Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Get Some Scrumpy!

Ah, it's Cider Festival time again! Kellybrook Winery, in the Yarra Valley, is having it's annual Cider Festival this weekend (2 and 3 May 2009).

There's scrumpy, draught cider, champagne cider, apple juice, apple brandy; and not to forget, it is also a winery!

Mmmm. You should go there. I've given you the link. But watch out for Morris Dancers!

It's also a very nice place to get married, I can tell you.

They're all Scouts now!

We had a momentous occasion last week - both boys were invested into Scouts! Catriona is already a full scout, and the boys had spent the last few weeks bearing the undignified title of "Scubs" - Cubs becoming Scouts.

There were a lot of Scubs going up on one night (about ten of them) so the leaders and some older scouts organised something special. They built a rope bridge each new scout had to scale to get to their investiture ceremony.

Here's Thomas on the bridge - his Patrol Leader and APL are encouraging him along.

And here's Jonathan promising to uphold the scout law:

What does this mean for the family? Well, more exciting activities to participate in; more serious camps they can go on; a chance to work towards the Jamboree (best camp ever!); and of course, Mum and Dad get to go out together one night a week. Or stay in and enjoy the peace.

We're hoping Pop (an old scout leader himself) sees this. Hi Pop!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Mr Burns : the jungle cat

Here's a snap from my recent trip to the darkest jungles of, let's say, Africa. I was time travelling too, so it was the late Cretaceous.

No, seriously, it's Mr Burns in the kitchen, but you see what I'm saying about prehistoric backdrops.

Mr Squishbelly comes to visit

Catriona's been at it again - she saw a book about soft toys in a book shop, and immediately made this little dude - Mr Squishbelly.

Then when I was out at stamp club yesterday, she found the felt offcuts and made this terrifying beast :

Thanks to Thomas for the backdrop (we made it for animated films, but you'd be amazed how often you need a prehistoric backdrop around the house).

OK, that's enough kid stuff. Next post will be way more grown up and mature, I promise.

Friday, 24 April 2009

The chess master contemplates

Thomas ponders his next move. He's our chess player. He's playing black to Jonathan's white.

That's a nice chess set you have there ...

Wait a minute, those pieces are SOLID CHOCOLATE!

Tee hee - another garage sale find, a chess piece chocolate mould!

Creepy Toy - Mermaid Style

I missed joining in Mixed Media Monday (with a Mermaid theme) this week, so this can be my symbolic participation.

But that's not a creepy toy, that's adorable...

Let's just admire it from all angles, eh?

Argh! That's creepy in the rough!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Coloured Pencil Comparisons again

The first bit of colouring we have here is a classic PSX scenery stamp, coloured in Derwent Graphitint pencils - they are graphite pencils with colour. They can be used to watercolour, and the colour is brighter when you add water than you would think.

Fun to use, and you get some surprises - the sky was mostly just one shade, but it looks like several.

Horrors, there's no real yellow in this set. Hmm.

This one's still on my desk, waiting to be made up into a proper card or something.

This other card was coloured with Derwent Watercolour pencils, the regular range. Obviously I wasn't trying to make the colours match in the two samples (if I want to get properly fussy about this, that's what I'd do).

This one went to Mylene, 'cos it looks like Mill Lane! I owed her a treat, and this was the least I could do. No, really, I worked it out, it was the very least.

Not pretty dolls, you know...

An old stamping friend has told me about this - a cloth doll show, coming up in Berwick outside of Melbourne. There will be around 600 cool character dolls made with all sorts of methods. It's on May 3, 2009. Well worth an outing. We're going!

So have a look at From Cloth To Clay, and tell them I sent you. Umm, they'll probably look at you funny, 'cos they don't know me at all, but hey, it'll give you something to chat about as you pay your $5 at the door.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Looking for the best ANZAC biscuit recipe ever?

Well, you are in luck. We bake them all the time. Jeff has tweaked his recipe until even I can get nice results.

And to share it properly, I've given it its own blog.

Here's where you find the Best ANZAC biscuit recipe (well, in my opinion).

I won Candy!!!

