Monday, November 30, 2009

it's December

this picture seems a good way to welcome December - bright colours and a clear message.  I'm not adverse to borrowing my images from advertisements - this one is for Myers in Australia, I snapped it in a shop window

Saturday, November 28, 2009

irresistible colour

colour tags

In the hardware shop today and drawn to the new colour samples from wattyl because I love colour and because each one is a tag.  So I picked up a handful of colours I love with the idea I will use them for a project. 

Not sure exactly how I will use them – suggestions welcome. Each has a hole so a mini album on a ring seems likely. They are about 5x 2 inches and have writing I would want to cover at one end and along one edge. Perhaps stick a photo on the back of each and then a word on the front?  Or stick them back to back and add smaller photos and writing? 

When I do decide how to use them I will do a post.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

acknowledging stars

you are a star
Over the past three weeks I’ve been taking part in a class run by Shimelle with lots of other bloggers.  One of the things I discovered was the buzz of receiving comments on my posts. 
Today I am awarding ‘in my eyes you are a star’ awards to four fellow crafting bloggers who I noticed have been leaving lots of comments on a range of blogs from class members. I wanted to recognise people who regularly read and comment on blogs because comments are part of the joy of blogging.
I hope that the four recipients will award ‘in my eyes you are a star’ to some bloggers sometime over the next few months.  The award can be given for any reason, this time I chose to reward comment leavers but next time it will be something else that I want to recognise. 
Anyone is welcome to use the picture to award things that make other bloggers stars in their eyes.
The four lovely bloggers I am awarding this time are
Amy from over at our place
Irene  from a room of my own
Elizabeth from scrapbooking by Lizzie  and journaling by Lizzie
Maria from Gallo Organico

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Scrapbookers are everywhere

Welcome to Melbourne, Australia in this stage of your ‘blog around the world’ trip.

I don’t live in Melbourne but have been here all week at a workshop. So this view from my window is from a hotel in the middle of the city – hence the mirror glass and buildings. You can just tell that it is sunny – 28C and hotter. Next week I’ll be back in New Zealand and blogging about more crafty stuff.

Please keep going on your blog around the world trip by visiting Amy who is also in Melbourne and I’m sure has a more interesting view from her window.

a year ago

Design Your Life by Cathy Z, an online course with Big Picture Scrapbooking was occupying my time and creativity a year ago.  A wonderful class which I would totally recommend.  There is lots to learn and do and the class forum was lively and supportive.  The messages from Cathy were adorable.  And we made some great layouts. 

As it happens one of my favourites was from mid November.  Sorry the photo is a bit small – I had to get the one from the class gallery because my hard drive with all photos from a year ago is in a container on a ship somewhere between New Zealand and London.

year ago 40s

This layout has a photo of me, my sister, my mum, my two grandmothers and one great grandmother – all when in their 40s.  I made all the photos sepia to match the brown in the pattern paper and to equalise them.  The journaling is some reflections on how perception of age, in particular being 40, changes.



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Friday, November 20, 2009

the back story

I like back stories – the explanation as to how we ended up where we are.  My 20 year old nephew was shocked when I made up back stories for people when we were sitting in a cafe watching the world. I digress.

Today’s back story fills in why I have those two quotes at the top of the left column.  They sum up for me some important ideas about sharing what we know and realising that what we know will be of interest to others – not all the people all of the time, but someone, sometimes.

In Gladwell’s book called The Tipping Point he investigates what triggers a new fashion or a change in behaviour.  He looks at the things that contribute to something tipping from a niche to widespread.  He suggests that there are 3 types of people who play an important role: connectors, mavens and salespeople.  Connectors know lots of people from different backgrounds and groups, salesmen persuade people to try things.  And mavens are information people, they seek information, they note it and they share it.  Reading about mavens was great – I thought ‘hey that’s what I am’.

Photo interlude – unrelated, just a photo I like.

flower to misti

Most people have seen improvisation in the TV show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’ but there is much more to it than those comedy games.  The basic rules for behaving in an improv performance also make good rules for life and that is what the book Improv Wisdom discusses.  Some examples are: turn up and join in with what is happening; support others on the team, you don’t have to be in the limelight.  And the one that resonates for me at the moment is to share what you know because something that is easy or obvious to you may be a revelation to others.

