my photography

It’s a gorgeous sunny Sunday today here in Sydney and although the sun streaming into my craft room is very inviting, I’m taking a bit of a crafting break today to take some photos.  I’m doing an online photography course at Jessica Sprague to try and improve my photographs of my family and of course for my blog.  Plus I feel super guilty using my SLR camera on auto all the time *blush*.

This is a photo of my gorgeous little man, Ralph (named after Ralph Wiggum of the Simpsons).  Ralph is my little buddy and keeps me company all day while I craft, blog and whatever else I’m doing around the house – he’s always by my side :D

I was trying to get a photo of Ralph running (practicing photographing movement).  For those who are interested, Ralph is King Charles Cavalier x Shih Tzu – also known as a Shavalier, Cavatzu or as my husband suggested, King Shihtz. LOL

So I’ve just noticed all those weeds in my garden – how did they get there?

I hope you’re all enjoying the weekend and I’ll be back tomorrow with more crafting.

A card from my daughter

Today I’m sharing with you a card that my 13 year old daughter, Jade, made for me for Mother’s Day last week.  Jade is a huge fan of Teneale Williams’ work and she CASEd this card by Teneale for me.

I’m so impressed with how well she did!  Seriously… the ribbon she worked out all on her own how to do and because we didn’t have any of the Urban Oasis paper that Teneale used (it’s now retired), Jade recreated the paper using Stampin’ Up!’s Fifth Avenue Floral stamp set.

Jade obviously took a lot of time and care to make me this card and I’m so proud of my gorgeous girl.

Here’s a photo of Jade at Christmas with our little furry guy, Ralph, who turns 2 today.  Happy Birthday Ralphie!

Here’s the products that Jade used to make my card. Email me to order any of  these or other Stampin’ Up! products.

Rubber Stamps:
Fifth Avenue Floral

Cardstock & Paper:
Baja Breeze
Very Vanilla
Watercolour Paper
Baja Breeze Patterned Paper Stack

StazOn Black
Baja Breeze


Vanilla Satin Ribbon
Large Flower Brad
Large Pretties Kit Pearl (now retired)

Stampin’ Dimensionals
Glue Dots

Thank you card

I spent a lovely day yesterday making cards (make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post to read more).  I challenged myself to use an uninked stamp set – yes, I have a few (cough cough) of those and it was lovely to start fresh and be inspired by new images.  Now I know you all have unused stamps or products sitting there in your craft area so I’m challenging you too, to make a card or two today using some products that you’ve never used before!  I’m sure you’ll have fun :D

This is a really simple card, not much to explain about it.  You will notice though that the bird image is the same as the Stampin’ Up! Two-Step Bird punch – very handy that!  The stamp set I’ve used is called Punch Potpourri and it coordinates perfectly with Stampin’ Up!’s punches.  You might notice there’s no ribbon on my card – instead of ribbon I added a small strip of Marina Mist patterned paper -  this is a great way to use up those scrap pieces of patterned paper that you can’t bring yourself to throw out ;)

Style tip: sponging the edges around a punched image as I did with the heart, softens the image and adds interest and depth.

All products are by Stampin’ Up! and available for purchase through me.

Rubber Stamps:
Punch Potpourri (cannot be bought, but can be received(!) with all orders over $300 (own order or combined with a friend at the same time)
Fabulous Phrases

Cardstock & Paper:
Very Vanilla
More Mustard
Marina Mist
Subtles Patterns Designer Series Paper Pack (Wild Wasabi and Marina Mist)

More Mustard
Wild Wasabi

Full Heart Punch
Two-Step Bird Punch
Sponge Dauber

Basic Jewels (self-adhesive rhinestones)
Hodgepodge frame

Stampin’ Dimensionals
Crystal Effects (used to glue the cardstock to the back of the Hodgepodge)

I don’t usually share family stuff here on my blog because I figure it’s all a bit boring for my readers – but I thought I’d post some photos of the lovely view I had yesterday while I was making cards.  Looking outside my craft room window I can see our huge mango tree (I had to use my long lens on the camera and zoom in as I’m upstairs).  Now look closely, can you see something in the tree?