The lovely Mylene ran a blog candy giveaway, and I was the lucky winner! Check out my goodies : a bangle and ring, hand made of resin by the clever Ms H.

Here's me tending my fragrant herb garden, wearing a glamorous bangle :

And here's the ring, posing for all it's worth on a little succulent plant.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

A Lego Fish, right here in Melbourne!

The Lego world is abuzz (well, this little part of it is) about the introduction to the Lego range of a FISH! Yes, an actual fishy to swim around in your Lego models. It's currently available in a small Pirate themed set (a pirate cooking a fish over a fire). I bought the set yesterday in a local toy shop and we've already made an animation with it.

Kevin Rudd and a Lego Minifig

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Creepy Toy Meeting

"What are you in for?"

"Oh, you know, huge head, tiny body"

"Yeah, me too ..."

Easter Cake

Mmm, Easter cake...

It's all gone now, sorry.

Hey, when did you guys start dressing the same?

In the morning, I'm makin' waffles!

Typical breakfast in the Laing house. Hah!

That's my plate I painted my own self at Robert Gordon!

And here's a close up of those yummy strawberries..

Monday, 13 April 2009

Wow, the things you find!

I was strolling around other people's blogs the other day, and just as I LEFT a page, I saw a little animated button that I just had to have another look at. Well, I had lots of windows open, so it took some clicking to find that funny little guy again.

Turned out to be a link to Starving Artist Stamps, who are making some very smart stamps. Not like anyone else's. Their "Doodle Factory" line in particular. And what do you know? They are doing a blog candy giveaway right now - and to be in it, all I have to do is share the fun! So have a lookee at this:
These are the Super Parents...

Now, that guy would make a nice Father's Day card, wouldn't he? And most of my female friends deserve the super-woman stamp at regular intervals!

Then we have the baby and accoutrements...

Somewhere for them all to live (natch)...

And some words to set it all off (I'm liking "practice makes perfect" - for the second child!).

So there ya go - these Starving Artists (Oh, I do hope they are not really that hungry) are doodling up some great designs. Check their animals too (swoon!).

I am just looking for good stuff to colour in. It's very therapeutic, you know, colouring in. Ask any six year old.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Another new word for you

"Spilth" - it means stuff that was spilled. As in, "Clean up that spilth, would you?". This one also came from my 1940s dictionary.

Off you go, use it before the end of the weekend.

Day out in town

It's school holidays, and we went out for a day in town! We were going to make it a Museum day (that's a real favourite) but we swapped it for a day of just strolling in town - there's always lots to see in Melbourne. We visited all sorts of shops (Minotaur, to see the Star Wars bobbleheads; stationery shops, to look at cards and paper; gift shops, for all sorts of stuff). We saw a duck shooting gallery for the home: so handy.

Then we had a pizza in a little food court (which had some empty shops; we figured they needed our business!).

Then Jonathan found a balloon, and they boys actually frolicked in the sun with it. Or maybe they were gambolling. Anyway, there was less punching than usual, so I was happy.

The balloon burst on the train. Of course.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Catriona uses Pastels

We were in Zart, the excellent local art supply shop, yesterday. Catriona (she's 13) amused herself by doodling a little blue bird on the tester book at the pastel display.

I was so delighted with her picture, I asked her to do another one at home. After all, I have a box of pastels that have never really had any use (nothing fancy, but I do hate waste!). Here's her birdy:

The boys, of course, amused themselves with stomping on the stairs and making faces through a window...

Got an awesome new word for you...

In browsing through the dictionary (like you do) I found a word you should add to your vocabulary. Here it is:

So that's "Mummock (n): an old coat fit to put on a scarecrow."

So handy. As in "You look nice." "What, this old mummock? I just threw it on!".

This is the one and only dictionary I tear up when making collages. It's been going for years, and there are still good words it. Funny that.

When I find another copy in an op shop, I'm going to buy it, and keep that copy un-chopped up - because it has awesome words in it!

Friday, 3 April 2009

GPP Crusade 30 - Cat Got Your Tongue?

This month's challenge at Green Pepper Press is to journal - actually WRITE DOWN the things that are part of the story in your journal page.

