Saturday, 30 May 2009

Wait!


Help is at hand! If you have arrived via Internet Explorer & are experiencing problems with my blog bombing out on you DO THIS:-

After the blog page has loaded and you get the error message 'Internet Explorer cannot open the web site... Operation aborted' - Click ok, then, when you have the white screen, click the back button on your browser and this should re-load the page for you. You may have to do this a few times, but this usually allows you to access the blog page eventually and all should be as normal thereafter..



Friday, 29 May 2009

Inspiration for your weekend....


This is what FHM girls REALLY look like....



Well that's all the inspiration I need!!! I'm off to enjoy cappucino, etc, etc, with my scrappy friend Jax while these girls are probably busy maintaining their hair-extensions, etc!!! It's not that I don't appreciate beauty - I do...I love looking at all things beautiful & I really admire women who make the effort to look gorgeous. I do what I can with my limited time & resources, but the moral of the story here is that life is too short to aspire to the unattainable so relax & enjoy!


Happy weekend everyone ;-D


Thursday, 28 May 2009

MOZILLA FIREFOX IS THE WAY TO GO!



Below (in red) is some text I have copied & pasted directly from Blogger Help. This is really getting me into a state...This is disaster in Blogland...perhaps I am over-reacting but this is blog suicide in my opinion. I have been working very hard at increasing my hits on my blog, via tagging, etc, & it has been working. My sitemeter has been putting a smile on my face every Saturday ;-D Now I am dreading the day...



Some users are seeing an 'Operation Aborted' error message when trying to load their blogs from Internet Explorer. We're looking into this and will update this message when we have a fix. We apologize for the inconvenience. Update (May 26): We are still working on resolving this bug. This only affects viewers using IE to view the blog; for right now, blog owners can either move the Followers gadget lower in their sidebar, or remove it altogether. Either action will eliminate the pop-up dialog box in IE. We will update this post when a fix has been made.

THURSDAY'S INSPIRATION



I was tempted to entitle this post "Black Thursday" after Manchester United's massive defeat last night but that wouldn't have been very inspirational now would it??? This text I received from dh - currently in Hangzhou - puts it all into perspective though - "Sorry for all of you at home. Sad day for us all. The good news is I love you all far more than Man Utd. X"

The energy vampires are upon me...I have been coping as a "single mother" of four for nearly a week now & it is a l.o.n.g. h.a.u.l. that starts soon after the sun has risen & finishes long after it has set. All I can say to you for today is keep going -"genius is 1% inspiration & 99% perspiration" (dunno who said that but read it in one of the school news letters this week!) So true...

I am hoping to have a nice blog-hop tonight so don't give up on me - I will pop in for a visit soon, meanwhile...



Laters XXX

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

CHAMPION'S LEAGUE FINAL TONIGHT!



ATTENTION PEOPLE - GUEST AUTHOR ON THE BLOG!


Sup people?

Jack Tilbury here - aka "Tibba."

I'm here to tell you all about the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Barcelona, which kicks off at 20:45 South African time. It is the most prestigious football tournament in the world and only the best clubs play in it. If Man United do win this final they will make history by being the only club to win the tournament 2 consecutive times. The UK prediction is that United will claim the title with a score-line of 3-1. I am pretty sure that United will claim the trophy again. I have been a Manchester United fan my whole life and the whole family supports the Red Devils. I just thought that I should tell all you people that you all WILL be supporting United or my mum shall have to delete you off her list!

And if you don't support them then you have no friends & nobody likes you. Yes, it's that simple :p

However, if you are United supporters then AWE! You won't know what that means but trust me...kif word I tell you. Tonight Man United cane and even if they don't win they are my team for life!!!

They will win.

They will make history
.

With players like Ronaldo and Rooney ,Tevez and Berbetov, a backline of Vidic and Evra, Van Der Sar in goals, it's a team of legends. It's a team of players who strive for victory! IT IS MY TEAM! Glory Glory Man United! Long live United!

Check you peeps! Laka Laka. :)

And there you have Jack! He's been dying to hijack my blog for a while now...and he didn't do a bad job for a first timer! I did have to sort out the spelling & punctuation for him though,lol!

Remember, if you leave a comment, it's for Jack, not me...;-D

EXPLORER vs FIREFOX




Blogger, Blogger, wherefore art thou Blogger???? We have been in need of you for several days now & no sign of you...Perhaps you are busy working diligently behind the scenes...let's hope so, because at this rate I won't have any followers left by the time they can access my blog again!!!

Okay - so a lot of you know what I am on about & I can only say THANK YOU for your patience & perseverance & for the many e mails I have received regarding this issue. It makes me feel loved & wanted,LOL! ;-D

My advice is this ;- Go look here to see what my friend Desire has discovered and here (given to me by Monique). Dump Explorer - install Firefox. Out with the old - in with the new - technology waits for no one!!!

