Monday, 29 March 2010

Up Close and Personal

MACRO Monday as my friend from Grace Designs calls it.

The other day I thought I wouldn't mind having a macro lens to take a close look at life around me. Then I borrowed one from DH. It is very handy having a photographer for a husband, especially when one is a photographer one's self (or is it oneself?). Now to get used to wielding (so to speak) the lens.

So here's a look at a little green visitor we had in the kitchen - it's not as clear as the mantis I captured the other day but it's a look anyway. The critter wouldn't let me get any closer :(.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

More Ink, more paint and more scraplifting

Here's my Blue Bazaar Crop Bootcamp layout number 7 and my new favourite layout.

There was a time when I would never have used ink or paint on a layout - not in this way, anyway. Now, it seems, the layouts that are inky and painty are the ones I have the most fun doing and I love the most. And I think of Peg, who was the first person I saw using paint on layouts just like that. She influenced me.

This layout is actually scraplifted from a digital layout by Sharon Evans which I saw (and loved) in the Get It Scrapped Building Pages class but you can see it here.

If you've been keeping tabs you will notice that number 6 is missing. That's because it is embarrassing and, for the first time in my life, I am going to pull a layout apart and start again.

Have you heard of Capoeira?

Do you want to have a guess at how to pronounce it?
See if you were correct by checking out this video.
Okay, so you heard what Capoeira is and you can read about it here.
Now do you want to see a demo?
Here is a video of some guys doing Capoeira.
There are some fabulous images if you Google Capoeira.
Or you can just look at my double page layout of the kids doing their warm up stretches and actual Capoeira dancing at SHRIMPs the other day. :)

We enjoyed watching the Capoeira demonstration. Reuben didn't really want to do it be he tolerated it for a while before leaving it to the others. Caitlin, Malachi and Declan joined in happily.

See that photo of Reuben sitting there smiling and pulling the grass? That's him trying to put his chin on the ground, or failing that, pulling the ground up to his chin. That's Declan beside him and flexible Caitlin in the purple top.

Just as an aside - I think I did a great job of getting photos of just my kids (mostly) amongst the 20-30 kids participating.

Oh and this layout is for Crop Bootcamp at Blue Bazaar too - number 5.

Soph's Birthday

You'd think I would have cut out enough sunflower petals when I made the cake but NO!!!
I started out with a simple sketch by Becky Fleck for the Blue Bazaar Crop Bootcamp and ended up cutting out sunflower petals. Never mind. I like the results. This is Number 4 :)

Getting a bit inky

This was my warm up layout. Again, I have scraplifted.
This layout is credited to Dina Wakley in my inspiration folder but I can't find it anywhere on her blog so now I am questioning if it is actually hers. It SO looks like it.
This is one of my favourite layouts now.
Kelly took the photo while we were at Elizabeth and Brent's wedding in January. It's not often that the photographer is the subject of the photo.
It is also going in my count for the Crop Bootcamp going on at Blue Bazaar. I think I am up to number 3 (supposed to be aiming for 25 - I doubt I'll be getting anywhere near that quantity but it doesn't matter.)

Friday, 26 March 2010

Last Days!

And I'm not talking about Revelation or what the Bible says about the last days elsewhere in the New Testament, although it would be good to ponder that too. I'm talking about the last days that you have a chance for a 10% discount at Blue Bazaar.

Remember, you can get a 10% discount on orders over $40 if you pop on over to Blue Bazaar. Just put the code MARBLOGDS in the comments field - that's just to tell them that you got the news from my blog, yeah. But only until March 31st, this year. (Please note: discounts do not apply to items already discounted, on sale or subscriptions.)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

A Story About A Cake

and a girl who turns 16 years old.

Warning: Long story.

Months ago now I saw a picture of a sunflower cake and I said right there and then "I'm going to make that for Sophie-Lee's birthday."