I would recommend both books to people who like ideas. The two books are very different but both make you think about sharing.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

wow and wow


Im excited by these two Scottish women and professional crafts people / artists whose work I adore



moy sheep

wonderful pictures by Moy MacKay made from felted wool which she then embroiders.







simone lyon lizard

Simone Lyon makes stunning ceramic works that include lizards, iguana and dragons.  I do own some of her work from over 20 years ago when she was first selling.




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have you showcased the work of craftspeople and artists you admire?

Friday, November 13, 2009

tips for picasa collages

I like to manipulate photos before I print them and to print in smaller sizes for some projects and I use picasa to do it all.  As I’ve been using the program I’ve discovered some tips that make things easier.

IMG_0479 tip 1 – choosing the right size to crop the individual photos means you have more control over the final collage.  The right size depends upon ration of height to width rather than the actual size of the finished photo. The following assume a normal photo print (4 x 6 inches or 10 x 15 cm)












2 photos

If I want 2 small prints then I crop each to  small print (9 x 13 cm)






4 photos

If I want 4 small prints then I crop each to the large print (10 x 15 cm  which is 4 x 6 inches)







If I want squares – be it 6 (2 rows of 3) or 12 (3 rows of 4) then choose the square which is described as CD cover.




IMG_0481 tip 2 – use the grid spacing tool to provide colour between photos either to differentiate them in a collage or to provide clear cutting lines if you are wanting small prints.  To choose the colour click in the box below where it says background option.  You can use the dropper to choose from the colour spectrum or to choose a colour from one of the photos.










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do you have any picasa tips or questions or stumbling blocks?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

love the contrasts

christine (2)

Sculpture exhibition in Auckland Botanic Gardens til February

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

online fun


I love the widget on etsy that lets you browse by colour.  I like the ability to hunt for lovely things in a particular colour but I also just love to play with the screen that lets you choose the colour because of all the yummy colour bubbles it creates – instant smile for me.

For a longer fun distraction how about quilt based puzzles? My mum introduced me to an online puzzle game where the pictures that you make are patchwork patterns or pictures using lots of colour and pattern.  Good mix of fun, frustration and design.

comment tile

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

step two

My first step in designing a blog that I like to look at and that reflects who I am was choosing the colours.

This last week I’ve been coveting tiles that are used for a regular event or to thank people for comments.  I saw several downloads but decided I should make my own.

 Im excited by






I realised this was a good use for the danceman font that I found recently when browsing dingbat fonts.  Some others that I liked and you might want to search for were carr balloons, dr seuss, MW Ding-A-Lings.

I like the energy of danceman and the quirkiness of the different positions.  The capital letter is the mirror image of the lowercase so often they look as if they are dancing together and I used this in my comment tile.  I made the tiles using picassa because it will access any font that you have loaded onto your computer.

I also love graphs and surveys and I’m curious about people so I added a survey too (on the left).  Please cast your vote before you go.

comment tile

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Calling UK knitters and crocheters

thames (3)

I enjoy knitting and crochet but since my nephews grew up I have not had a good home for lots of wool items.  [the photo is a baby blanket for a friend due at Christmas]

Then I discovered the Loving Hands site organised by a lovely lady to provide clothes, toys and blankets for range of different charities.  She sets seasonal challenges and the ones due in January are newly posted.  She also welcomes donations of wool and fabric for use in the projects.

I will definitely be joining the 800+ members when I’m back in Scotland.  Will be nice to have a reason to knit and crochet and also help some people less fortunate that me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Have you seen this ….?

Today I’m sharing five things that I discovered recently that make my creative nerve buzz – hope something here makes you smile too.

ceramic 1 ceramic 2

Beautiful, bold ceramic wall pieces using NZ plants and birds, from steiner ceramics. Everytime I see one I want to touch it because they are so 3D. I also love that you can have one where the fern is a dimple and one where the fern is a bump.