I have been using Mozilla (Firefox) for 6 months now & can tell you first hand that it is a better browser. It picks up more stuff - it fights it's way in - and it warns you when to stay away. Install it now. It's free. It's quick. And please let me know if you experience any more problems with opening my blog or if the problem is now sorted ;-D

WEDNESDAY'S INSPIRATION



All those plans you had for this week aren't exactly falling into place single file are they? Don't worry - this is life - real life - it happens while it's happening - try as you can to map it all out with pen on paper. Just go with the flow, follow that curved ball, steer all those runaway sheep back through the main gate...you will get there - but it will ALWAYS take you longer than you had envisaged.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

TUESDAY'S INSPIRATION


It's Tuesday today folks. By now you should be bright-eyed & bushy-tailed & ready to take on the new week. No more Monday morning blues... Go on out there & do your thing! Hope your week is taking shape by now & keep doing what you do - it will pay off eventually.

The Internet - how big IS it?

The internet is a small place - don't you think? You don't??? Think about it... Once you've narrowed it down to your area/s of interest don't you find yourself in the same place again and again? I do. I come across the same people all the time, when I'm googling, surfing or blogging, there they are - the Internet people. A strange breed...or are they? Well, I used to think so...until I joined the ranks.

Most of my real life friends don't know that I even HAVE a blog. When I first started blogging, I sent a blanket e mail out to all my friends & acquaintances. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Guess what response I got - nuzzles, nix, nothing...in e mail format. My husband nearly choked on his morning tea at the office (yes, I kept it a surprise until I had it up & running) and his secretary was as amazed as I was that I was capable of setting up a blog the same week I sent my first e mail. Blogger set up is a piece of cake, but I visit Blogger more often than I do the school run now. At the time I thought I was the bees knees, it being my first foray into cyberspace.

Blogging continues to perplex me. I have a love/hate relationship with my blog, that no-one, bar other bloggers, can relate to. It's personal, it's public. It's interactive, it's reflective. It's confusing!!! But I am in love...permanently I'm sure. I keep trying to curtail my cyber activities, but the truth is, I don't really want to. Deep down, I have found my home. Does that make me a misfit? I want to know. I feel part of something. I love that feeling. I also feel detached - I hate that feeling. I love my life - I love my virtual life - I get them confused at times. Are they really separate? Are my feelings valid or am I overanalyzing?

Apparently none of you are my friends. I can see the strange looks I get if I refer to my blogging in conversation. People don't believe me when I say I know you! I've found it easier just to shut up...The misconceptions about the Internet are similar to the ones regarding the Aids Virus. For years, cyberspace has been the place of freaks & deviants. Puleeze! Catch a wake up call fogies...I'm totally normal, except that I am one of you. A blogger. I'm not naive enough to think that there are no nutters "out there" - they are "out there" in the real world too. But, provided you use your good sense & judgement, the Internet is probably a safer place to be than the streets of my town any day!

The truth is, you all know more about me than a lot of my acquaintances. You know what I like & dislike, what my hobbies & interests are. You are often the first people I share my good news with. I try to spare you my sorrows, but I do that to my real life friends too. I hate that expression - real life - it implies that my cyber life is surreal. You guys are real too. Even those of you who have never left me a comment & never joined my "followers" widget in my sidebar. You are a part of my life & I am a part of yours, even if you choose only to listen & not to speak. That's okay. That's your choice. If I can be of assistance to you that's okay with me ;-D

So now, I ask you again. Do you think the Internet is a small place? I do. My little bit of it anyway.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Shine up your Layouts (& some cuteness...)



Chelsea had her 16th birthday recently so I was on the hunt for some little bits & pieces to supplement the camera that we bought her. I couldn't resist these 2 purchases for myself. I have ALWAYS been an insane Hello Kitty fan...always...

This little keyring now lives on the side of my bag & no...I don't care what people think...

Of course I kept the packaging to use somewhere within a layout...someday...

I bought this cheap eyeshadow...not for me silly...to use on my layouts...what??? It only cost me R25 (about US2) so it's worth a try as edging chalk...metallic edging chalk that is...

And no...I haven't tested it yet...but it IS sitting on TOP of my scrapbooking pile in anticipation...

And look what I discovered...Kitty is not only cute but functional too...not that I'd be able to see more than a nostril in that mirror but still...

I pride myself on being easy to please...it only took US4 to put a smile on my face that day & I'm still enjoying seeing my kitty on my bag everyday & can't wait for some studio time to experiment with my shiny new "chalks"!

MONDAY INSPIRATION


I know how tempting it is to sleep in just that little bit longer, especially on a Monday. Today I had the delight of leaving half an hour earlier than usual, to get Jack to the bus on time. Yes, he's on the bus this week & I am on the trot! Already on the pc & printing out some info for some work I'm doing.

So "wakey wakey eggs & bakey" - a bright new week is upon you!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

People never cease to disappoint...




Well I haven't had a dreary post in quite some time now have I? So today is as good a day as any to have a good old whinge...


Sadly, my day has NOT gone from strength to strength as Stefanie had hoped, but rather has got me getting glummer & glummer...Soon after I posted my Gratitude List I had an"incident" with a troublesome person. Sod's law that is... As blogs are public domain I can't go into more detail although, believe me, I would love to,lol! (that's a sick type of lol, IUKWIM???!!!)

