Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August Blog Hop - Jack

Welcome to this month's Australasian Blog Hop featuring the "Jack" paper collection.  Just click on Megan's Blog to go backwards and the one at the bottom of the page to continue around on the blog hop.

This pack is the most masculine of our paper suites in the Seasonal Expressions.  It is perfect for camping, bushwalking, scenic shots and bonfires but it also works brilliantly for Christmas.

I want to share a page layout with you. I created this for our SA consultant group a couple of months ago and have been getting lots of mileage out of it every since!

Jack Double Layout


You will need:
2 sheets of cardstock for background (I used Sweet Leaf)
2 sheets of White Daisy
I sheet of Jack B and T (I used the tree paper)
1 sheet of cardstock for mats (I used Cocoa but you could use the new Espresso)
Juniper, Ruby and Cocoa or Espresso inks
The Jack Cardmaking Stamp
Journal box/PML card (I used the juniper one from the Jack paper)
Storybook Alphabet July SOM or other suitable letter stamp for title

Cut the white daisy card to 11x11 ½ “
Adhere it to your background paper as shown.
Cut the B and T paper into two 3” strips
Cut the cocoa into four ½” strips and then cut the remainder into two photo mats 6 ¼ x 4 ¼ and one mat 5 ¼ by 7 ¼ “  Assemble layout as shown.  Stamp a sentiment/title onto the PML card using cocoa ink

Stamp the bear and two arms onto a scrap of cardstock. Then stamp 1 juniper hat and 1 ruby heart onto the leftover strip of white daisy.  Fussy cut out and adhere to page just above PML card.  Please modify and change according to what you are working with.  This can create beautiful pages using any paper and embellishments.  


Here it is with lots of different options:
Apologies that some photos are sideways - I keep trying to find out how to fix this but to no avail? Please leave me a comment if you can help - it doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason why some go sideways and some don't as they are all taken the same way!





I just love that tree paper!


It will work with any type of paper, I know we are focussing on Jack but how cute is it using up old scraps?

I love the style of the Jack Complements. They also match perfectly with the stamps from our new Travel themed Cricut Cartridge.

If you love "Jack" then you really need to get in and contact your consultant (or if you don't have a consultant you can order online from me here www.nellward.ctmh.com.au ) as this will be gone by the end of the month!
That is it from me this month, pop over to Vandra's Blog to continue the hop!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August is a Wicked Month

Oh yes, August is a wicked month, in more ways than one..
Not only are there those treacherous clear days with the promise of Spring, and the cheerful nodding of jonquils, and sightings of Magpies with nest supplies firmly clenched in their beaks. It is not just the cold and the wet and the little tease of Spring that makes August wicked. No. August is also wickedly busy and wickedly expensive.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy without children, in what seems like a former and foreign life, I was a lacemaker. I made beautiful bobbin lace with my own two hands. There is a magic to bobbin lace - it is essentially weaving with little bits of stick and lots of pins. The magic is what you create, inch by painstaking inch. It is not a quick craft, and it requires a high level of patience, and a commitment to the task, which is probably why I have been a lapsed lacemaker for a decade and a half. Anyhow, this weekend I made a comeback.  Travelling by myself still seems a very decadent and grown up thing to do, but I packed up my bobbins and flew to Melbourne for a wonderful reunion with my old lacemaking friends. It was lovely.
These little guys are Judy's amigurumi dogs - I loved them!
My lace-making - you can see how it is easy to get excited by all of the lovely turned wooden bobbins and spangles.

This remarkable lady was my Mum away from Mum when I was first in Melbourne.  She is a dear friend - sooooo wonderful to catch up!

My amazing friend Helen is almost finished an entire bobbin lace shawl! That is true commitment! She is so clever!

This weekend coming I am heading off to the Mt Pleasant Fibre Fair to indulge in some spinning stash enhancement. We will visit the farmers market and Repurpose (which is a lovely op/junk/recycling shop full of nana-ish treasures like old cutlery and remnants of vintage fabric etc)

The week after that is our Quilting retreat down at Goolwa - and that is always worth a visit to my current favourite Patchwork shop and some great secondhand stores.

