Monday, 29 June 2009


Got too much bandwidth? Need to use it up before the end of the month? Why not waste some on Cute Things Falling Asleep? Which is exactly what it sounds like.

Of course, I don't usually like to post just a link to someone else's fun, clever or cute stuff. I'm all about sharing MY fun, cute and clever stuff. So here's my twins, both asleep, during a meal at McDonalds. They were about three. They are away camping now, but I'm sure they'll thank me for posting this when they get home.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

A Carrot Injury Commiseration Card

Chris sustained a splinter while trying to pull a very stubborn carrot out of the ground. I felt so bad for her, I made her a card. First I had to look through my stamp collection for Carrot Injury images. Actually, any kind of commiseration related to root vegetables would have done. But there was nothing. That's what we call a gap in the market (make a note, stamp designers).

So I had to do my best with punches. My insanely large EK Success flower punch snipped down to a nice carrot shape, and the swirl punch made a great top. See, the carrots are snickering.

More about this on my Stamp Club blog.

More Punchcraft from before the dawn of time

... when things were really big, you know? Giant woolly mammoths roamed the plains, enormous wombats plundered all kinds of vegetation (that's actually true, look it up), and punches were made so big a small child could get lost inside one. Here's the evidence. I've used a Lego minifig to show scale.

In case that's not totally convincing, here's that same punch, from EK Success, sitting next to a "Whale of a Punch" from the same company ; the previous biggest punch in the range. The whale looks positively krill-like, doesn't it?

Punchcraft from BEFORE THE DAWN OF TIME!

Or from the Cartoon Cretaceous period, anyway.

I got this new punch at Paperific last weekend, from Catchy Crafts, who always bring an exceptional range. I had never seen this punch before - it's a new variety from EK Success (who always make such good punches anyway, even Stampin' Up use them to manufacture THEIR range). This one is the Dinosaur edge punch, and I couldn't think of any reason not to buy it. IT'S JUST SO COOL!

So I had to make a card with it quick smart. Here you go, dinosaurs at night. The "stars" are stamped in Stampin' Up white ink (the whitest white I've ever found, and no hassle to use), with a Lucy's stamps "Aging block" as the dot pattern. The alphabet is a retired Stampin' Up one - I love all alphabet stamps, so there's no such thing as retired at my place!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Eat More Salad

I'll post this tonight - with any luck it'll remind me to have a wholesome lunch tomorrow. I'll let you know how I go.

Orange in a salad - yum! Orange, fennel and black olives is triple yum!

Clarinet Capers

Young Catriona has been playing the clarinet, just since starting high school. That was only a year and a bit ago, so what's she doing playing in the Wind Symphony now, the school's most senior ensemble? Just talent I guess.

The school gave us a fabulous concert last night, with lots of great music and an audience full of proud mums and dads.

That's her in the center of the photo.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Trivial matters

I ran a Trivia night for the school. It all came together on Saturday night, when over 100 people came to laugh and play.

Nicholas was helping us set up (with Mum and Dad of course) and I encouraged him to write a message on the table for his teacher. All the tables were set with white paper, and a cup of crayons. Nice clean table setting, and good fun too! Not sure if any adults got the idea of writing on the table, but I drew a cat. Like you do.

Elke and Anne-Maree hung 99 balloons from an umbrella, each with a lucky number inside. Each balloon won a prize, and we happily popped all 99 of them. Elke was delighted with the number of balloons - 'neun und neunzig Luftballons'. But for some reason she wasn't keen to sing that into the microphone.

There's the crowd - see how happy they look? See how much they want to open their wallets and hand over most of the cash, if only someone can make it worth their while!

Earning bonus points - gentlemen dressing up as ladies... awwww.

It was a lot of work, but people keep saying we should run another one next year. And every year. Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha as if.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

I've been sneak-peeked!

The goals in life for a person who contributes projects to craft magazines are :

1. Get published (got it!)
2. Get on the cover (got it! It was small, and in the corner, and years ago, but that still counts)
3. Get Sneak Peeked

The sneak peek is the preview of next month's issue. They pick out a tiny excerpt from one juicy article to tease you with.

And guess what!