Firstly, it just got me thinking about how ungrateful & insensitive people are and secondly, how it is so easy to be judgemental - yet the ones that love to hand it out are always the ones that just can't take it...quite funny really. Lucky for me one of my strengths is my sense of humour & my ability to laugh at others (when necessary, although I prefer to laugh with them) but some people really cannot be taken seriously...Before anyone takes offence I laugh at myself all the time. I have been in some very serious situations through the course of my life & if I had not developed this defence mechanism I wouldn't be the cheery person I am today.

I've learnt over the years that everyone is different - we've all come from a different "place" & are on a different journey - one that often no-one else has any idea about - so I try to be kinder than necessary & to build up rather than destroy. South Africa is full of talk about Christ-centred lifestyles but there aren't a lot to be seen. There's a lot of lip service being paid but very little dying to self out there sadly. In fact, Christianity for some here is definitely more of a fashion accessory, which is disturbing. At the end of the day the proof of the pudding is in the eating & there's alot that's inedible believe me! Blab all you like about what a fantastic Christian you are if you can "walk the walk" all the time, but otherwise, shut up & let your life & your actions do the talking. We all fall short at times, so what? Give your compatriots a break - who can be perfect all the time??? NO earthly being that's for sure...Humility wins over Pride in God's book - just sayin'. Quite frankly, if you criticize others about the very thing you yourself are guilty of then you are making an idiot out of yourself & people WILL laugh at you! ;-D

Something I am good at is processing information & compartmentalizing it speedily. I don't have time to deliberate for long so am not generally a procrastinator. I prefer to make the wrong decision than no decision at all. I have talked to a few people about my issue, which I believe is essential in bringing clarity - although obviously your choice of person is crucial as it has to be someone you can trust & not a gossip-mongerer. (It is also Scriptural - "wisdom is found in the council of many"). I have decided that this weird state of affairs (with the person concerned) has gone on for too long & that it's best to give up on it. Yup, that's the advice I'm giving - sometimes it's actually not worth persevering anymore. You can't change people. God can but you can't. I "do my best to live at peace with all people" but sometimes my best just ain't good enough! So goodbye to "so & so"...I've tried to enrich your life & find the good in you but the digging has exhausted me! ;-D (this is me just rambling...the person in question is not a frequent visitor to my blog & may indeed never get to see this - but you never do know who your "stalkers" are out there do you now???)

Next up - Reilly's football match today. They lost 5 - 1. No problem. They are the D team after all. I dropped him off & left to do the grocery shopping, followed by breakfast in a coffee shop with my smallest treasure (Cami). A giant choc-chip cookie for her & some delicious fruit salad & Bulgarian yoghurt for me & I was quite back to normal & ready to take on the world again. I returned to collect Reilly, only to discover that their match had been delayed & they were only half way through the first half. It was fortuitous (or rather, God driven) that I got there "early" - or rather, that they were very delayed - as I got to watch most of the match & listen to the "team-building" pep talk by their coach, during half time.

Reilly has been "complaining" for weeks about the negativity of his football coach & it has been an issue of concern for me. As Shane goes to most of the matches,(as opposed to me, them being on a Sunday morning & me usually having household chores to do & the two girls to look after), I have only witnessed the coach "in action" once before. At that match he was most vociferous but I was not privy to the half-time "team talk" itself. Well, I was shocked, to say the least. For once, words are failing me,LOL! Basically, he told them (all 11 years old & NOT football stars - being in the D team...uh, duh...) that they were "USELESS, a DISGRACE to their club & they should be ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES". Yes, those quotation marks are there for a reason - H.E. A.C.T.U.A.L.L.Y. S.A.I.D. T.H.A.T. and more...but you get the idea!!!

Then I had a proud mommy moment... Reilly was the ONLY boy - out of a team of 11 - to challenge him - he piped up - mid-rant - with "Well, we weren't really that bad you know" - at which point the A team coach (I didn't know who he was at the time) interjected with something along the lines of "yes, you're right Reilly" (he used to coach him so knows him as we have been with the same club for 3 years) "you guys just go back on out there & do your best like you have been doing". I was so happy & so sad at that moment, as it dawned on me that for 3 long months my child has been humiliated & degraded & I have done nothing to intervene, yet amazed & overjoyed that my boy had stood up for himself & his team-mates & was brave enough to speak out when others were clearly too afraid to do so.

BTW a quick "foot-note" here - Reilly is a complainer - we call him Eye - ore (sp??) as his glass is always half-empty so we have learnt to take what he says with "a pinch of salt" as it's (almost) never half as bad as he makes it out to be...

A long story cut short(er)...I spoke to the A team coach afterwards (hence I discovered his identity & his reason for being there today - to see for himself where all the complaints were coming from - ie; if they were valid). I gave him a piece (read measurable chunk) of my mind & told him that Reilly would NOT be returning, despite his LOVE of football, as I genuinely believe that he is being harmed & his self-esteem eroded & am concerned that his love of the game may be permanently soured. My concerns were met with complete empathy & compassion & as a result that coach was immediately dismissed (I suggested he apply for a job with Manchester United or Chelsea Football Club,lol!) One of the father's present volunteered his services until a permanent coach can be found. All in all, an amazingly positive result to a ------ awful day.