Here’s a closer view:

My darling husband along with the eager help of my two boys built a fab hangout in our mango tree.  In the middle there you can see my son Thomas lying on the platform reading an e-book on his iTouch, escaping the heat and humidity (and no doubt his brother and sister!) by enjoying some time in the mango tree.

Where have I been?

Wow, I think this is the longest I haven’t blogged for since I started blogging over 2 years ago.  To be truthful I don’t know why… but I’ll make a list of things that have been going on around here which might give us both an idea of where my time has gone.

  • Christmas shopping for the whole family.  I started so late this year that I was in a panic a week before Christmas.  Never again! (please remind me of this next November?)  My biggest issue is keeping things even between my three children… I buy one extra cute thing for one child then realise everything is off-balance and I have to go and buy something else for the other two children.  Surely I’m not the only one that does this???
  • Wrapping and mailing presents for my Stampin’ Up! team members.
  • The usual running children around to their ‘end of school year’ parties.  (For those of you in the US, the Australian school year ends some time in December and begins again around the 1st of February).
  • Helped my husband shovel three truckloads of dirt in the front and back yard on the 23rd of December because a tonne of new grass was being delivered on Christmas Eve.  Nothing like leaving things to the last minute!
  • Spent time with our family who arrived from New York for a few weeks holiday here in Australia.
  • Became hopelessly addicted to WiiFit.  Truly the lounge-lizard’s ultimate form of exercise.
  • Spent much time relieving sore and stiff muscles in the spa (see point above for explanation of sore muscles).
  • Read Beedle The Bard.  I was sooooo disappointed in this.  I’m a huge Harry Potter fan but I really didn’t enjoy this book.  I’m glad the money for the book goes to charity – although you can save time and send the money straight to charity instead.
  • Played a heap of new boardgames with my children which they received for Christmas.
  • Hmmm, thought I didn’t do any ‘work’ but now that I remember, yes… I made 6 cards that were commissioned of me for an Australian cardmaking magazine called Creative Cardmaking and Papercraft (issue with my cards will be out in 2009… not sure which issue but it’ll include Mother’s Day cards so maybe April?).
  • Watched The Devil Wears Prada (which a very sweet friend of mine bought me for Christmas), watched it once as normal then second time with Director/Producer commentary.
  • Spent Boxing Day on the beach with family.  Boxing Day (for my US readers) is the day after Christmas.  So Boxing Day was spent on Narrabeen beach (Sydney) eating, drinking and watching my children, their cousins and friends have an ‘ice cream cake eating competition’ without cutlery. LOL.

I’m sure I’ve done a lot more than that over the past few weeks but that gives you a glimpse of my life.

I hope you had a beautiful and relaxing Christmas :D

Today is beautiful

It’s raining here today in Sydney but it’s a beautiful day and life is just perfect. :D

Stampin’ Music

Gasp!  Taking a big breath here as I’ve been off-line for two weeks.  Thankfully I could still get emails from my phone so I wasn’t totally out of touch with the world.  Anyway, while I sort out stuff that I’ve made here that I can upload, I thought I’d do a quick post to find out what everyone out there listens to while they stamp.  I usually stamp with no music on (I enjoy the silence), but recently I’ve needed a pick me up so I don’t fall asleep at my desk… no not bored, just very hot in my office.  So while I stamped I’ve listened to Aerosmith (my favourite stampin’ music) and even some (okay… big confession time here…) Wham!  Hey, it’s perky! LOL.

So ‘fess up you guys… what do you listen to when you stamp?  (and no, you can’t say “my kids whining”). ;)

Christos Anesti!

