Tuesday, 30 September 2008


How to make something pink look very pink:

1. Put it in a pink bowl

2. Photograph it up close

3. Put something white with it to make the pink look pinker

4. Put it on a doily. Everything looks better on a doily.

And finally, why do all this pink stuff? Well, there are two boys in the house who wouldn't dream of touching pink anything. More marshmallows for us!

More Prismacolor pencil fun at stamp club

I took my Prismacolor pencils to stamp club on the weekend, and made this (well, finished it at home, since I have been in the habit of forgetting to take any card stock at all to stamp club for months now). I used the colourless blender pencil, which I've praised before - it's nice, and a cheap and fun addition to the collection. The owl stamp is by Pipedreamink of Tasmania. They promise they've made some of their small designs in bigger sizes just lately, and we'll get to see them at Paperific, the big papercraft show coming up in Melbourne.

The alphabet is the "Scribble" one by Stampin' Up, known in the US as the "Doodle" alphabet. Apparently the word "doodle" is too rude for us. Or something. And the square frames are an older Stampin' Up set (I've been eBay shopping...). Sharon pointed out that the letters would fit in the frames (well spotted, that girl there), and I decided to mask them. Yay for masking!

Did you need a detail view? No, probably not, but here it is anyway.

Why my screen door needs repairs

Mr Burns found out that scratching on the door made enough noise to call someone, and get let in. But then we started not letting him in straight away. So he scratched more, and higher. Now, he climbs the full height of the door. Naturally, we open it, to yell at him not to climb up. He comes in. That's conditioning!

It's taken us weeks to catch a photo. He jumps down as soon as someone inside moves (for example, to pick up a camera).

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Feathered Friends ATCs part 4

And here we have Jenny Gallagher's entry, featuring a REAL DIAMOND. Yay, I'm rich!

And lastly, this one is from Lisa Manyweathers, and features a really cool stamp, a textured background, and it shimmers too. Neat!

Feathered Friends ATCs part 3

Here's Nikki Blowers' entry, "Secretive Shadows", with many-layered background. She was the hostess too, so full marks to her.

And this is Robyn Wood's entry - so very smart, with fabulous atmospheric background.

Feathered Friends ATCs part 2

Sandra Hartwig's ATC - that's a cool transparent bird. With little "birdies" in the bird houses.

Then there's Joc Luhr's "King of the Bush. Nice raised kookaburra, and very smart colours.

Feathered Friends ATC swap

I was in an ATC swap recently - the topic was "Feathered Friends" - nice, since bird stamps are "so hot right now". The hostess, Nikki, suggested we emphasise the bird in its environment. I wondered how to do that, since naturally my card started with a dictionary background. Finally it hit me - go obvious. The Air. Duh.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Snowman Cake!

I got this cake tin from an op shop - well, of course. It's a Tupperware silicon one (they are 'spensive, so I pounced). This is the first time the cake's actually come out - my first try was a mess. But - how to show off the snowmanniness in the best light? Thomas suggested a thin drizzle of runny white icing, and I think I agree now. The dusting just doesn't do it.

Mmm, it's rather rich... buttery! Needs a really hot cup of tea with it.

Meat Tray Stamps

We're having roast chicken tonight - the chicken was on a foam tray. I was trying to decide if it went into the recycling or the rubbish, and decided to make stamps! Here's my best one (the star) and Catriona's best one ("Be Happy"). For a proper session, save up three or four trays. Also put newspaper on the table.

9 out of 10 doctors recommend...

We just don't get useful advertising like this any more...

This is from my 1935 Crofts Stores cookbook. I couldn't find what happened to Kurrle's. You'd think selling doctor-recommended sweeties would keep you in business...

1935 called, and it wants its cookbook back!

One of my favourite things to collect is old cookbooks. Not so much the "proper" books, but the booklets from magazines, or from shops, or manufacturers. Here's one, from Crofts Stores in Melbourne, picked up at a garage sale. It's from 1935. Crofts prided themselves in having over 100 grocery stores around Melbourne and the country areas, all with personal service. Here's a cool page - they promise that, when you send your child to do some shopping, they will send the change home in a sealed envelope. Now that's service! Why get dressed, indeed?

Want more? I have more good pages to share. Endless amusement, well worth the 20c or so I spend on these things...

Why I don't get more craft done

"Argh, a sunbeam ... oh no, I've gone unconscious again!".

