Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mini book to share

Mini books are one of my favourite gifts to give to people who don't scrapbook.  As I gear up for Christmas and I'm mindful of buying (or making) gifts well ahead of time, I'm re-looking at some of the mini books that I have previously made.  Here is one that I made for my friend Bridget; it celebrates the adoption of her gorgeous daughter, Bothlale Grace (or as we call her - miss Boo).

I have left several spaces for mom to write notes about Boo's story,
and also to write love notes TO miss Boo

More space for a handwritten note from mom

I hope Bridget takes the time to write this love note to miss Boo

a personalised card tucked into the cover of the album

I'm planning on making a similar mini album for my mother for Christmas - filled with pictures of my gorgeous niece, princess Elizabeth.  It's such fun making girly-girl albums of little people.  Of course that means that I have to go shopping for papers and embellishments and ribbon and ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Elizabeth turns 2

My precious niece Elizabeth turned 2 on 25 August.  I've had to learn who 'Dora the Explorer' is, and Boots the monkey, and the cow and the fox and ...  My sweet precious child.  I don't see Elizabeth often, but I try and stay in touch across the miles.  Her parents Robbie and Tonia are also good at keeping me alive in her mind, and they often talk about Aunty Ali, so Elizabeth usually settles down quickly when she sees me, and isn't shy or nervous.

Saturday was party day to celebrate Elizabeth's birthday.  This is the story of the Dora party...

My Aunty Ali bought me all these goodies

Hello Dora

bath crayons

Dora and friends need to go to sleep now - shhhh!

Dad helps me unpack more goodies

WOW (her latest favourite word!) Dad has BIG hands

a squeeze from Aunty Ali

the R9-99 gardening set from the plastic shop was probably her favourite prezzie!

granny gives me a book of Bible stories

mom and dad made a pinyata for me

of course there was cake

I love watering the garden; Dad is already moaning about the water bill

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Layouts to share

Just a few more layouts from my 2010 Scotland trip to share this morning...

Love these colours!

These embellishments are brads

I like the idea of making my own patterned paper with stamps.
The muted background allows the photo's to take center stage

Used my circle punch and scraps of paper to make the title strip

Scrapbooking for me is...
  • an escape from the madness and rush and frenzy of my life
  • a place to play and rest and experiment
  • a way to re-live and experience travel all over again (there's the planning and anticipation part, the actual going on holiday part, and then the memory part)
  • a gathering of friends and a special connection over papers, photo's and embellishments
  • joyful

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Christmas shopping

I know.  It seems waaaay too early to start your Christmas shopping already.  Or is it?  I have a fairly substantial list of Christmas gifts that I want to buy for people this year, and have decided that the gifts will be small and meaningful.  I am also travelling overseas for almost a month before Christmas, so I need to use my time well.

So I was thinking...if I divide my shopping list into 4 and buy 25% of the gifts this month, and 25% of the gifts next month, and so on, I will be done with my Christmas shopping by end November.  Isn't that so cool??  It means that I won't be trawling the malls in late November or December with all the frazzled, desperate gift shoppers.  It means that I will have time to think about the person that I am buying a gift for, and make sure that the gift will be meaningful, or at least useful - I like useful gifts, I don't like rubbish that stands on the mantelpiece and gathers dust (called kaggelkak in South Africa).

Here's a little sneak peek at a gift that I have already bought - a gorgeous lunch tote.  I bought a couple of them as Christmas gifts and will fill them with yummy treats such as seed and nut bars, or chocolates and hand cream before wrapping them.  That's a really neat (and useful!) gift.

So that's my Christmas shopping strategy for 2011.  What's yours?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Life lessons from my garden

While digging in the mud, pulling  out weeds, nurturing fragile plants through icy winter weather or planting beautiful summer seedlings, these are some of the life lessons which I am learning from my garden...

  • take the time to do the basics - from planning the garden to digging in lots of compost before planting;  sometimes we rush at things without  thinking clearly about what we are doing or what we really want
  • there is a season for everything and you usually cannot hurry things along - autumn is for reflection and slowing down, winter is for rest and nurturing and pruning away what you need to let go of, spring is for anticipation of what could be and lots of new growth, and summer is for enjoying the full beauty of your labour
  • some plants will die - things do come to an end; sometimes something has to end before something new can begin
  • discipline is necessary - the beautiful starry wild jasmine creeper has to be disciplined with staking and wiring to encourage it to climb the garden wall
  • consistency and routine is good - spending regular time in the garden, watering, fertilising and tending the plants will result in a beautiful garden
  • most things will flourish and grow with the right care and attention
  • give the underdogs a chance - the tiniest cutting can grow into a magnificent plant if loved and nurtured
  • weather the storms as a natural part of life - your garden is able to survive the toughest storms and is resilient enough to recover from the worst black frost and hail damage; the scars are proof of courage and triumph in the face of adversity
  • welcome visitors - birds, bees and some bugs are natural and often necessary for your garden (and your life) to thrive
  • change in a garden and in life is good, even though it may be uncomfortable - removing old plants, pruning and reinventing your garden keeps it fresh and interesting
  • despite your best efforts, things will occasionally still go wrong or not turn out well
  • keep going - perfection is NOT the goal
  • take time to rest, relax and enjoy what you have created
  • gardening is hard work; life is hard work
  • enjoy the journey

winter bulbs

what will you become?

lavender flowers

** Taken from my (unpublished) book "Whispered Comfort" **

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Layouts to share

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us"
** Helen Keller **

I have sometimes stared at closed doors for too long and right now, I know many people who are staring at closed doors.  My wish for you and for me is that we will look for the open doors that call out with possibility and hope, even though it may be scary.

Just a few more layouts of my Scotland trip to share this morning...

a dash of white acrylic paint sits under the title

scraps of paper, a postcard and some photo's make up this layout

this is a piece of a map from northern Scotland

Monday, August 15, 2011

5 things

just some randomness this morning...

  1. I put down 5 bags of lawn dressing and planted 5 trays of seedlings in the garden yesterday - official preparation for the arrival of spring in a months' time
  2. the weather in Johannesburg is very cold and overcast today - we do not expect rain in Winter in this part of the country, so this is very unusual
  3. I leave for Italy in 6 weeks' time; it is 22 degrees in Venice right now
  4. the National Planning Commission has released its first report on South Africa - it is both positive and equally scary on the prospects of this beautiful country
  5. I'm dabbling in a bit of art journalling; it's a work in progress and a journey of discovery.  Not really sure what it means to me.  I won't overthink it.