After that I will pull my head in. I really will. Because you know what, that takes us pretty well right up to Spring and unless something drastic happens within the next 3 weeks I think I can congratulate myself on a remarkably grump free, almost happy Winter!

Have a great week folks!
Keep smiling,
Nell

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August SOM Australasian Blog Hop

Welcome to our August Stamp of the Month blog hop featuring the S1708 "School Year" stamp.  If you have arrived here from Doris' Blog then you will already know how the system works. For those new to Blog Hops just follow the links at the bottom of each blog to check out more awesome ideas from our Aussie and Kiwi consultants.

With three school aged children I know I will get lots of use out of this stamp.  I take photos of my children at the start of each school year and then there are the inevitable school photos, school camps, concert and excursions to scrap!  For anyone with kids this stamp is a no-brainer but I also wanted to show you how to use it for non-school pages.  This stamp will extend the life of some of my other faourite stamp sets.

It works so well with the School Kids Day to Day Stamp. To celebrate end of term I used some of our retiring papers and the SOM with the School Kids Day to Day set to create some little teacher gifts.  This is an idea I come back to again and again.  When you next see chocolate on sale grab a few bars and put them away as little pick-me-up gifts.  Just lay the chocolate on the paper. Mark where to cut it and fold up into a basic sleeve then decorate with a tag and some twine or ribbon.

The little heart trio on this set works beautifully with our new colour of the year "Bashful" and the new Basics Fundamentals, and Whimsy Fundamentals range.  I also used our new Close to My Heart branded tape runner (which I love) and our foam dots (which come in two convenient sizes)
And do you notice the lettering?!?! Our beautiful new Alphabet thin cuts!  I am so excited by these!

You know how I said this stamp works so well with other sets? Well I couldn't resist teaming it with our new Operation Smile stamp "Punny Pals" D1751  See how easily the speech bubble and wood grain frame can be used with other sentiments?




And for this very last one I combined the SOM with the School Kids Day to Day and the "Pack Your Bags" sentiment from our new cricut cartridge "You Are Here" bundle. Cute huh?

I actually had school photo pages to show you as well but they keep loading sideways, and I had to blur out classmates faces so I have let them go this month. Hopefully this has given you some food for thought for how this can be used for non-school themes anyhow!
Now hop over to Shaunna's Blog for some more inspiration!
Till next time, keep smiling,
Nell


Monday, July 24, 2017

Taking Stock - Jul

Stealing Pip's list again as I really love to look back over these blog posts from year's past to see where we are at and what has changed. Unfortunately I left the ipad at work so no photos today!

Making : A chevron crochet blanket for our loungeroom (it is just long enough to cover my knees now!)
Cooking : Peppermint bark for our Christmas in July Dinner and cream mustard chicken (known forever in our house as "Lisa's chicken" after the friend who gave me the recipe) at Hannah's request
Drinking : chai tea - I don't like a lot of chai but the lipton's chai tea bags are my standard night time drink
Reading: The last of the Outlander novels. I am going to miss Jamie and Claire.  I also read quite a few good reads over the holidays - light hearted and easy but I now can't remember any of the titles LOL
Trawling: Bendigo Woollen Mills site again, and again, and again..
Wanting: them to bring out some tweedy yarns in luxury
Looking: forward to catching up with some very dear old friends next month, lace weekend, and quilt retreat.
Deciding: that we probably need more heating than just the fire since no one else seems to want to light it.
Wishing: For ducted reverse cycle - oh to hit a button and be warm!
Enjoying: Knitting, quilting, spinning and playing with new products
Waiting: for Spring
Liking: My boy's brave decision to go on a week long school camp - pushing out of his comfort zone, this kid is growing up.
Wondering: how he will go?
Loving: My electric blanket
Pondering: Spring planting..what to put where..should I have ordered more roses? When will we start our Central Park tribute garden?
Listening: to the last episode of Master Chef
Considering: how to enjoy my kindy days on site as much as my kindy days in the bush
Buying: wool, and fibre, and two tickets to the school star gazing night
Watching: Anne with an "E" on netflix. Not convinced yet.
Hoping: For more sunshine
Marvelling: at how a house can get messy so quickly
Cringing: at how a house can get messy so quickly!
Needing: a couple of days at home to get things sorted
Questioning: the best natural product to scrub the bathroom walls with?
Smelling: wet dog and wood fire smoke
Wearing: wool socks, gumboots, bush kindy garb
Noticing: the first of my jonquils are flowering
Knowing: Winter will not last forever
Trouble-shooting: new computer dramas
Thinking: We need to sort out that top room so it is more functional
Admiring: People that like cleaning
Getting: Frustrated at marketing campaigns - so many stupid ads at the moment
Bookmarking: patterns on ravelry
Opening: my ludite mind to new technology
Closing: old habits that no longer work
Dreaming: of getting the balance right consistently
Hearing: the sound of the fish bubbler
Celebrating: the start of term 3
Pretending: my babies aren't growing up
Embracing: life and all of the good, sweet,simple things.