I suppose the moral of the story here is that there ARE good people in the world. Those that lift up rather than drag down, those that listen rather than enjoy the sound of their own voice, those that implement change rather than procrastinate & those that still believe in solid moral values rather than instilling warped values into impressionable young minds. Well, if you didn't make it to church today here endeth the sermon...heeheehee...


I

Gratitude




I took this idea from
Tricia's blog. She is the owner of Cocoa Daisy & a very talented & multi-faceted woman. Here goes with my list...


Today I am grateful for


1. Tricia. I love her product & I really enjoy her blog too.

2. All my bloggy friends. I really enjoy my new bloggy lifestyle & at one stage it was just a dream but now I've made it happen.

3. My husband. Corny as it sounds I so darn love that man! He is almost perfect... (I say almost because of course we have the odd difference of opinion & he would only be perfect if he agreed with ME on everything,LOL ;-D)

4. Feta & olives. My fridge is never without them now. Up until I moved here from Zimbabwe 3 years ago I only got to eat them for a few short weeks a year, when we came on holiday here & I vowed that when we moved here my fridge would NEVER be without them.

5. The scrapbook albums I have thus far completed of my life & my family. When we stop to look at them we have so many feel-good moments & laughs...

6. My medical aid & the fact that I can afford to be on such a good one. Between the 6 of us we run up some pretty hefty medical bills & without it we'd be sicker!

7. For the practically perfect weather we are having right now.

8. That I can afford new clothes when I need them, even though I choose to have a pretty minimal wardrobe.

9. That I have the luxury of a full-time house-helper. That in itself is a huge blessing - not to mention the fact that she is as honest as the days are long & kind to the kids to boot.

10. That my children have no major hang-ups, thanks to the fact that Shane & I have managed to give them as carefree a childhood as is possible in our Zimbabwean/South African environ ment.

11. For the fantastic foot massages that Reilly is giving me often right now - they are helping me SOOOOOOOOO much!!!

12. For finding Barbs again (Facebook is good for something...) - I have so loved being back in touch with her.

13. For Freckles, who has showed me that some dogs are nice. (Not a major dog fan...)

14. For the perfect, comfortable yet beautiful shoes that I finally found yesterday.

15. For the wonders of technology - having just come off the phone to Dubai.

16. For my courage. I've needed it over the years & it's a trait so many people don't have.

17. For inspirational people like Susan Boyle & Taylor Swift. They keep my dreams alive.

18. For like-minded people & the enthusiasm that breeds when we're together. LOVE that!!!

19. For my 2 cats & the enjoyment we all get from cuddling them & playing with them daily.

20. For the work ethic my father instilled in me & my ability to keep going.


So often we complain about what we DON'T have or what we DO have that we could live without (aches & pains, etc) but how often do we count our blessings? It's such a simple thing to do & an instant uplifter. What are YOU grateful for today?

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Double Layouts again...




I'm trying my hand at double layouts again as these are what are required for teaching purposes here in South Africa. I have nothing against them but I won't be "dictated to" to scrap them for the sake of the flow of my album looking flawless. Mine is a scrapbook album - not a desktop publishing publication! I have lots of photos of our recent weekend away in Joburg so doubles are working out just fine for these. Where I have fewer photos I'll stick to singles. I challenged myself here to make the bulk of my embellishments from paper & came up with the idea of punching, layering & mounting squares punched with my Creative Memories square punch. I layered them up on the diagonal then carefully stuck them in place & mounted them onto first white, then brown cardstock.



This is a tad on the bright side for me but I have years worth of cardstock to get through so blue it is. I don't use a lot of blue, just as it happens, but as Dorian (Shane's brother) is wearing a blue shirt this bazzill proved the most suitable as a background paper. I used lime-green to mount the photos & yellow as the accent cardstock. I double mounted the photos using Bazzill Swiss-Dot in a similar shade of green. I printed my photos with a white border so matted my "diamond" embellishments onto white cardstock to match - & also added a zigzag strip of white cardstock along the bottom that I cut with pinking shears. I cut the scallop using a scallop "ruler" from a piece of scallop chipboard I bought expressly to reserve for this purpose. I punched holes into it using my single-hole punch then adhered it to the yellow cardstock with double sided tape above the dots and Tombo below them - for the curved shapes. I then cut the yellow scallop edge slightly wider than the brown to "mount" it.



I used the American Craft twill Thickers from my April Cocoa Daisy kit but painted them brown first then varnished them with "Glossy Accents" dimensional glaze. I inked the mounts a bit with olive (comes out more like avocado though - which is what I wanted) The blue striped print & the brown diamond print (American Crafts - Craft Fair) are both from my Cocoa Daisy April kit. Notice how the design on the brown print echoes the embellishments - both diamond shapes. I continued this theme through with the punched border at the bottom. I am on a mission to use what I already own & this Fiskars border punch is one of them. Of course I am hankering after the new Martha Stewart punches but this will have to do for now... I bumped up some of the photos & some of the accents using foamcore. This works better than foam tape/squares for large areas as the whole area remains rigid with no denting in.



