Monday, January 30, 2012


It's been a while since I've played along with Sunny Challenges.    I really enjoyed spending time in my craft room today; this is my second card for the day - woohoo!  The challenge this week is to use Stampin' Up!'s yummy Pink Pirouette and Early Espresso together, using this sketch as the basis for your project:

I have used Very Vanilla as the accompanying neutral; here's what I came up with:

I stamped the maidenhair fern image, from Growing Green, onto the long Early Espresso panel, and the two Pink Pirouette panels (as well as on the sentiment oval).  I wanted it to be subtle, and am really pleased with the outcome - although it's hardly visible in the photo!  Can you see the stamping in this closer shot?:

Do you like the desserty look of the paper flower??  I started off with a flower made with Very Vanilla cardstock.  It was sprayed lightly with Frost White shimmer mist (shimmer paint missed with Isocol), then spritzed with Pink Pirouette and Early Espresso markers (using my Color Spritzer tool).  To finish off, I lightly sponged the edges of the outer petals with Pink Pirouette ink.  A glimmer brad fastens all the layers together.

Stamps: Growing Green, Happiest Birthday Wishes
Card: Pink Pirouette smooth and textured, Very Vanilla, Early Espresso
Ink: Pink Pirouette stampin' pad and marker, Early Espresso stampin' pad and marker
Other: Frost White shimmer paint mixed with Isocol, Basics Glimmer Brad, Basic Pearls, sponge daubers, Nestabilities, Color Spritzer tool, Very Vanilla seam binding, Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder, sticky strip


This week's challenge at Just Add Ink, is to draw inspiration from the gorgeous creations of Kathy Tanner, a member of the Design Team.

I scrolled through Kathy's blog and found a number of cards that I wanted to CASE, but finally decided on this card.  If I'd read Kathy's 'recipe' before starting, I would've realised that her card base is Crumb Cake .... but, I thought it looked like Soft Suede, so that's what I started with!  After consulting my handy Color Coach from Stampin' Up!, I decided on the colour combo of Soft Suede, So Saffron and Riding Hood Red.  I thought Very Vanilla would be a little less stark than Whisper White with these colours.

Like Kathy, I used the Just Believe stamp set, but as a slight variation, after stamping the main image on Very Vanilla card using Versamark ink, I embossed it with Iridescent Ice embossing powder.  I then sponged So Saffron ink over the top.   Here's a close-up of the embossed image, so you can (hopefully) see the subtle sparkle:

...... and my card in its entirety:

Stamps: Just Believe, Kindness Matters, Happiest Birthday Wishes, Parlor Prints
Card: Soft Suede, Very Vanilla, So Saffron, Riding Hood Red
Ink: So Saffron, Soft Suede and Basic Black stampin' pads, Versamark inkpad
Other: Iridescent Ice embossing powder, 1 3/8" square punch, paper snips, Subtles brads, Paper Piercing tool and Mat Pack, sponge daubers

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This week my favourite challenge site, Just Add Ink, is celebrating a huge milestone - it's their 100th challenge!  To commemorate this auspicious occasion, since a letter from the Queen isn't forthcoming, we're being encouraged to submit a card or other papercraft project with one or more crowns on it.  My friend Helen ran with the "or more" suggestion (love her card - check it out here).  I, on the other hand, have kept mine very simple.

What first sprang to mind, when I mulled over how I could incorporate a crown on a card, were rich, regal colours.  I chose to use Concord Crush with Brushed Gold, and Shimmery White cardstock for my embossed images.  I wanted my card to have a clean, formal look about it (and I think the end result somewhat resembles a tuxedo - what do you think???!!).

Stamps: Parlor Prints, Established Elegance, Curly Cute
Card: Concord Crush, Brushed Gold, Shimmery White
Ink: Versamark inkpad
Other: Gold embossing powder, XL Tag punch, In Color Glimmer brad, Itty Bitty shapes circle punch, Whisper White satin ribbon, Basic Rhinestones, mini glue dots, stampin' dimensionals

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Since I'm on a roll, sorting through my photos, I can share with you the final instalment of our fabulous holiday.  I thought this would take days, but it's amazing what one can achieve when ignoring the housework!

Our trip ended in Las Vegas.  I wasn't keen to go there (I expected I'd hate it, as I'm neither a drinker nor a gambler), but agreed to it so I could at least say "been there, done that".  Well, was I in for a surprise.  I LOVED Vegas!!  It's a bit drab during the day, at least on the outskirts of the city, but it comes alive at night, and is surprisingly clean.  We had only 2 full days there - one was spent travelling to the Grand Canyon by helicopter, and the second was set aside solely for shopping (and boy, was the shopping good!).  We had half-days either side, which allowed for lots of walking around, and taking photos, and, oh, did I mention shopping?

The hotels on the Las Vegas strip are incredible.  We stayed at the Venetian (not great timing, since 140,000 convention attendees descended on the hotel for a Consumer Electronics Show ... but, as you'll see, we struggled through).

Take a look at the roof of the front entrance to the hotel:

The outside of the hotel, at night:

This shot was taken INSIDE the hotel.  Gondolas (and singing gondoliers) move through canals inside the hotel.  The ceilings are painted to look like the sky, and the light changes depending on time of day.