So here I am thinking "fondant icing, yeah - I saw some in Coles. Saffron to colour. Yeah, easy. I can do that"

So on Monday I decided to make a start on the cake (seriously, 2 days before the birthday - unheard of!) I headed to Coles and picked up two packets of the fondant icing and got half way round the store when I thought I'd better check the ingredients. Oh dear!!! Not good. Artificial colouring, flavouring and preservative. I did a little mental gymnastics and landed on the "put it back" foot. What's the point of having a grand looking cake if we all get sick from eating it?!

More mental gymnastics and I landed on the "I've done fondant icing before" foot. Once, when I was about 16 (ha ha), I decorated a Christmas cake with the palest yellow (not sure why) fondant icing and made sugar bells and I can't remember what else. Mum, do you have a photo of that? The only thing is... I'm sure I used premade icing then.

So, while still in Coles, I sent off a quick message to Janelle and asked, only if it was convenient for her, could she look up fondant icing and tell me if it was easy enough to make. I didn't get the reply ("It's as easy as playdough") until I got home and had looked it up myself.

The recipe that Janelle found sounded rather yummy and it was made with 'normal' ingredients but I decided I would make the 'professional' one and use glucose syrup (also seen at Coles) and glycerine because it just sounded less fattening for starters, plus I read up on the benefits of glycerine - and got carried away reading other useful bits of information. That's the recipe I thought I'd use until I went to Coles and couldn't find the liquid glucose.

OK - plan C (or is it D?) - make the recipe that Janelle sent - Basic Fondant Icing.

We're up to The Birthday, now. I won't mention the 'broken arm saga' that used up the better part of time that I would have used for making the cake and decorating it. I knuckled down and made the best playdough ever - soft, sweet, pliable, edible!!! Caitlin, the apprentice chef, was at my side. We mixed, we kneaded, we wrapped in plastic and stored the fondant icing in the coolest part of the house, whipped up the cake, soaked some saffron threads (I couldn't find powdered Saffron anywhere) in a very small amount of water, and then went out.

Before we came home, I was meeting Sophie-Lee at the RTA so that she could take the test for her Ls. She got them. Yes, here beginneth approximately 840 hours of driving lessons (unless things change in the next 11 years!).

Back to the cake (I say 'keck' in my head like Franck Eggelhoffer in Father of the Bride). When we got home (at about 5 o'clock) everyone was banned from the kitchen, except Caitlin, and we started to do our artistic challenge - to make a cake that looked like the picture.

Things are looking good. Caitlin and I have successfully decorated a cake that looks sufficiently like a sunflower, albeit an albino sunflower! So, now for the photo - outside for better light. I wanted a gingham look in the background rather than the dusty top of the table tennis table, or the grotty barbecue shelf, so I took a gingham-ish looking tea towel and the cake and headed for the patio.

This is where the word 'thwart' (my word for the week) sets in big time. If you thought I'd already had enough trouble getting the cake made and decorated, and you haven't heard the half of it, then now you will see the pains I have endured to produce this cake for Soph. In a split second, without warning, without recourse, my world, or more to the point - my decorated cake, was turned upside down!!!

The lid for the barbecue, unbeknownst to me, was only half on the barbecue and I had placed the cake on the half off part. A quick displacement occurred and the laws of physics, gravity and whatever else ended with the cake landing upside down smack splat on the tiled patio floor. My face contorted to cry (for those who know - think Lucille in Arrested Development). Caitlin asked if I was really crying or just pretending (it was real). I took a photo and laughed.

Can you imagine how fast my brain was ticking over? What to do? In an instant I decided on the "10 second rule". Caitlin and I scooped the cake back onto the amazingly unbroken plate, (ignore the oil from the barbecue - how it got there I DO NOT KNOW!) and without ceremony took another photo of the the cake.

I blew off the dust, ants, and goodness knows what else, and we went back to the kitchen for a redo vacillating between groaning (dinner's going to be late) and giggling (at least there's a story to tell).