I couldn't resist using 6 aqua glitter embellishments from a Doodlebug glittered chipboard alphas set, just to give my layout that finishing touch. I positioned these carefully in order to create 3 visual triangles on my layout - to draw the viewer's eye all around the page & highlight the main areas of interest. I added a semi-circle - bumped up on foamcore - to repeat the scallop design somewhere else on the layout - aswell as for added interest/detail & to as one of the "points" of my main visual triangle. (the 2 diamond accents being the other 2points). If you learn the concept of the visual triangle (I guess you could google it for an illustration if you haven't yet heard of it...) your layouts will improve dramatically & there will be some "design" to your embellishment placing as opposed to randomness.

Posted by Picasa
Here is a collage of the details close up, including the hand-journalling, done with a brown fineliner pen. I am now in the habit of putting the date (at least the year) on every single layout. Here the journalling "includes" the full date - by saying that "these photos were taken the day before his daughter Lyra was born", so it wasn't necessary for me to include more than the year elsewhere. If you don't already include the date, start to do so, even if you use a small office date stamp & place it somewhere unobtrusive - no need to make a design feature of it if your layout doesn't require it. This layout is a lot more structured & fiddly than my true style but now that I am designing layouts for the purpose of teaching my approach has had to change to accomodate this. I can't wait to have a block of free time to create some layouts "just for me" where I can play & be free & experiment!



HOW FAST DOES YOUR BLOG LOAD?

Well peeps - mine loads in 15 seconds! Yup - that's 45 seconds faster than it loaded yesterday!! Unfortunately there has been some sacrifice (no pain, no gain...) & I've had to kiss a lot of my sidebar gadgets goodbye. But not without saving them of course - so anytime I'm missing them too much I can bring them back up for a visit ;-D

Hope this makes life easier for my followers. Let me know if you notice the difference...

If you want to do the same go to Blogger Help (within your dashboard) - then to tutorials, FAQs, etc - type in "Load blog Faster" (into the search space) - click & go! There you will be given tips to increase your loading speed. I deleted a lot of sidebar gadgets - the Javascript ones are the ones that slow your blog down the most - then I changed my post settings (within Settings - go to Formatting) to 7 posts to show only. The more posts you show the slower your blog will load. As I've moved my archives up to the top of my sidebar now I figure you can click there if you want to read something older.

The funnest part of all is clicking STOPWATCH within Blogger Help as it recorder the exact time your blog takes to load for you! So? Better??!!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Follow up on Downloading Cheap but Legal Music



I asked DH to please let me know the costs involved in downloading music HIS way - (see yesterday's post) & this is the e mail I received. Have cut & pasted it as is...Read it & have a little chuckle...


All songs on Legal Sounds are US$0.09 so they are about the cheapest around. A typical LP will contain about 10 to 12 tracks, so your fave album will cost you around US$1 which is as cheap as you'll get it. A CD in store will cost about US$12 to US$15 for new releases.And Legal Sounds has all the commercial latest up to datest trash that all your mates will be interested in, so perfect for them.
Ciao
xx

Don't be offended if you are a fan of "POP(ular...) music LIKE I AM!!!

Shane is a music connoisseur with a very eclectic taste in music...

He does come in handy for burning my CDs for me & still has to endure Poker Face at full volume when the rest of us are in the mood for it!!! ;-D

Enjoy your day - I have a busy one ahead of (and behind) me...



Wednesday, 20 May 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE SHOP!

Today is Little Shop of Sketches first birthday & there is an awesome prize on offer there for one lucky person! All you need to do is scraplift one of Tanya's sketches, upload it to the gallery & your in with a chance!

I have been designing for Tanya Leigh there for a number of months now & she is one talented sketch maker. If you have never visited do so now & add "Little Shop" to your list of sketch sites to follow!

Little Shop is a division of Stampin' Scrap, which is a real Christchurch based scrapbooking shop in New Zealand, but you can also purchase goodies online there aswell as participate in their forum. You will see the link on the Little Shop blog. It's one of the friendliest & welcoming forums out there & the New Zealand girls rock!

Tanya Leigh, Sandra, Vicki & Heidi are all connected with Little Shop (owner/Stampin' Scrap Designer/LSOS Designer & Guest Designer) & they are all the most genuine, down-to-earth, downright fun peeps you're gonna meet on the net! So go check out Little Shop now & send some love their way...

A Special Scrapping Surprise...

Ali's blog always brings me good things. I like this. Bright but not too bright. Classic, timeless yet still bang on trend. I want it! Anyone want to join me? Of course it's sold out 'cos it's just so darn gorgeous but if any locals want to share postage I'm in 'cos its a one-in-a-million. Believe me, I've scoured the Top 100 & nothing comes close to this. (Well, except Cocoa Daisy that is, but y'all knew that anyway...)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Downloading Music "How -To".


