26 December 2010

A lucky win from Craftside

I was totally surprised to receive an email from Lindsey Cardarelli from Quayside Publishing Group, to tell me I was the winner of the following book. Had simply left a comment to be in the win, on this blog post. Was really hoping on delivery before Christmas, and then got to thinking it wasn't going to make it from the U.S. so soon, afterall.

When I least expected it, after arriving back home from a last minute shopping excursion on Christmas Eve with my daughter, there was my book waiting!

Am looking forward to some quiet moments browsing Trice Boerens pictorial book full of great projects and techniques. Perhaps they will offer great inspiration for some new blog posts during 2011; watch this space!

20 December 2010

Nature's bounty

Had to share a single photo taken late yesterday. Spotted these two doves from an upstairs window sitting huddled on the side fence below. I suspect they have a nest in the shrubbery next door and were waiting out the last of the day before settling in for the night.

My thoughts were to grab the camera and see just what I could capture from the distance, through the glass. It was the best I could do with the opportunity, cropping the larger picture down to the closer image.

It seemed most apt to share at this special time of year; I hope you like it as much as I do.

18 December 2010

Christmas Cards

This year I wanted to use the Cuttlebug folder, Lace Tree ...

..and then others with the Fiskars snowflakes texture plate

and since posting this, I added a few pearls.......

17 December 2010

Christmas Lights Spectacular

Hunter Valley Gardens is staging a fantastic lights display for the fourth year right now. I travelled with friends on an hour and bit bus-trip, arriving near 8pm (daylight-saving-time). We took advantage of that time up our sleeve before the night-lights would be most effective, by buying ourselves a great hot coffee and churros; taking in our surrounds from this open-grassed area near the lake.

I've never taken photographs at night before, and had no idea quite what would be the best setting on my camera. So while these in the following link, are by no means great quality photographs, they remain my photographic record right here sharing some of what we saw last night.

Christmas Paper Tole...and more

The cupcakes are a teaser; who doesn't like cup-cakes? These were the nicest butter-cake cupcakes with the best icing my friend makes. The occasion, morning-tea for a few of us who car-pool for exercise class throughout the year; and the cup-cakes were just one of many fabulous treats for our get together this week.

What I really wanted to share, were the other especially Christmassy home decorations that we enjoyed so much. The following paper-tole projects made by my friend, and framed by her husband, were just a sprinkling of what we saw.

Now the easiest way for me to share more beautiful Christmas decorating was to put my photos into this gallery. Don't miss out on what keeps the Christmas spirit alive, all year round ... when friends share their abundance and creativity with you, in so many wonderful ways.

15 December 2010

Technique: Using Fiskars plate for 'stamped' image

How did you do the background? This has been the response for previous post, with the quilling candles on. Here's my "mini-tutorial" so you can try it out for yourself if you wish. I guess I'm right in saying it is a 'stamped' image, even though my Cuttlebug was instrumental?

Here is the 'sandwich' of layers, using a damask textured white cardstock (for white snowflakes), with a cranberry coloured ink-pad.

The result; a perfectly "stamped" background cardstock, that can now be trimmed to suit any application.

11 December 2010

We need a little Christmas - MSS Challenge

This challenge is for a mini-sized card using any stamps, punches or embellishments.

The background for my card was created with a Fiskars texture plate and cranberry coloured dye-ink; ran it through my Cuttlebug.

Quilling candles (Basic Grey papers), with holly and berries added to complete the Christmas theme on a finished card measuring just 3 inches high x 2 inches wide (approx 7.5 cm x 5 cm).

Deadline for this challenge is December 31

Taylord Concepts & The best blog candy giveaway going....

You know how easy it is to get lost going from one blog to another? One reads so good, and you think the blogs that they read, have to be worth checking out too. Before long you wonder quite whose blog you'd started on?

That happened just a moment ago to me, and I couldn't wait to spread the word about Erika Taylor's fantastic giveaway! A whole host of goodies being offered on January 5 to celebrate this wonderful site's blogging anniversary.

Don't wait any longer though; all you have to do is become a follower of Taylord Concepts blog and leave a comment on the blog candy post, which remains at the top of Erika's blog. Then spread the word around, via your own Blog, Facebook page and/or Twitter.

Prizes amount to approx. $900.00 worth of "Crafty Heaven" as Erika says.

Everyone wants to be a winner right? Wait till you see the goodies to be had on Taylord Concepts!

Saturday Sketch #31 - Michael Strong group

Here is the challenge set by Hetty

and my finished card

Stamps: MS Cloisonne Octagons; sentiment by Anna Griffin, All Night Media 580143
E.P's: Burgundy and Silver
Spellbinders: Ovals and Scallops
Cuttlebug folder: Swiss Dots
Martha Stewart: lace edge border punch
There are three pearls on each of the 'decorations'; they can be seen better in the enlarged image.

09 December 2010

Day trip to the city of Sydney, for Christmas vibes.