The cake was finally redecorated looking more like it was done with pastry rather than fondant icing. There was no way the cake was going outside for a photo. 1600 ISO and/or flash would have to do.

And here it is in all it's flaming glory (smoke detector alert!!!).

We all sang "Happy Birthday" heartily to Soph and enjoyed the cake. Caitlin and I enjoyed it all the more - we had not been thwarted. We had overcome!!!

And we have some spare fondant icing! Mmmmmmm.

P.S. That night I dreamt that my earplugs were made of fondant icing :)
And... Reuben found out where the cake and it's icing had been the next day. If he had've known before the cake eating he most certainly would not have eaten it. He is glad he didn't know. :)

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Don't you just love a bit of trigonometry?!

I was only 9 years old and I knew that it was SOH CAH TOA.
I didn't actually know what 'it' was. That came later.
In Year 12 Mr Smith explained trigonometry in such a way that the light came on and I fell in love with maths in a new way. Oh joy, oh bliss!!!
It reminds me of Christmas 2008 when my son-in-law and my step-son were explaining to me the deeper bits about two negatives making a positive - brought tears of joy to my eyes. Really!!!
Actually, there was a bit of trigonometry involved there too.

Hennway. To the point...
I scrapbooked.

It took me a v.e.e.r.y. long time to do this page and it was TOTALLY scraplifted - like, copied - I didn't have to think much at all. But that is the great thing about scraplifting - you can get something done that may not otherwise have been done.
You want to see what I copied? I copied a digi page that I saw in my Building Pages Class at Get It Scrapped but you can see it here.

Speaking of digital...
Basic Grey has to be my all time favourite scrapbooking manufacturer (sometimes others vie for that position but BG is still coming out on top) and I think it is absolutely fantastic that Basic Grey is bringing out their old lines in digital format. Like I have said before "I don't do digital" but if anything would tempt me just a little bit it would be Basic Grey. Ooooh yeah!

So... how tall is that tree? I don't really know.
Declan says "Ten thousand feet high!"
Hudson wasn't prepared to make a guesstimate and just said "Very tall."
DH goes for 60ft.

Next time I go to Shelley Beach (Cronulla) I might apply the pencil method or the shadow method to see if I can ascertain the height of that tree. Or, if I feel especially excited, I might use some trigonometry.

Speaking of tall trees...
It is interesting watching and listening to the mothers of the homeschoolers that get together in that there park at Shelley Beach. Some mothers are quite happy for their children to climb the tree (obviously) and others are downright put out. I was happy for other kids to climb the tree and happy that mine didn't want to, or couldn't! But there will come a time when they will want to and will be able to.
I'm all for tree climbing! And what a blessing, we have a climbing tree in our back yard! Yay for climbing trees.

That's all for now. I think.

Monday, 15 March 2010

The First Layout I Ever Did

I don't know what made me think of this layout. I guess I was pondering how things change over the years and how my scrapbooking has changed and that I never used to take photos of my layouts back then and...... Anyway. Enjoy.

Oh! I just remembered what made me think of my first layout ever. I was reading a post at Get It Scrapped and they tell you how to do your first layout ever.

PS I'd love to see your first layout ever. :)

Reminder... You can get a 10% discount on orders over $40 if you pop on over to Blue Bazaar. Just put the code MARBLOGDS in the comments field - that's just to tell them that you got the news from my blog, yeah. And remember this is only valid in March - so you have pretty much half a month left to take advantage of this offer. (Please note: discounts do not apply to items already discounted, on sale or subscriptions.)

Sunday, 14 March 2010


The beauty of online classes, or at least the one that I am doing, is that you can do them in your own time. At last, I have done lesson 12 of Building Pages with Debbie Hodge at Get it Scrapped. I haven't done 10 and 11 - yet.