My dear dh kindly put together this little "How-to" after some enquiries. The rest I have cut & pasted from his e mail to me (yes, we have a very modern marriage - we communicate via e mail! Not exclusively, obviously...) ;-D


How to get cheap but Legal Music:
1) Register yourself with Legal Sounds at the following:
2) When downloading, use DAP which you can download here:
3) Download all your songs / (LP's) into a folder called My Completed Downloads. If you don't have one already, create one.
4) Make sure you have the latest version of Windows Media Player which will be sitting on your hard drive if you are using a Windows operating system.
5) Open Media player and click on the 'library' tab at the top of your screen and then click 'add to library'. Choose the option 'my folders and others that I can access' then click OK. This will import all music into your Media Player.
6) Click 'Burn' and then a) insert a blank CDR into your tower.
7) 'Drag' all songs across to the right hand bar of the screen in Media Player until all space is utilised (you will be advised top right how much space remains as you add additional songs).
8) When all songs are in place, click 'Burn' and let the PC do the rest.
9) When disk pops out automatically, remove it and mark with a magic marker straight onto the top surface of the CD so as to identify contents.
JOB DONE.


Isn't that sweet of him? Thank you Shane. Hope it helps you peeps out there!


Little Shop of Sketches Layout 36 - April 2009.



If you remember we had a long weekend away in Johannesburg on Hockey Tour with Jack & awaiting the overdue birth of our new neice Lyra. We missed the birth as the labour was so drawn out & as a result I was rushed with this submission. Hence it is not one of my favourites! Still, it is another 6 photos scrapped that needed to be...


If you want to take a look at the original sketch you can see it here.

The yellow print is American Crafts Chronicle 34748 & the deep navy/purple is the reverse side of it. At the top & the bottom I inverted the paper & tore the edge & inked (the top only) with lime green. The backing paper is My Mind's Eye Confetti - Celebrate Brothers Dots (reverse side).

The journalling is by hand & reads "Michaelhouse Hockey Fest." "Jack - You always put yourself out there and you always put your team first."

I clustered a group of embellishments in the bottom right-hand corner to balance with the title on the top-left. I used an old brad as it was navy/white & large with white rings printed on it to represent movement & the ball. I used an old sticker from my stash that reads "PERSONAL GAIN ALWAYS COMES AT PERSONAL EXPENSE" - I've been waiting for the perfect page to use it on & this was it. I grounded it on an offcut sticker strip & layered the numerical date stickers over the top of it - creating an interesting little cluster in the corner.



Above is a collage of some of the elements - I see now that I forgot to straighten the bottom right photo - just in case you thought my writing was crooked - it wasn't!

I used American Crafts leatherette Thickers for the title & date & some trusty Tres Jolie sticker strips for below the photos. I intentionally chose the word "family" because Jack's Team mates get to see more of him than we do & the title because he IS 100% a Team Player. He shouts instructions to all his compatriots always - even though he is not the captain - and they listen to him! I used an Around the Block metal corner (olive green) on the top centre photo to draw attention to the title "team player" as it also serves as an arrow pointing to it!

I bumped up a photo (the little one above the focal photo) that I cropped right down, of Kyle - the goalie - as he was a very significant member of last year's team & needed to be included.
I also bumped up the bottom photo. Two of the six photos don't include Jack at all but I specifically took some shots of his good friends & team mates so that all 11 team members are included in this layout. That way he will always be able to remember who was in his team that year.

Don't forget to include friends & team/classmates in your kids' photos. I went through a phase of cropping close to my subject, thus eliminating most of the background &/or other subjects/people/elements. While it definitely improved my compositional skills & made my photos look more "professional" - after 6 months of Ali Edwards as a daily influence in my life, via her blog, I am trying to zoom & crop less to give my photos a context. There's a fine line between cropping out the distracting elements & cropping the life out of them!


Monday, 18 May 2009

Cocoa Daisy Have Done it Again!



Wow, wow, wow & wow! Am I glad I renewed my subscription. Just check out this scrappy goodness. Cocoa Daisy June 2009. It's just perfect for me & my unisex scrapping. I love that it's always bold & strong without being overpoweringly bright & that it is tastefully feminine without being too sickeningly girly.

Just wow...

Customizing your Blog...

Who doesn't want a blingy blog I ask ya?

Just the few little changes I made to my blog on Friday night resulted in numerous compliments...Thanks guys!!!

I know that a lot of you out there are ahead of me on all these things (I can just tell from your beautiful blogs!) but, for those of you who still consider yourselves novices, here are my tips for the week. To insert a custom background into your header without spending more than you can afford on a web/blog designer or Photoshop Pro. Take a photo of one of your scrapbook layouts with a heap of emellishments on (or specially make a rectangular "layout" 'specially to photograph for your blog header).

Look at the size of your header & make something with the same proportions - measure your blog header manually on your computer screen if you would like to work exactly to scale! I never do that BTW - hardly ever measure a thing - (but then I worked for years making patterns & measuring up people & designing & fitting garments) that if I DO check my measurements I am usually out by less than half a millimetre - which is acceptable leeway in my book!