Christos Anesti to all you Greeks out there that happen to be visiting my blog. For everyone else, it’s Greek Easter today so instead of showing cards I’m sharing some happy snaps of the family smashing dyed eggs which is a Greek Easter tradition. Eggs, plates…. we sure do love smashing stuff! :D

jade & nick easter 2008.jpg

tom & nick easter 2008.jpg

paul & jade easter 2008.jpg

nick & jade easter 2008.jpg

paul tom nick easter 2008.jpg

Yep, kiddies are in their PJs as I just took these photos this evening.

Prize for the hardiest egg goes to Thomas! Yay Tommy! :D Everyone else got their eggs totally smashed. Hehehehehe.

Double Digits!!!

My little darling is growing up. :( When kids are little babies everyone tells you to enjoy them because they grow up so fast. Unfortunately when you’re sleep deprived, under a mountain of nappies (diapers) and bottles of milk and chasing them around the house so they don’t hurt themselves, it’s difficult to keep focus. Yes, it does go fast – and my baby daughter turned 10 the other day. Sigh. Anyone have a time machine so I can keep her this way forever?

Anyway, I actually came close to buying her a card this year instead of making one as I wondered whether she sometimes wished I’d just buy one like everyone else gets. Seems I was wrong as she was absolutely thrilled with her card. So much so in fact, that she asked me to order her a pack of the Au Chocolate designer paper I used to make it. LOL.

Here’s the card:

Jades 10th Birthday card.jpg

All images copyright Stampin’ Up! 1990-2008

To make this card I used: (All products by Stampin’ Up!)

Chocolate Chip Cardstock
Pretty In Pink Cardstock
Pretty In Pink Marker (coloured in the dots on the patterned paper)
Pretty In Pink Brads
Stampin’ Up! Tool Kit (to make evenly spaced holes for the brads)
Au Chocolate Double-Sided Designer Paper (Summer Mini Catalogue)
On Board Simon Lower Chipboard (the number 10)
Cool Caribbean Inkpad
Sponge Dauber
Clear Embossing Powder
Dazzling Diamonds Glitter
Versamark Inkpad
Heat Gun
Flirty Ribbon Originals (pink ribbon)

If you receive my newsletter then you would have seen the ’10′ that’s in the card in my newsletter along with instructions on how I decorated the chipboard. If not, email me on and I’d be happy to send the newsletter for you.

Are You Royalty?

We’re still on school holidays here and the kids were starting to get a bit bored (yes, it’s hot and we have a great swimming pool and the kid’s rooms look like a toy stores but you know…) so my lovely neighbour who does a lot of work for her church kindly offered to take them to Bible Camp for the week.  Yahoo! LOL.  It’s 5 mornings for one week and the kids love going as they get to do craft, singing and outdoor games, etc.  The theme of this Bible Camp is Narnia - and for those in the know, Narnia actually has religious undertones.  Aaaanyway… to cut a long story short, one of the Bible Camp leaders asked the kids “Does anyone here come from a Royal Family?” (keeping with the theme of Jesus being King, etc).  Well my son (6 years old) decided that he fit that category.  He put up his hand and at the top of his voice said “Yes me. My sister is a Drama Queen”.  Snort!  Needless to say that my daughter (9 years old) was totally mortified. LOL.

The things kids say. LOL.  Anyone else here had their child come up with a real gem lately?

Warning! Proud Mother Bragging Moment

Oh I can’t help myself… I have to brag.  It was Presentation Day today at the kids’ school and my husband and I went along to do the usual “photo and video thing”… what a memorable day – all three of my (okay, our) children won a special award.  Nicholas and Thomas (twins but in separate classes) each won the Academic Award for their class and Jade won a Citizenship Award. :D .  All three received a certificate, engraved medal and a special book chosen for them.

Sorry to bore y’all. LOL.  This one is for any of the relatives reading. ;)

Edited to add:  I’m extremely proud of all three of my children.  But really the awards are just a bonus.  The most important thing is that they are all so very enthusiastic about everything they undertake and they enjoy school.  I’m just proud of them for being themselves.