Okay, so this is pushing it a bit. I really liked the two layouts (Chinese Garden and Malachi) I did last year in circles and wanted to head in that direction. Circles was the theme but this really isn't a layout, is it? I got as far as putting lots of photos in a circle. You know what I did? I cropped and printed all the photos to the size they needed to be to fit into that circle. Believe me, it wasn't easy. But it's done now.

Is it a layout? Hmmmm. Not sure. It's my record of the Bike-a-thon we participated in to raise money for the Special Olympics and it's going in my scrapbooking album. We would have participated whether it was raising money or not -it was a lot of fun and all the kids had seemingly endless amounts of energy.

PS The Special Olympics is NOT the Paralympics.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Mantis Memories

The kids spotted this little creature on the path, a bit wobbly on his legs, heading for the camouflage of the grass. After a quick photo with my phat lens I decided I needed my other lens to capture him eyeball to eyeball. The kids kept tabs on him while I changed to the only other option I had. Here's where a macro lens would have come in handy, eh? As I looked into this critter's eyes I thought of Jilly and the gorgeous photos she produces - I bet she has a macro lens!!!

I also remembered that when I was a baby in Aden, my Dad and Mum had a 'pet' praying mantis. We have a photo of it. The story goes that he ate sugar and cornflakes at the breakfast table. One day, after he had grown wings, he flew up into the fan and fatally injured himself. :(

When I was in Yr 11 or 12 I entered the biology classroom and saw little things set up around the room. One thing was a container (can't remember what) with a praying mantis in it. A boy from our class decided to have a poke and prod and the praying mantis clamped his little leaf-eating jaw on the padded part of said boy's finger. Said boy yelped and flung his hand to get rid of the mantis - successfully. The mantis was thrown out of the window. The biology teacher was NOT impressed ( or in Soph's words, she was unpressed.)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Make a Pretty Flower

This is probably the closest I have ever been to digital scrapbooking (besides another layout that I tried out in Publisher first before I did it on paper). This layout, that I did about 4 or 5 years ago, is really a 12x12 Photoshopped photo that I painted a few things onto - Ta Dah!!!

At the moment I say it is very, very unlikely I will ever scrapbook digitally. I like the feel of paper, pens, scissors, paint and all that stuff.

You may have worked out by now that I am a bit of a fan of zefrank's little digital 'games' Today's one is make your own flower. I love the maths, science, art, creativity and everything behind these little applications. Actually his blog is quite interesting too.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Create a Snowflake

Right now a bit of winter weather sounds quite nice. I know I will change my tune in the middle of winter but the humidity today combined with the hormones is quite a volatile mix.

I'm a fan of fans right now. If you're feeling hot, here's what you can do. Set the fan to blow right on you (or whatever you do to stay cool) and make some snowflakes - try it, it's really cool. I love technology (breaking into song). Or, if you're not into the digital kind, you could make paper snowflakes. And with the fan blowing it could even look like it is snowing!!!

PS Don't you hate it when people make 4 or 8 sided snowflakes (like the ones on my layout)?! Grrr.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Pear Memo Pad

Is this the cutest memo pad ever!?!?!

Speaking of pears....

This is in January - the number of teeth and their configurations have changed in just a few short weeks.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Blue Bazaar

I'm itching to get stuck back into Blue Bazaar's Crop Bootcamp but meanwhile, while you are waiting to see what I do next, I have a very special offer for all you scrapbookers and mixed media artists.

BLUE BAZAAR is offering you, the reader of my blog, a 10% discount on your next order over $40.00. To receive the discount include the following code in the comments field of your order: MARBLOGDS Note discounts do not apply to items already discounted, on sale or subscriptions. The code is valid for this month until the 31st March 2010.

Also while you are waiting, here's a layout from way back when! I think it's about time I did another mosaic layout - they're SO much fun.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Young Me Now Me

I decided that while I am floundering in the puddle of stress and busyness I would just tell you about some things that inspire me in one way or another.

I saw this slideshow of photos the other day - Young Me Now Me. I have a photo of my sister and I that I would love to recreate.

Maybe one day.