We flew by helicopter from Las Vegas, to the Grand Canyon (a 45-minute flight, at 300 km/h).  Not easy for me, being rather unhappy with heights and not liking to be 'not in control'!  However, our rather dashing pilot put my fears to rest, and I was able to relax and enjoy the return trip.  Here we are, landed in the Grand Canyon, about to enjoy breakfast set up by the pilots of the three helicopters landed at the same time:

We were delighted to see tiny rock squirrels (told you I love squirrels!), scampering up the cliff face.  They came very close and weren't afraid to steal crumbs from the pastries being eaten by the human visitors.

This shot was taken as we were flying through the Grand Canyon.  Incredible experience (once I got over the major discomfort of being in a helicopter), and awesome views.

This photo was taken on approach to Las Vegas:

We played "how the other half live", enjoying breakfast in the Penthouse Suite at the Venetian hotel.  Our friends had upgraded to the penthouse suite for their stay, and we were allowed to visit :)

Nearing the end of a big day of shopping at Premium Outlets North, Ethan agreed to mind our bags while we browsed at watches and bags.  We came back to find the poor little guy fast asleep (I thought he was mucking around, but he wasn't).

These are just the SHOPS at Caesar's Palace!!!  The opulence that gambling money pays for!

And that, my friends, concludes my summary of our trip.  We created a lot of great memories, and weren't really ready to come home, but I am looking forward to getting settled back into our usual routines (apart from the relentless running around for cricket training and games!).


Back again, with some of my favourite shots from our trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.  I have a huge soft spot for Disneyland (I've been 5 times to the original park in Anaheim, California), so was pretty excited to be venturing to the MASSIVE Disney complex in Orlando. 

We had a great time, but in my book, Disneyland beats Disney World, hands down.

Here's an overview of our few days in Orlando:

The Disney Monorail stopped in our hotel, which was pretty cool - very convenient.  The transportation system was amazing, but Disney World is so big that a bus ride between two of the parks can take 20-30 minutes.

You can't get much more Disney than this (the castle in the Magic Kingdom)!

Jack and Ethan with Donald Duck in Frontierland (Jack was a bit reluctant, but it's pretty cute, don't you think?!)

Mickey and Minnie topiaries; just one of the cute Disney touches throughout the parks.

Candy apples.  Can't imagine anyone eating them, but they look gorgeous.

My beautiful boys:

Andrew and Ethan partaking in the strange custom of eating smoked turkey legs.  People everywhere were eating them, and we thought they looked gross, so the boys tried them.  Waste of $20 - they threw them out after a couple of bites!

How did our kids ever manage to amuse themselves at breakfast before iPhones and iPods were invented????  (Good to see the art of conversation is not lost.)

One of the gorgeous views on the safari we took in Animal Kingdom (the best of all the parks):

Andrew celebrated his birthday while we were away.  We enjoyed a special meal in another of the Disney hotels.  Jane, our friend, had bought several gifts, and wrapped them all in Disney brochures (since we had no wrapping paper).  I thought that was pretty cute.

Okay, I'm off to sort through the Las Vegas photos now, so I can share the last instalment with you!


Hello my friends

It's been a few weeks since I've posted on my blog .... being rather overwhelmed by pre-Christmas preparations, and then rushing off on holiday the day after Christmas, I haven't had a chance to sit down and catch up with you all.  So, rather belatedly, I must say Happy New Year!!  2012 is full of promise for me, and I hope it will be a great year for you too.

I am still in a bit of a creative slump, post-Christmas.  Until I can come up with a card to show you, I thought I'd share some photos of our fabulous holiday.  Our family travelled, with friends (who also have 2 kids), to the US for 2 1/2 weeks.  We started off in New York (one of our favourite places to be - just love it), then went to Walt Disney World in Orlando, before finishing up in Las Vegas.

Here's the first instalment - a snapshot of our time in New York.

First up, the iconic Times Square, at night.

The location of our hotel in Manhattan was brilliant; here's the view from the hotel bar, over Times Square.  Unfortunately, we couldn't enjoy this view on New Year's Eve ....  a table cost $15,000!!!  Even a 'standing room only' ticket, to be in the room, was $1500.

Instead, we had a private party in our room.  I stuck my camera out the window to try to capture a portion of the crowd.  It is INSANE in Times Square at this time; around a million people crammed like sardines, into the 10+ blocks around Times Square.

A pretty cute shot of Ethan, a bit footsore after traipsing for miles around Manhattan!

Check out the gorgeous Christmas decorations inside Tiffany's on 5th Avenue.  Such a beautiful store, spanning 5 levels (spent hours there!).  I'm not a big wearer of jewellery, but did buy myself a little something ..... how could I not?!

Here are all 'the kids' at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  Loved the tour, and we helped prop up the American economy while we were there!

You can't go to New York without experiencing Grand Central Station.  It is absolutely beautiful.  I also get a lot of pleasure out of reading destination names like Poughkeepsie, and Yonkers (it's the simple things)!

After capturing this shot, I became the official photographer of squirrels on our trip!  Just love these little creatures.

We caught the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, then walked back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge.  That was one of the highlights of our time in New York; it was great.  The weather was beautiful ( there was no snow at all this year), and there were heaps of great photo moments along the way.  I'll share but one with you:

How beautiful do the clouds look, reflected in the Freedom Tower?  This is the building being erected on the Ground Zero site.  Still lots of construction going on.

A perfect Sunday in Central Park.  We walked from one end to the other on this day; glorious.

These cute little bridges dotted around Central Park really took my fancy:

I hope you've enjoyed this little snippet of our visit to New York.  I miss it already!!

I will be back with the next instalment, of our time in Walt Disney World in Florida, once I've trawled through my hundreds of photos to narrow down the selection.