Mr Burns likes black chairs especially, and the craft room is very sunny in the daytime.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Giant Ducky Sighting

Giant ducks sighted at Monash Gallery of Art ... reported to be many times larger than normal duckies ... all parents are requested to take children to see giant duckies ... novelty photography is allowed.

The art gallery is always worth visiting (free too), there's a cafe, and the library is in the same building. A whole world of entertainment for bookish duck-likers. A better than average place for a picnic or a "run around" too.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Not a poppy

I just made this - a discussion on Stamphappy of a stamp with a poppy on it reminded me I owned this one from Tin Can Mail (and a cousin, with a lemon on an alphabet background). So I had to use it before putting it away. It's Prismacolor pencils again. I was wondering if they would overwhelm the fine lines of the stamp - yes, a bit, on the background, but the foreground holds up well. Not sure if I like it, now that I see it photographed. Oh well, try again.

Ooh, look, a banner

It's amazing what you can do with graphics software, and not a lot of idea of how to use it. I just made a banner! Naturally I had to pick a new template to go with it. Then I had to resize the banner. A few times. Who knew the templates would fit just one size of banner? The artwork in the background is made from a collage I made some years ago. The collage is made inside an old board book - one of those jigsaw books that kids always lose the pieces of. It makes a nice frame for your work, and a skinny niche to put slightly 3-d items into. I used some great stamps from Buzz and Bloom , the "Ribbons and Bows" set. The buttons are cut out of scrapbook paper; the postage stamps are real; the secret letter is hand written by me with a real dip pen on some kind of transparent paper (it probably reads "the quick brown fox.."). Must fill up the last of that book, it looks odd with some pages decorated and some with garish photos of Hi-5!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

How Awesome an Awesome stamp can look...

... if it's done awesomely, that is. This is the fantastic PSX Morning Glory stamp, one of the big K-sized botanicals that are so popular (and discontinued). This one's had a rubberectomy years ago (before it joined my collection) so the wording is not on the stamp. Here, it's coloured with pencils from my new HUGE Prismacolor set, including the colourless blender, which I swear by.

But here's something different - the same stamp, stamped in Raisin Adirondack dye based ink. That ink will "run" when it gets wet, and I've used it deliberately. I let the image dry a bit, then got out a fine water brush (works just as well with a fine paintbrush dipped in water) and "coloured it in" by drawing the colour from the lines into the areas I wanted coloured. Gosh that looks ... awesome!

Now, what other stamps can I do this to? There aren't that many of today's designs that lend themselves to this approach. Oops, sounding old there.

By the way, do drop me a line when the word "awesome" goes out of fashion. I'd hate to sound daggy.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

How Much Fun You Can Have Close To Home

We went to a fete today - it was at the local retirement home (the same one that ran the Art Show). I'm a little under the weather, so I dragged my driver along, which meant the kids came along too. That turns a treasure hunting expedition into a Family Outing. Cool!

I bought jelly cakes at the cake stall. I thought they were pink lamingtons, but it seems the cake is somehow coated in actual jelly. Mmm.

The kids got showbags, which included these rather smart sunnies.

And we won the hamper raffle! Some wine, chocolates, bikkies, toys, a kettle, writing paper, more stuff, all in a big basket. I was just needing a big basket for the next hamper raffle prize that *I* have to pack. Some of today's hamper could well get recycled for the school fete, but that's what hampers are all about. I can't see the chocolates getting out of the house alive though.

And at the trash and treasure stall, I bought an almost-complete Griffin and Sabine letter-writing kit for 50c. Now that is cool!

Also a great Anchor Hocking plate, the one that goes with the famous peach glaze mugs. You know, these ones. This may end up on eBay (there just isn't room in the house for all the pretties I collect) but I will be enjoying it for a few days at least.

What a Drama Queen!

Well, I did it again - called an ambulance and raced off to hospital.

It's over two weeks since the heart procedure that was supposed to stop my (infrequent but very serious) bouts of VT. While recovering I've been feeling tired and knocked-around. Several days ago, I started feeling a bit fluttery in the chest, and it didn't feel right. I saw the GP, and one of my specialists (who got on the phone to the other specialist) and they all agreed I should take it easy, and they'd like more information. I was booked in for a few tests on Friday, but late on Thursday night I woke up feeling worse than ever.

Obviously we save up ambulance rides for crises, but it's hard to tell when it's a crisis, so we called 000. They were there in minutes, and the two paramedics hooked me up and got an ECG right there in the lounge room. Cool use of technology! It showed enough odd stuff that I "won a trip to hospital" as they said. But it wasn't the dreaded VT, just a bunch of funny beats that were worth investigating.