First stop Central Station, end of the line, after almost two hours on the Newcastle/City x-press train with just three stops throughout the journey. Christmas spirit was happening here at Central, with a band playing at one end and Christmas carols being sung. Santa walked around with an elf -helper too. We stopped for that much needed dose of caffeine, listened to the music some distance away, and watched the world go by. Seeming like a long way from home for the moment, it was great to be able to sit and observe....
How beautiful the old stained-glass windows don't you think?

Finished our coffee and managed to dodge many marauding pigeons who had hoped for a handout (we weren't eating), and off now down the escalators and then up again, to one of many platforms, this one for the City Circle train to take us one stop further along, to the historic Queen Victoria Building.

On the level we entered ... many windows decorated alike to this one.

More, exquisite stained-glass windows.

Standing right underneath the magnificent Swarovski Christmas tree. The 'white' centre is the trunk full of glistening crystals. This tree is adorned with beautiful Swarovski crystal candles, big ones all around the outside of it; each individual candle has big crystals hanging from it. The tree starts on the basement level and reaches up to the top .... floor, and the ipoh Corporate News tells all about this being the largest Swarovski Christmas tree in the world.

On another level now.

Now inside the new Myer mall/Westfields.

Beautiful cascading neon lights.

This photo taken whilst coming down the escalator.

It was indeed time for caffeine injection again! My friend and myself had walked our legs off all day on hard tiled and marbled floors. We hadn't expected our flat-whites would come in super-duper sized bowls like this! Lovely treats were well deserved we decided, a fruit tart and a lemon tart with ..I think it had crushed pistachios around it - that was mine.

Further reading if you like; my Helium article here, tells some of Christmas in Australia (from a nature-lovers point of view).

01 December 2010

Paper Cutting: Merry Christmas

Countdown to Christmas and I wanted to do this one for my blog especially. You will find the text Merry Christmas, in Backstreet Designs Pattern Book/14 The 12 Days of Christmas, and the pattern is available here if you'd like to use it.

Mother and baby deer pattern was in an issue of Cardmaking, Stamping & Papercraft; a design by a most talented artist, Greg Sukendro.

The little snowflakes have been added compliments my graphics programme PhotoImpact3. Gosh, I could have gone overboard with more beautiful snowflakes but this post is about 'paper-cutting'.

Background papers: BasicGrey Tidings/Wintermint Fruitcake.

Snippets from my garden during November

Here we are now already into December, and I wanted to share some pics I'd taken throughout November in the garden, to share on my blog.

This web is consistently in the same place most mornings of late; the garden for better, for worse, harbours a lot of spiders and they weave their magic from one side of the pathways to another from dusk onwards. If you were to follow me outdoors each morning you might think I was performing some ritualistic magic spell as I wave a long stick ahead of me to make sure I get through without the invisible hair-net happening!

This Mandevilla will flower Spring, Summer and Autumn and I love the deep red colouring.

First time I've grown Grape Tomatoes and they're a total success. Good size, great to pick and eat when out in the garden straight from the trusses; lovely flavour.

Painted an old plastic pot and gave it a new look to plant out some pieces of dianthus given to me over winter; couldn't get over the height of the flowering stems! A beautiful clove-like perfume too.

Fuschias I love them! Most all parts of my garden are bathed in sunshine but these I have near to the front door on the southern side. I just need to be sure they're watered often enough, especially during the hot winds/Summer. They are the easiest plants to propagate and this one I've grown from just a cutting.

You can read more on growing your own fuschias from cuttings in this article I've written if you wish.

It's an alstroemeria with variagated leaves. The bulbs had been given to me from a friend in Nthn. N.S.W., some years ago now. I've never seen it before anywhere; a most unusual flower colour combination red/green, reminds me of the Australian native Kangaroo Paw in those same colours.

And last but not least; the gardenia bush is now smothered in masses of fragrant flowers like these. I've also an article on growing gardenias here.

Thanks for stopping by and I love that I can share a little of my garden with you this way. (Don't freak out about the spiders though).

28 November 2010

Michael Strong Stamp Group Challenge for November

My first card after some time away from the MSS Yahoo group, is this one for the Thank-You challenge.

Items used:

Michael Strong Cloisonne Flower stamp

Grace Taylor Nature Girl series for flower centre

Marvy Brush Markers

White E.P.

Craft Concepts Dragonfly embossing folder

Sentiment by Stampin Up
Decorative edging with Martha Stewart Doiley border punch

27 November 2010

Queen of the Night cactus

Last night my neighbour invited me to see her spectacular night-flowering cactus. Two long buds had been showing promise and slowly taking shape. On 26th November late in the afternoon, there were obvious signs that this was "the night" to watch with cameras poised.

I'd been able to witness this event also last year, and had written this article about a rather ordinary plant with an extra-ordinary flower. I guess it's a little reminiscent of the ugly duckling story.

Mosaics with Xenofex 2 filter

Corel's PhotoImpact 3 is the graphics programme I get to play with every now and then. I just love Alien Skin Xenofex 2's Classic Mosaic filter effects!

Checkout the Alien Skin site and trial their wonderful software downloads for 30 days.

Here's my three experiments with original photographs shown before adding the mosaic filter: