Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas photos

So now that I can emerge from my report writing I finally get to start feeling more festive. Last night a friend and I went into the city to photograph the tree and was inspired to scrap it using a similar style to the fabulous Jana is using for her Daily December album.
Credits here
Sometimes it seems a shame to make photos small on a page. Lucky we still have the originals full size on the computer! Here's the reflection I took of myself in the bauble (just so no-one can ever say I don't take photos of myself!!).

Here's another reflection of me in a bauble - much bigger bauble, much smaller reflection :)

And a panorama (three photos) of the decorations in the front yard of a house on a nearby corner.

Christmas dinner out with friends tonight. The craziness has begun...!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas is on its way!

Suddenly the store is filling with decorations and the talk in all the scrapbooking forums is of Christmas kits and gift ideas and, of course, Days of December. So I thought I'd mention a few bargain digital scrapbooking goodies that you can pick up. Suzanne of Roadside Designs is giving away a free "25 days of Christmas" set of templates on her blog.
Like all of Suzanne's templates they are so well designed and beautifully shadowed. I am such a fan of her templates - pages come together so easily. It seems so funny when I look back at my early days of scrapping and thought that using templates was cheating! Now I use them all the time - scrapping is all about the memory keeping, after all!!
Here are a couple of pages I threw together.

Credits: Wondrous Full Kit by Creashens at Catscrap, green paper from Flashback by One Little Bird at Oscraps.

At Designer Digitals there are some absolutely beautiful Christmas kits being released and there are more bargain digital scrapbooking goodies start today with the Days of December promotion which includes a new 99c product each day.

Here's today's beautiful 99c product...

and this most exquisite Christmas kit (one of many!)

So this all leaves one in a quandary. Should a girl get the Christmas shopping done, tidy the house ready for guests in a few weeks' time, go hunting for all these beautiful bargains or scrap the days of December?!! It is such a busy, exciting time of the year!

Monday, October 31, 2011

We have turned 50

My husband and I are only a month apart in age (yes we were high school sweet-hearts!!).
We have celebrated our significant birthdays with a joint party. Our 30th, 40th and 50th celebrations have all been at our current house.
So our 50th was last weekend. It is so special to have all your friends gathered together to celebrate. I only wish the evening could last longer. I gave my camera to one of my daughters during the speeches. She captured this shot. I think it speaks volumes...

(frame and wordart from Album of Memories LTs No1 by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals)

I love this man and the life we've had together. I am a very lucky person!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Photo A Day project - and the weird responses!

I am continuing with my Photo-A-Day project again this year. Actually it is a "Photo-A-Day (more or less)" project. It is often referred to as a "365 Project" but there is a little conundrum next year as it is a leap year it will become be a "366 Project"!
My daughters have become used to my camera appearing at awkward moments. They explain to their friends that I take a photo every day; making it sound like I have some some incurable disease!
Of course there are also very amusing comments from helpful members of the public...
Yesterday a family of ducks wandered into the school yard. We had to call wildlife rescue. I tried to get in close to capture their cute faces.

A helpful colleague kept suggesting I move away and photograph them from above. Can you imagine this shot taken from above? It would just not be the same!

Today I was in the supermarket whilst there was a torrential downpour outside (1" in a matter of minutes). I emerged to see the most amazing double rainbow. Luckily I always carry my point and shoot camera in my bag. There was a young trolley attendant nearby. He asked whether I could get the whole rainbow with just 10 megapixels. My mind went into spasms wondering how to respond:
a) ask what made him think my camera was 10 megapixels
b) explain that my camera was old and only 5 megapixels
c) explain that I was taking a panorama and would merge it in photoshop, or
d) mention that the field of view was nothing to do with megapixels and all to do with the lens...

I just said "oh yes".

He replied helpfully that there was a 15 megapixel camera on sale for $300 the other day.
That raised another whole series of questions in my mind.

I just said "oh really?"

But it got the better of me and I said
"I have a 19 megapixel camera at home but it's too big to fit in my bag."

He said no more!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More digital water colors :)

I've been playing with this tutorial.
Here are some of my results:

Credits here at Designer Digitals

from a little excursion into the city yesterday

From a trip may years ago!