I jumped into it when I was looking for a sun stamp for another project. I found I had quite a few. Well, that's a story to tell - where did they all come from? So that became a journal page.

I enjoyed tracing the origin of the stamps - after all, everything comes from somewhere! Then I added a little stamping, cos the page needed it.

Might need to add some swirls - or some other texture. But I don't want to lose the sun stamps, cos that's the while point!

Solid Stamps - you need to know this!

If you use solid stamps (that is, anything that tries to lay down a block of colour, rather than lines) you need to use the right paper. I've had patchy results in the past, but here's the results of some testing I've done.

See the top left corner one? That's Stampin' Up white card, which is obviously the best suited to solid stamps. The top right is watercolour paper, fabulous for watercolouring stamps, but obviously not the thing for solid images. No surprises, it has a bumpy surface. But the surprise is the bottom left, which is cartridge paper from a "Visual Journal" - that is, a normal sketchbook. I use this paper all the time for all-purpose stamping, but it doesn't take solid stamps well at all.

And the bottom right is a rooster, not actually part of this story.

So, I ended up buying some SU paper to make sure I have a supply of solid-stamp-friendly paper. It might arrive today - yay!

But, I hear you ask, where did I get that FAB solid stamp? Here it is! I made it myself from the faulty wood block I got replaced - (it's all scratched on the other side). I stuck on rectangles cut from the scraps of some Stampin' Up stamps after they had been mounted. The bits of rubber you normally throw away. See, told you I like to recycle.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Let no-one else's work evade your eyes

How's this for a market find - a set of Stampin' Up stamps, featuring BIRDS, my favourite subject! It's called "Seasonal Birds" and it dates from 2002, before SU was in Australia. When I bought them they were badly mounted - the person who did them obviously hadn't been shown how to cut the stamps out properly - so I had to get them off the mounts, trim them, and stick them back on. Twenty seconds in the microwave loosens the adhesive, for your information. The mission was a complete success, and I had a new set of stamps, just to my taste.

So, what to do with them? I didn't find anything about this set in Split Coast (they have a fairly comprehensive list of all SU sets, with samples). So I had to do a wider search. I came across this lovely blog entry by Asela Hopkins of "Hop Art". No, really, go there and read it all before you finish this.

OK, you back? Isn't she good? And what a great use of the stamps!

So of course I copied. Here's a picture of me in the middle of colouring a birdy, with my reference material (her blog displayed on the iPod) at the table in front of me. I thought that made a nice photo.

After the colouring stage I tried hard to stop copying. So the layout is different now, and I've added a completely different stamp. This is a tag from "Terrific Tags Too", also from Stampin' Up. It matches quite well. Also I've just bought the SMALL tag punch, to go with the large one I already had, so I HAD to use them together.

Here's a close up birdy for you - the autumn one. Asela didn't use this stamp in her example, so I had to actually think about the autumn colours. I added the "Jasmine" pencil to the mix (it's a creamy yellow), and hardly touched the dark green.

So if you like this, go and leave Asela a friendly comment - she's feeling poorly right now, and I'm sure she'd be pleased.

And here's a final message for my far-off muse who doesn't know me at all ...

Rooster Chronicles part 5

I suppose you're wondering how that Rooster project is coming on. Well, here's the latest version : it's on a canvas now. The other interesting thing to note : the original piece is now gone! Isn't that just the way.

I punched roosters out of my dictionary, and one from a scrap of Bazzill cardstock.

The "rise" element is still not glued down anywhere. And I think I've lost "and" and "shine". Who saw that coming?

Around the same time, Chris showed me a new stamp set from Stampin' Up - it's a hostess set, a level 2 one, so I can't see myself acquiring it any time soon. It has a rooster - I stamped it and made this bit, which should be part of something, any time now. Yup, that's crumpled brown paper - the packaging material that SU use in their parcels. I'm partial to a bit of recycling.

So all of that reminded me that I have a really nice rooster stamp of my own - a PSX one. I made this box : which I have to say I don't think is very good at all. The colours are too brash, the two stamps don't match, and nothing ties it together. But, it kept me amused for a while, and used up a box I've had in my collection for far too long. Great stamp though - I'll try to use it in another way.