Have a good week!
Keep smiling,
Nell


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Prickly Pear Australasian Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to our Australasian Blog Hop.  Hello to those who have arrived from Colleen's Blog - I hope you are enjoying the hop.

Confession time.  I am not a lover of cacti.  This could possibly be because I remember eating prickly pear on a camping trip as a kid and having to go wailing back to campsite so Mum could remove prickles from the roof of my mouth.  When I first saw the Prickly Pear Paper Pack it didn't sing to me.  However, I have just busted open my second packet.  Why? Because the colour palette in this one goes with EVERYTHING.  It also works really, really well with some of our older complements and papers and washi tape.  It is SOOOOO easy to use and because it is bright and bold a little bit goes a long way.

I have to also rave on about the Prickly Pear Scrapbooking Stamp (D1722)  As you probably know, at Close to My Heart we are all about celebrating relationships.  I feel like this stamp nails that! It is perfect for creating special pages to celebrate family and friends.  It has user friendly words that coordinate with "I love my.." or "is the best time" so you can make a page celebrating your grandparents, family, cousins, parents or sisters/brothers and friends.  This is the page I am teaching at my workshops this month so that my customers can celebrate someone dear to them:
See how the Prickly Pear paper goes so well with our old washi and the stamps just support the photo of me with one of my besties? I just cut one 1/2 inch sapphire strip and a 1 inch strip to use with the scallop border punch, with a 2 inch strip of Prickly Pear to sandwich in between.  If you don't have old washi then any zip strips or patterned paper would work just as well.  The stamping was done in Sapphire, Poppy and Tangerine.
 I love this rainbow stripe paper so much! It makes an effortless border, with a simple title straight from the Complements.
 Proving versatility - this is using Sweet Leaf cardstock as the border background and then the complements with a couple of dovetailed scrap strips. Easy Peasy!

 My take on the layout straight from page 27 of the Seasonal Expression.  I wanted to add more photos and moved the strips over to the left hand side of the page.  This is a fabulous layout for using up scrap strips of paper (when you are getting towards the end of a paper packet!)  I can't wait to share this idea with my customers!)

Lastly, this paper lends itself really well to cards.  I had fun mixing and matching paper and stamps.
So if you aren't particularly fond of cacti either please don't let that one feature paper put you off.  The floral and the rainbow stripe in this are just gorgeous, as is that sea glass irregular stripe.  It is a paper pack that will extend what you already have in stash.  The Complements have beautiful sentiments and flowers so I just used up the cactus stickers on cards to give away.
I hope you fall in love with Prickly Pear.  Doris has some great ideas so pop over to her blog now (and don't forget to leave a comment - we love to hear from you!)
Keep smiling,
Nell

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July Storybook Alphabet SOM Blog Hop

Hello again and welcome to our Australasian SOM Blog Hop featuring the beautiful "Storybook Alphabet" stamp. Hello to those of you who arrived from http://doristaylor.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/july-stamp-of-month-blog-hop.html. and to my regular readers.

Let me tell you why I LOVE alphabet stamps so much.  I have a "Hannah", a "Daniel" and a "Maddie" - do you see the problem here? No sticker letters could ever have enough "a" "e" and "d" or "n" stickers for me.  With alphabet stamps I can make my own titles exactly the colour I want, exactly the way I want every single time.  And who wouldn't want to add an alphabet stamp to their collection when it is only $7.50 with a $75 purchase?

This stamp works brilliantly for cards. Both of these were made quickly using up scraps.  I used a rock and roll technique for the top one with Lemon in the middle and then Sorbet and Sweetleaf on either end.  I deliberately placed my stamps higgeldy piggeldy on the long block - no messing about getting them straight that way!


These little bookmarks were just a bit of fun for my bookworms (again using my box of scraps!) I am thinking this would also be a fabulous school holiday idea to get the kids to make personalised bookmarks for their friends!  July school holidays are upon us and we are bound to get a few cold, rainy days where this kind of project with some junk food and scrapping by the fire will go down a treat.

Cards and bookmarks aside it also makes awesome titles (only giving you a sneak peak of this page as it will also be featured in our Jack SOM) and I am teaching it at our Consultant Meeting this month too!


I hope you can see the many uses for this stamp set too! Head over to http://colsiesscrappyfusions.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/s1707-storybook-alphabet-australian.html for more great ideas! We are glad to have Colleen joining us this month so don't forget to leave her a comment.
Until next time,
Keep smiling,
Nell

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Winter Blah!

Why, oh why, do I have reoccurring bouts of Mondayitis? It has been a grey, Winter weekend where it feels like nothing got done and the house is littered with empty Milo mugs and a trail of Hansel and Gretel crumbs.

Isn't it funny that when the kids were little I thought that our house wouldn't always be this messy, it would get better as they got older.  Now, of course, I know that the messes just get bigger as they get bigger and instead of removing purloined millipedes and marbles from baby mouths I am confiscating torches from those reading well past bedtime.  We have entered a new phase of parenting. I am a taxi driver.  I am the mum that doesn't do what "everyone else's mum" does.  I am also frequently the "bad cop" when it comes to policing food and viewing choices.

Sometimes it is hard to be the teacher turned parent. Dan told me, the other day, that I didn't have to "make everything a learning opportunity" and while I know he is right I still worry. Are we teaching them enough?  Are we holding them too tight or giving them too much free reign?

These are the questions I turn to when I can't sleep.

It has been a funny kind of weekend. We moved a ton of wood. I fixed the wood heater (replacing two fire bricks and the top plate but not the baffle because that will only come out if we remove every single brick!) I made bread. We've been using the bread maker a lot lately but a loaf disappears in a single sitting. We ate minestrone for what seemed like days but in all fairness was probably only two dinners and one lunch. I made cheesy egg and bacon tarts for brunch - delish.
James tinkered with my computer trying to get the essentials moved across to my new desktop.  We still have a way to go.  I am yet to fall in love with a new operating system that seems totally unintuitive.
I finished a shawl from handspun and an ancient project for a Winter jumper.
I began pruning the roses (the ones closest the house that missed out last year and won't get frosted). It feels too early to be pruning. I know they say "prune in June" but James' plant-loving Aunt always said "except in the Hills" I did like my slow and methodical approach this year- just pottering along and clipping the bits into manageable pieces until the green bin was full. It felt like a more manageable way of gardening, to just do a couple of bushes at a time until I am done instead of that frantic, harried feeling of busting a gut one weekend in August and ending dishevelled, torn and covered in thorn scratches.

In the end, it wasn't so much the full bin as the thunderous, dark grey-blue clouds that drove me inside to light the fire. Despite their ominous threat they moved around us and we didn't get more than a spit or two.

I am toying with the idea of keeping a garden journal. An almanac of sorts, where I can observe that the Daphne is budding up nicely and the yellow rose is putting on a brave face and still offering up one lonely bud at a time despite the Winter chill. I had to remove two dead native plants from outside the kitchen window. It made me sad. The birds used to like to hide in them. I may go to the nursery this week and see if I can find something that blooms in Winter and attracts my little feathered friends.

Enough ramblings for now. I will be back soon with some crafty show and tell.
May your week be kind to you.
Nell
Xx