For the current Pioneer Woman Edit This competition.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Digital watercolors

I have been inspired by beautiful digital watercolors by digital scrapbooker Agnes Granouillac. I don't have the brush skills or patience for such beautiful work so I went off searching for some tutorials that might help me achieve something a bit similar.
I found these: 15 artistic watercolor effects and tried the Easy Watercolor Painting Effect
With a little experimentation I produced this layout:
(full credits here)
I started with this photo of my daughter because of her mona-lisa smile and the plain background. It also is not very sharp so it's not much good on its own:

So I followed through the tutorial.
Here is the image after adding the 'cutout filter' layer with luminosity blend mode (step 6):

After adding the 'dry brush filter' layer with screen blend mode (step 8):
After adding the 'median filter' layer with soft light mode (step 8):

But I wasn't happy with it quite. I wanted some pencil/ink edges. So I added an 'accented edges filter' layer in pin light blend mode as follows:

to get this:

the difference is not clear at this resolution, but the eyes and eyebrows in particular look like they have been inked in.
In retrospect I could have added a sketch layer over the top a bit like this: portrait to sketch
I used these Designer Digitals products to make it look like it was painted on a canvas:
I clipped the photo to one of Katie's Watery Photo Masks which were blended to the linen texture paper in multiply mode so the texture showed through.

I added the watery splashes around and painted them with color (click the "lock transparency pixels" icon on the top left of the layers palette and then paint) inspired by this tutorial: brilliant matte dispersion effects in photoshop
(Of course, I'd be mortified if I was that messy with paint in real life!!)
And after adding the frame and background paper it was done :)

I want to try a few more of those 15 artistic watercolor effects tutorials, they look like so much fun!!

And here are a couple of other fun tutorials I'd love to to try:
abstract watercolor wallpaper

Do you have any other tutorials that you've enjoyed? I'd love to know!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


A significant photo of my daughter taken in New York City 20 years ago. Much has changed since then!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good design and inspiration

When I first started scrapping, I could a photo or two I wanted to scrap and some pretty paper to match but then I was paralysed! So I approached it like a research project and spent countless hours
  • reading tutorials on balance (rule of thirds, white space, visual triangles), contrast, emphasis and repetition, leading the eye, focal points
  • analysing two page design techniques
  • collecting every page map by Becky Fleck
  • storing every page I saw online that was inspiring
But after all of that I found that the most motivating and practical way to learn was to join online challenges. In early 2007 I discovered an Ad Inspiration challenge at twopeasinabucket organised by Paula Gilarde. Paula has a gift for choosing Ads that are great examples of good design. Almost every week for the following 3 years I created a page based on one of the Ads she chose... then Paula took a well deserved break...
Now Paula has resumed her Ad Inspiration Challenge from her blog and last week she tempted me with this double page Ad:
Here is my take:
Credits here.
As usual, Paula's choice of Ad had just the right balance of contrast and repetition.
Some of my all-time favorite pages are from Paula's inspirational choices.
I hope you'll join me in one of Paula's Ad Inspiration Challenges!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ten things you might not know about me

Britgirl - my amazingly creative friend in the UK - has challenged me to come up with 10 things you didn't know about me. It takes some thinking!
  1. I was an asthmatic child; pale and anaemic. I was hospitalised with pneumonia at 7. It took my parents 15 years to organise themselves to move from the cold, damp town I grew up in to somewhere with a better climate. I have been well ever since!
  2. My great, great grandparents all arrived in Australia between 1840 and 1870 from all over the world. I am about 1/2 English, and the other half is a mix of Swiss-Italian, Cornish, Scottish, Northern Irish, Southern Irish, German and possibly Norwegian.
  3. I met my husband when I joined an amateur athletic club. He competed in many places in Australia and at the World Fire Fighters games in New Zealand and in Las Vegas, USA.
  4. I am a messy, indecisive procrastinator!
  5. I have always looked young for my age. At 21 I could still get children's fares on public transport. I had my first child at 29 and yet people still say to me that I look too young to have a 20 year old daughter.
  6. I have a degree in Geology and Mathematics. I enjoyed the statistical analysis involved in geology. 
  7. I wore my skivvy backwards all day yesterday before I noticed on the way home.
  8. I try to leave a small footprint on the earth. We have a compost bin, a vegetable garden, we dry our clothes on a clothes line, we have solar hot water and recently installed solar panels that can generate 4Kwh (more than we use on a sunny day).
  9. I was christened and confirmed in the Presbyterian Church.
  10. Both of my parents were teachers. Most of their close relatives were teachers, too. Guess what I do for a living!! ;)
Now I tag fellow Aussie scrappers

And just to leave you with a few pages I've scrapped lately. There are some new Roadside Designs templates that are so beautifully clean and simple. You could use them for anything, but I stuck with the original inspiration and scrapped some wedding photos. See, there's a photo of my sisters and me - I'm the eldest. I was 22 when I was married, and I'm more than 3 years older than my next sister.
 credits here
 credits here
 credits here

Monday, July 4, 2011

Parties galore

The next 12 months sees every one of us having a significant birthday. First our middle daughter's 18th at the end of this month. Then a couple of 50ths for my husband and me. January sees our youngest turn 16 and in June our eldest turns 21! Now we're not usually party people, but I think the next year might see us having to stretch out of our comfort zone a little!
So our eldest turned 20 last month. She is not often home and she didn't want a party, but I felt I had to do something. I rustled up a few friends and they rustled up a few more and they all came for a lovely lunch. I sat inside and watched as they chatted. I thought how lovely her friends were and how she was growing up and felt happy and sad and nostalgic all at once!
I scrapped this page about it - with the lyrics from "Cat's in the cradle" which captured my emotions at the time.