Once you have your custom design or the layout you are going to use you are ready to insert this BEHIND the text within your header, after clicking "Shrink to Fit". I have tried this a couple of times before without success as I was always trying to fit in standard sized photos &, once shrunk to fit, you can imagine they looked rather strange...If you are working with a photo or a photo of a layout you need to CROP it down to the correct/similar size (same ratio as your blog header/banner). In Picasa 3 this is easy as pie...

I only noticed, for the first time eva(!) when I was doing this that you can ENLARGE your title letters...pretty handy. Just keep clicking "Larger" or "Smaller" until you are happy with the result. So give it a try...it will certainly save you money & give your blog an instant lift!

One more interesting discovery I've made TODAY is that you can CHANGE THE TEXT of your blog - if you are not particularly enamoured with Blogger's options (not the greatest variety but hey, it's free so I'm not complaining!) Apparently it's easy - according to this article.

Well, quite honestly, I don't find anything particularly easy, especially if it's pc related, but this I could probably manage, if only I had the time!

Bringing you up to Speed...

As you can see I overindulged this weekend - JUST what I needed! Of course I am paying for it today as I struggle to zip up my jeans - but I started the week on a healthy note of fruit salad for breakfast (okay, and a cappucino if you must know!) so hopefully by Friday my sins may be slightly less obvious,lol!



I had a really good time with my kids & hubby this weekend & consequently got NO scrapping done, except, of course, if any of you are Stacy Julian followers, you'll know then that I got ALOT acheived & was actually "scrapbooking" most of the weekend - because I was creating wonderful memories. I've realised this year that there's not much point staying home to scrapbook every spare minute if it means missing out on the here & now with my loved ones, as they are the reason that I scrapbook in the first place!



I spend Friday afternoon at Gateway with my youngest son Reilly. He was off to a party on Saturday (back at Gateway to the Bowling Alley) so we needed to buy birthday presents for his best friends - twin boys. By the way, that link I've given you is to Wikipedia & contains information that you probably don't know about Gateway - even if you live right here in Durban - so it's worth a click!

Reilly & I had a hilarious conversation on the way. It went something like this...

Reilly:- "Mum - who's that fat cooker?"
Me:- "Ummm...??"
(visualizing a giant Argar)
Reilly:- "Oh yes - Nigella something..."
(oh - he actually means a person!)
Me:- "Um, okay?"
(surprised that he remembers the name of a celebrity chef)
Reilly:- "Ummm - she said, in a Graham Norton interview, that she likes hairy men!"
(Reilly starts almost every sentence with umm as he has a speech impediment)
Me:- "Why on earth were you watching the Graham Norton show???"
(it not exactly being a kid's program - hilarious as it is!)
Reilly:-"Ummm, because of Dad!"
Me:- "Errr...okay...so?"
Reilly:-"Yes! She likes hairy men!"
Me:-"Okaaaaaaaay - and you're telling me this because......??????"
Reilly;- "Ummm - well...because I'm hairy!"

Well that did it for me & I spent the whole weekend laughing. Kids...they crack me up!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Digging this Girl...





For more info on Taylor Swift go here to read all the details you'll need to get some background on this wonderful girl & her amazing story.

How refreshing for such a young star to be singing songs like these (the above one is a tribute to her family) when her compatriots are singing about other content entirely! Just shows you that it doesn't all have to be about sex & drugs to be a winner!! Fortunately for me I have a very clever husband (when it comes to music,lol!) who has downloaded her entire album, Fearless, for me & burned it onto CD. For now the kids are enjoying it as much as I am, which is good, because they are having to listen to it A.L.L. T.H.E. T.I.M.E!!!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Journaling Junkies May Layout.


Our spec involved being inspired by a magazine layout. No adverts in my scrapbooking magazines were really appropriate to convert into a layout so I looked through my teenage daughter's "Seventeen" & this immediately caught my eye as it gave me the perfect opportunity to experiment with the Polaroid Picture Pile Collage function in Picasa 3.

I chose a batch of photos of our kitten Daisy, taken a few months ago at that "Oh! So Cute" stage & edited them in different colours - Black & White, Sepia & colour, as the photos are all pretty similar & this would give the layout a bit more variety & interest.

With this function the photos you select are automatically converted to old Polaroid style with the white borders & wider base border. I made 2 collages - one for each page, and printed them myself on A4 photo paper. I used a sheet of Tres Jolie border stickers, (Je T'aime "Love" French borders) cut to different lengths, to soften some of the edges & printed my journalling onto photo paper, which I then cut into strips & inked. I printed my journalling for half of the strips in olive green & inked with chestnut brown & the other half in light tan & inked with lime-green for added interest.

I also printed the Title - DAISY - LITTLE - MISS- PERFECT in both ink colours & added a border strip to the top AND bottom of the title - to draw attention to it - and stuck a self-adhesive rhinestone strip beneath it to highlight it.