I got Sneak Peeked! In Cardmaking, Stamping and Papercraft, volume 15 no 1, my article in number 2 is shown in the sneak peek! YAY!!!

That's cause for celebration. What shall I do? I know, buy more stuff. Ooh, Paperific this weekend, that's handy.

Behind the Yart - Oh, THERE'S the Rooster!

It was months ago I got a message from Cardmaking, Stamping and Papercraft that they needed a single Fathers Day card - it needed to have the words "Happy Father's Day" on it, but apart from that, go nuts.

Well, it's just appeared in print, so it's time for me to take you ... behind the yart!

I took out some favourite materials and started tinkering. A page torn from a dictionary (such a favourite background of mine!), glued onto some base card, then covered in gesso. When that was dry, I brushed on some Golden paints, kind of dry brushed. I started with Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold (let's call that "gold") and Naphthol Red Medium (let's call that "red"). I punched a rooster (That's a Carl punch, but not one I've seen very often - I pounced on it when I saw it) out of the painted card, and admired it for a while.

Then I went back to the painted dictionary page, and stamped a square frame (from My Stamps- I used Frame Set 2, which you can get from Cathy at a very reasonable $20.50!), and then stamped OVER that with some pretty swirls (from Eclectic Images). When you cut out the frame it looks like it all went together from the start. The photo shows you a little bit of frame.

From there I just went mad with adding bits (and taking bits away when it went too silly). That orange ink is Pumpkin Pie from Stampin' Up! (available at a very reasonable $11.95 pp from - me!).

I decided I needed some kind of border around the rooster - I tried adding a little black pen, which some people do so beautifully, but it looked rotten when I did it. So instead I punched the same shape from black gloss card, and mounted them just off center. Very nice little shadow effect.

The gauzy fabric is old bandage - 'old' meaning from an old, unused roll I got from Reverse Art Truck, not, umm, old. You know. The eyelets came from a garage sale (there's always something recycled on my cards!).

The alphabet set was a cheapie from Studio G, which I think is an offshoot of Hampton Arts. At about $3, you get a lot of stamp for your money, but if you are serious about alphabets, I'd look at better quality stamps. Even here, I managed to get a few dots of extra ink onto the page, from not-very-well-trimmed stamps. Didn't notice it until the card was in print, natch!

The cute thing about this project was that the leftover scraps on the table got me making all kinds of OTHER stuff - see The Rooster Chronicles!

And in case you are wondering WHY the asked me to make something; it's because I've been sending in projects pretty regularly. They don't accept them all - generally for good reason. But a magazine office has to have a list of "regulars", and the only way to get on it is to do the work.

Have a look at Cardmaking, Stamping and Papercraft, volume 15 number 1 - it's the one for sale right now. It's most unusual in layout - each 'article' is an occasion for cardmaking, and each contributor has just made one card. So it's pretty packed with variety!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Have you ever wondered...

... what a 48 page exercise book would look like if you cut the pages into 4.5 cm squares? Thought you had! Here's what it would look like.

Thank you.

Oh, wait, you want to know WHY I'm doing this? Well, it's all to do with Paperific! As a newbie Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, I'm jumping in headlong with both feet. I'm spending all day Sunday at the show, alternating between chatting to people, selling showbags and other goodies, taking orders for our excellent show specials, sitting down demonstrating, and running make-n-takes. The nice thing is, each of us is deciding on our own demo topic, and our own make-n-take. I've worked out a neat, cool and fun little thing I can make, and it involves little squares of exercise book.

If you want to read more about the Paperific adventure, see my new Stampin' Up! blog - it's called Altered Penguin. If you are local to me, and in need of a demonstrator of your own, you should pop yourself on my mailing list. It's fairly painless.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

It's wicked cold in Melbourne!

This is how Jeff leaves the house these days - proper English winter coat from his grandfather, locally made Harris Tweed hat, scarf from a holiday in Scotland, and Canadian gloves.

Here's a flashback to a few months ago.

I always say I like to warm up with a brisk walk. Which you can't do when it's raining (and hailing) so I've been seen lately riding the exercise bike in the bedroom (with a movie going on the iPod - luxury!).

Monday, 8 June 2009

Animation Festival coming to Melbourne

Ah, those happy, pre-kids days, when Jeff and I used to go to the animation festivals every year, stay out late and sip coffee well after 10pm... Well, this year's Melbourne International Animation Festival is coming up, and my goodness me, it coincides with a four day camp the kids are going on!

To celebrate, here's an animation I made my own self (I had to wait until everyone else was out of the house). Making stop motion animation is technically fairly easy, but there's just SO much to learn about doing it well. We stick to daylight as the lighting - that's fraught with problems - if the sun gradually goes behind a cloud, you get a rapid nightfall in your film. We generally make a "film" of just one shot - moving the camera to a new spot and filming from there, and making it look 'right', would be way beyond us. Also getting the little people to stand up is tricky - that's where Lego comes in.

So when I see something amazing like Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, or Aardman's Wallace and Gromit films, I just gaze in wonder. And that's why I'm looking forward to the Animation Festival!

Altered Penguin???

Altered what? Well, penguin, of course. That's him over there.

I had to create a little mascot for my NEW BLOG. Yes, another one, but this one's serious.

I've signed up as a Stampin' Up demonstrator, a pretty painless deal, since I am a keen customer anyway. I'm going to be showing off like mad at the craft shows (starting with Paperific in just two weeks). So of course, I needed a new blog. Maybe you should go and look - it's here. There should be tons of goodies there. Eventually.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Queen's Birthday Special Creepy Toy

I haven't posted a creepy toy for a few days ... so here's one to keep you going.

It was a very drizzly morning in Melbourne, I decided that the usual market trip was a no-go (so I stayed in bed with a cuppa and a book about vampires). Later in the morning it was clearing up, so I decided that a trip to Camberwell would be nice. After all, even if the market's washed out, you're in Camberwell, where there's bookshops and cafes.

But the market was in full swing, and I bought this dude (along with some other little plastic toys for my collection). The price was a little higher than I was ready for (the seller was thinking 'collectables' where I was thinking 'junk toys') but that's OK. I just need to get a coupla dollars worth of fun out of this elephant dude to break even. I'm nearly there already.

Public holiday tomorrow! We're going to Scienceworks to see the Star Wars exhibition - that'll be SOOOOO cool!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

I make tomato jam

Tomato jam - mmm, that sounds nice.

Here's how you make it : first, buy some cheap tomatoes at the greengrocer (they were $1 a kilo this week, that's why I did this project).

Roast them for FOUR hours, then put them through the food strainer attachment on the mixer. That pushes all the skins and seeds out, and saves the tasty tomato pulp in the big bowl. It's a particularly attractive process. See, you can't tell me that doesn't look yummy.

And how about we enjoy the look of the compressed skins and seeds: Everyone asked me why I threw them away...

Then you cook the puree up with a mix of garlic, chillies, ginger and other good things, until its thick and rich. Jar it up in sterilised jars, and get your clever daughter to label them.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Jimmy The Altered Bean

While I am really, really busy with other things, it seems I just can't stop being distracted by interesting projects.

A few weeks ago I invented a writing game for the kids, and it's been a great success. I thought "Hey, it would be good to develop it into something I could share, and give it its own web site". And I did. So here is Jimmy The Altered Bean, a writing game for primary school kids (and older).

Now, I don't really know whom to send it to, so how about you do me a favour, and pass that link onto primary teachers you might know? Might make a good literacy activity, or at least a few laughs in the classroom.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Now I would never have thought of that!

This is why we have the internet. I bought some stamps a while back - they are retired Stampin' Up! stamps, very nice, but kind of limited in their use. Border stamps, you know, just to put squares around stuff.

Then I went searching and found this on Split Coast Stampers, which I'd have to call a stamping "fan" site.

Liked it so much I immediately made ... this!

So, next time a simple border stamp appears in the Stampin' Up! catalogue, I'll have to have it!

You know you're living with teens when...

... your son describes the taste of cookies fresh out of the oven as "Absolute pwnage!"*.

Actually, he was referring to our famous Anzac biscuits when he said that, but I had a photo of these pretty peanut butter bikkies.

* not a typo