I used a free template by Roadside Designs from her blog.
I also scrapped some joyful pages of the friends. I love how you can scrap the same photo and same event from different perspectives!
All products from Designer Digitals (credits here)

It also appears to be the birthday of a particular country today. Not that I'm very excited about another country's birthday but it is hard to resist a good birthday sale! So here's one from Roadside Designs:
So if you are having a significant birthday soon - happy birthday to you, too! In the meantime, enjoy some birthday shopping!

Friday, July 1, 2011

farewell to [ksharonkdesigns]!

I almost fell off my chair when I saw this post on Sharon's blog yesterday:
I started digiscrapping in mid 2006 and discovered Sharon's goodies in early 2007. I was so inspired by her clean scrapping style. I looked forward each week to her new Friday freebie that she so generously shared. Sharon has been a big part of my digiscrapping journey and I want to thank her for the inspiration, the freebies, and for the opportunity to be part of her CT for a short time.
Here is a collage of some of the pages I have made with Sharon's templates and kits (made with shapecollage).

Thanks, Sharon, for taking us all on such a fun ride. I look forward to seeing where life takes you next!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I've become a Pie Lady!

Forgive my long break between posts. I haven't had much I thought was worthy of sharing. But I thought you might be interested in my pie recipe. I NEVER thought I'd be sharing recipes on my blog!!

My mother does meat and 3 vege 'til the cow comes home. She occasionally gets particularly adventurous and does packet mixes. Rice-a-Riso was a childhood treat! Do you remember that one?!

Anyhow, with the help of google and the multitude of recipe sites out there (and the multitude of kind people who contribute to those sites) I've expanded my repertoir considerably of recent years.

And now that my recipes are all organized in simple binders like this, I'm on a roll!
New recipe book system
(see also My daughter's recipe book )

Last month I was trying to work out what to do with some beef mince that needed using and some shortcrust pastry that my husband bought by mistake (why is it that men don't read the fine writing - "puff pastry is similar to shortcrust pastry isn't it?"!!).

So I found a recipe for small pies that proved such a hit with the family that I have made many batches since. My girls have taken them to school and had to share them with friends. The school headmaster even admired them. Perhaps we have so much international cuisine in our diets these days (italian, chinese, thai, indian, ...) that the humble pie has now become exotic!!

I made a couple of pages about it:

And here is the text from the recipe (I do apologize that I have now lost the link to the original recipe). I have subsequently adapted it anyway with a change in quantities, the addition of zucchini and cornflour and sesame seeds.

Mini Pies
Makes 20

1 white onion, diced finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g premium beef mince
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup diced tomatoes
½ carrot, peeled and grated
1 stick celery, diced finely
1 small zucchini, diced finely
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
2 sheets low-fat shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp cornflour
1 pkt 5 sheets shortcrust pastry
sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine the onion, garlic and olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry for 2 minutes, until softened. Add the mince and cook for 4 minutes, until browned. Mix in the tomato paste and cook until dry, then fold in the diced tomatoes.
  2. Fold in the carrot, celery, zucchini, Worcestershire sauce, cornflour and dried Italian herbs, then set aside to cool. Cut discs of shortcrust pastry to line 20 ½ cup muffin tins, then fill with the beef mixture.
  3. Cut pastry discs to top, then arrange on top and press to seal. Brush the tops with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds, cut a small vent hole, then bake for 25 minutes, until golden.
If you do happen to make some I'd love to hear what you think!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Old Photos

My old albums have been languishing in cupboards. The photos have slowly been going yellow, or green, or blue.. whatever!
I always wondered if I was a bit silly keeping my negatives, but I did. And now I've spent months scanning them all and am in the process of naming them. Which means I have to revisit those old photos - and hope that I wrote something about each one on the back!
This has become all consuming! I've revisited so many great times. I've dug out diaries and newspaper clippings and souvenirs and letters which I am now trying to put together (more about what I'm doing in a later post).
But for now, here is a beautiful shot of waterlilies from a trip to Darwin in 1985:
  • the original photo in my album
  • the scanned negative, edited in photoshop

What a fun journey of re-discovery this is!
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