I laugh every time I go onto this site. The humour is a bit geeky, a bit clever, a bit edgy.


Vibrant colours and zany use of zips covering the walls of a shop I wandered past in Canberra – how could I not walk in. And so I discovered the smiggle range of pencil cases and stationery and other yummy stuff. The first problem was choosing, the 2nd was fitting it all into my suitcase to bring it home – then I discovered they have shops in NZ as well as Australia.

The thrill of finding that there is a new edition to a trilogy or series I’ve read and enjoyed. So even greater excitement when I saw that Robin Hobb had started a new trilogy following on from the Liveship trilogy so I knew I would love it – and I did.

My last one is total geek and I can’t show you a picture but it will do wonders for your pictures. On this site you can convert images between file types. For instance if you have an image as a pdf and you want it as a jpeg this site will do it (fast). it does lots of other image type transfers too.

evening colours

And finally a photo I took on a walk along the beach as the sun was setting – as a reminder I don’t need to spend money to get a creative buzz and smile.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why I scrapbook


nov 4 whyI have been scrapping in various ways since 2006.  Since the middle of May I have been moving around and living out of 2 suitcases and 2 boxes so have not done any layouts but have had albums and blogging.  So I think of scrapbooking broadly as covering anything where I take words and photos and pretty things to record stuff.

The words came first – in my early 20s I started to write in a diary most days – plain day to a page diary and a black pen.  I had a camera but tended to use it for holidays and big events and I kept the photos in a normal photo album with no captions. I did various crafts (mostly fabric and wool based) and enjoyed making things.

The use of pretty things was prompted by reading SARK and Simple Abundance which both have a message of using lovely things in even the most simple of things.  Since then I have used colourful pens for everything expect the most formal letter or signature.  Mostly I use purple and orange.  So my daily dairy was still in a normal book but now written with colourful pens.

So all the elements were there – writing about my life, photos, pretty things, craft and creativity but they were separate things that I did.  It was a chance discovery that brought them together.

In 2006 I was browsing in my library craft section looking for some inspirational reading for the Easter long weekend and I found the two Cathy Z books.  It all made perfect sense to me – combine my journal writing, my photos, crafting  and colour.  I had picked up some scrapping books before and had watched scrapping segments on TV craft shows but they did not click, the styles were not right for me.  I subscribed to Simple Scrapbooking (I miss it) and was hooked.  When my house was packed up my stash filled several boxes – looking forward to discovering it all again when I finally unpack.

nov 4 packed

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day one of class

shimelle 1

Received the first prompts for Shimelle’s class today – Blogging for Scrapbookers.  First task is to post intentions for the course and a photo of the blogging at work.

I’m moving around at the moment and in this house the wifi access is shared with next door so the fastest link is by the window.  Not the most comfortable place to spend ages reading lots of blogs but they are addictive so will just do shoulder exercises afterwards. 

I singed up for the course because I am a scrapbooker who has been blogging for a while about my travels but wanted to do more craft related blogging – so my emphasis is on using scrapbooking approach to blogging.  I will probably post alternate days as I have lots of other things on this month. 

Thanks to all classmates who have been to visit and who have left messages – such a buzz to read them.  Looking forward to the glimpses into all these interesting lives as we travel this road together.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wordle magic

 When I saw the wordle on the I speak Melsh blog I remembered that I had meant to create a wordle of my journaling for Me:the abridged version to use as the back page. 
If you haven’t tried wordles then go and play.  You need some text and flashplayer loaded – then just play with changing colour, font and layout. 
I increased the number of words that is used to 400 (under layout ) because the default is 150 and I wanted more words to show.  I also kept some words together like ‘see also’ by putting ~  between them  see~also.  I then played - I customised a palette with my favourite colours and played with font and layout and these are some of the ones I liked.
pure luck that see also was separate – you cannot control where a word is placed
this one used the any which way layout choice
and for this next one I double clicked on the words to get the online font – it works on any of the fonts.
To save then I hit print and then choose cute pdf writer as my printer.