It settled right down in the ambulance. Natch. By the time I arrived I was well enough to go home, but there's no escaping it once they've opened a file. I shuffled down the importance list, and both paramedics hovered, keeping an eye on me. We chatted about eBay, Lego, chess, and other stuff. One of them told me how to jump the queue at the emergency department. Just examine your left hand, and wiggle the fingers, looking puzzled, as if you are wondering why it hurts. All smart Emergency medicine people are looking for behaviour like that. OK, I promise never to use the trick, but it's good to know that non-technological methods are used so effectively.

Soon I had a spot (Resus 1). Two nurses started sticking sticky dots all over me (more sticky dots, I should say) to hook me up to the heavy duty monitor. It was cold, and being handled started the flutters again. What followed was many hours of lying in bed, looking at my monitor, seeing it beep whenever something bad enough happened to justify a beep. I played a quick word game on the iPod, and when the novelty of being in hospital wore off, asked them to lower the back of the bed so I could sleep. Didn't sleep more than a few minutes, of course (all the observations). The monitor beeps when you heart rate goes below 60, which is actually quite normal when you are juuust about asleep, so that helps heaps.

I had Skippy cornflakes for breakfast. Not my favourite cereal, but hey. Also stewed pears.

When the sun came up and all normal people were at work, they got my specialist on the phone (the one who was expecting me at 11 that morning anyway). He still wanted to see me, so I had to call Jeff, get him to oversee the kids going to school; drop Thomas at a Chess tournament; get my clothes; and, just quickly, drive me to the city. Oh, and not go to work.

We got to the specialist's office just a few minutes before we were expected, and I looked lovingly at the cafe next door. Jeff said it was smarter to check in with the receptionist straight away. She was expecting us, and said "Ah, yes, he wants to see you - take a seat". We worked out he was busy with a patient for a few minutes, but we could sneak a coffee, and she'd call us when we were needed.

Jeff had a big hunk of Hedgehog - not as nice as home made, but very acceptable. My coffee was yummy. Yes, I was allowed, I checked.

So, a quick echo cardiogram, and a visit to the good doctor, and he tells me that what is happening is normal enough that it definitely won't cause me to drop dead (well, that's my handy summary), and if I feel yucky I should have some serious rest. I'm on a new tablet, which has the job of just helping me feel better (it doesn't "fix" anything, but with any luck it's stop me being such a drama queen). It seems to work. We compare notes again next week.

That photo is an ECG from the hospital stay. Cool, huh? Anyway, I'm fine, and I guess there's some chance of more work being done to me, but it's also quite possible that I'm just "settling down".

It was a lovely day in Melbourne today, and Jeff took me out to a fete (see the next post!).

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Chicken Enhancement

A wonderful garage sale purchase on the weekend (the box was still sealed) which we turned into a very, very classy dinner.

I, of course, tried to research the history of chicken frills. Why do we use them? Do they have special significance? Apart from the frightening fact that they are still on sale at all good catering suppliers, I have nothing to add. For some reason, I associate them with Samantha from "Bewitched" - I think that's about the time period when home cooks would use chicken frills. Anyway, there you go, a bit of culture you probably didn't expect. The roast pumpkin was excellent, and there's some left over for a Roast Pumpkin Pizza. Mmmm.

Friday, 5 September 2008

The Truth about Sushi

Leave a sketchbook open on the table, have a conversation with three kids about sushi rolls, and you know what'll happen...

"I'm still alive"

"Not again"

"I'm still alive as well"

"This is too tight for me"

"This is just ridiculous!"

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Moxie Book

Here's something I know you haven't seen before - it's the Moxie Book. I made it from the box from some Moxie brand (shh, quietly now) tampons. These useful items come packed in two really, really cute tins, and the two tins are in a cute box with a window in the front. Well, it goes without saying that the tins are not getting thrown away; but I had a hard time putting the box into the recycling. So the Moxie Book was born.

Bound with the wonderful Zutter binding machine (I've given you a link to Christina's Crafts, a local retailer I get all my binding stuff from), and decorated with real vintage buttons, vintage lace, and real modern glue.

Scrummy ANZAC biscuits!

Hands up, who's got a ten year old clever enough to bake like this? No? Just me then, is it? Thomas felt the "urge" to bake ANZACs after school, and we told him to give in to the urge. They are the best ever, I do believe.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Finally caught one!

After months of patient waiting, I've finally snapped a photo of a cute little birdy in my bird bath. Now, who can help me identify the little tyke?