It went through quite a few prints to find the perfect one for this layout as plains as a backing paper just looked too dull with these photos. I settled on this K & Co. print - Urban Rhapsody Mosaic Mirage - that ended up suiting perfectly - matching Daisy's ginger coat & bringing in some contrasting teal shades aswell. When I lay the collages down against it everything matched so beautifully that the layout lacked punch - so I added a Making Memories Flower Patch Scalloped print to behind the collage & that brought it finally to life! I measured how much I needed off the circle & cut the sides off the printed scalloped circle paper so that I still retained a significant portion of the paper from the centre to use on another layout.

I used every scrappit of the sticker sheet INCLUDING the section BETWEEN each border strip (for example I created page corners with them for each corner of my layout). Instead of brads - which are definitely a lot less popular at the moment than they once were - I "attached" my journalling strips with a pretty little floral button (bought at my local Haberdashery store) & inserted a rhinestone into the centre of each, using a glue-dot. I actually adhered the journalling strips down with double-sided tape & just added the blinged-up button to the front of each strip to ground them on the layout & keep the viewer's eye moving around the page from one strip to the other. The rhinestones I used are actually tiny hearts but are difficult to see in the photos. I used Making Memories Sparkle stickers in black for the date on the bottom right-hand corner.

This is a collage of some close-up shots of the various elements used on my page.

The journalling reads:-


DAISY - LITTLE MISS PERFECT.


How did we ever live without you?

You kitties have made our house a home!

Always ready for a cuddle -

You know how to impress the boss.

We can always find you passed out somewhere -

What a perfect life!

You love "adventuring" outside in the mornings & come back filthy dirty

We've given you 3 baths so far & you are so laid-back you don't really mind!

In just a few months you have captured all our hearts & are now part of our family!


The advantage of this type of layout is that you can use a number of photos - I used 12 - if you are finding it difficult to edit a particular photo-shoot & want to keep all your shots!


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Doing the 8 Things thing...Again!



Desire has tagged me to do the "8 Things" thing, so here goes (again)...

It seems like almost everyone has done this but feel free to assign yourself the task if you so wish, rather than me tagging you & adding to your To do List. I actually feel like doing it again ;-D. Could have something to do with the fact that my brain is a bit overloaded right now so it is nice to focus on something else for a wee while...


8 Things I am looking forward to!


1. Selling our property/s in Zimbabwe.


2. Buying our own home here in Durban.


3. Having some leisurely time to scrap "just for me" - rather than for DTs & class preps.


4. Getting my new CD kit & oogling it ( & scrapping with it ultimately too!)


5. Blinging up my blog one day (soon) when time & money allow.


6. Getting my hair recoloured. (becoming a dire necessity at this stage!) Just haven't organised it yet!


7. Having a procedure that should sort out some health issues for me.


8. Getting my South African I.D. at last & ultimately getting rid of my Zimbabwe citizenship & passport. Sad but necessary.


Things I did Yesterday!


1. Delivered 3 kids to 2 schools.


2. Got some I.D. photos taken.


3. Went to Home Affairs & made some more progress there.


4. Uploaded my most recent photos to the pc & did a bit of deleting/sorting/editing/importing & exporting between My Pictures & Picasa 3.


5. E mailed both DT subs due in this week.


6. Caught up on the bulk of my e mailing.


7. Took my photo cartridge to be re-inked & bought a couple of books for Cami for her upcoming birthday, while I waited.


8. Collected 4 kids from 3 different schools.


8 Things I wish I could do!


1. Cook a dinner that ALL MY FAMILY would really enjoy simultaneously (fussy gits that they are,lol!)


2. Walk around my neighbourhood without fearing for my safety.


3. Fit more into my day & only feel tired when I had "done it all!"


4. Teach English to foreign students.


5. Go on a month long overseas holiday with my family once a year, every year (never happened to date...)


6. Custom design my scraproom & have it fitted & kitted!!!


7. Exercise without pain.


8. Lose weight without it being such a gargantuan effort.


8 T.V. Programmes I watch!


1. Master Chef.


2. Desperate Housewives.


3. Supernanny.


4. Grey's Anatomy.


5. 10 Years Younger.


6. Idols.


7. Wifeswap.


8. Manchester United Football Matches!


Now with regard to this last list - I don't do TV - if I did I wouldn't be able to scrap or blog because I scrap & blog in my "free/spare" time so I forego TV. I remember quite enjoying it as a kid but I've never really been a square-eyes. By the time I was a teenager I had already tired of it so taught myself to sew instead & created many a weird & wonderful outfit (be glad that scrapping took over from THAT!!!) as I am now a tame dresser at last ;-D


So I am well & truly out of the TV watching habit & have been since the "I dream of Genie" and original "Brady Bunch" and "Adam's Family" days. The above list are things I have watched - some of them only ONCE!!! As I scrap mostly in my bedroom now I get a semi-sideview of the TV & enjoy Masterchef most weekday evenings & "Grey's" & "DH" babblings in the background as I am usually sitting right here on this pc at about those times, after my daily sojourn into the kitchen to prepare breaks & cook dinner.

Sorry if that is disappointing or boring but I prefer to create rather than vegitate - but, as oddly incongruent as it sounds, am an avid movie fan!