Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gratitude Journal

Sometimes life just feels so hard and the happy moments seem rare.  As we head towards the end of January, it feels right to focus on abundance and blessings and gratitude
I've been keeping a gratitude journal for several years, but my entries are sporadic.  Writing a list of things I'm grateful for every day doesn't work for me, it becomes just another job on my endless to do list. 
I've made a small Gratitude Journal as a way of focusing on a year of gratitude during 2014.   Here is my list for January...
So. Here. Now. I Celebrate...
* the love and support of my family and friends
* the joy of reading books
* the opportunity to travel, even it it's just down to Cape Town on a business trip
* always having something to look forward to, especially a mini holiday to the coast with my family, to play in the sand on the beach with my nieces
* my beloved cat, Ruby
* my healthy hands and strong body
* the priviledge of growing old - there are many people who don't have this priviledge, like my sister Rose-Marie who passed away in 2011 just after she turned 50
* the wild birds
* helpful technology, like my iPad and Kindle and GPS
* great coffee, especially first thing in the morning (Nescafe Alta Rica is my favourite instant coffee, and a good Nespresso is pure joy)
* ice cold bottled water on a scorching hot day in Africa
* long walks at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
* the joy of a simple crochet hook and some wool
* the comfort and encouragement and challenge of being a born again Christian
* a hot bubble bath in the evenings before bed
* autumn and spring
* the soft warm fleece of winter sweatshirts
* a room full of art and scrapbooking supplies
* perfume (my favourite right now is an oldie - Giorgio)
* my camera
* shoes - especially Tsonga (handmade shoes from South Africa) and Green Cross shoes
* the many helpers and healers in my life - like my chiropractor Bridget who sorts out my sore back, my homeopath Jaci who uses natural remedies to keep me healthy, and Heather whose deep tissue massages ease the tension from my body
* my PVR machine to record all my favourite TV programs
What are you grateful for right now?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Scrapbooking layouts

Here are some layouts that I recently completed.  With the demise of the Creating Keepsakes Magazine (none of the ladies in our group likes the digital version), Pinterest has become my new source of inspiration for designing scrapbook layouts.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Scrapbooking birthday

My friend Lynn and I are January babies, and for the second year in a row, we chose to scrapbook with the Scrap Addicts for the weekend in celebration of being one year older.

the Scrap Addicts have been together for longer than many marriages last! 
Linda, Alison, Lynette, Lynn and Leonie

in case a very strong wind should ever blow through my dining room, a very special paper weight named princess Ruby keeps Lynn's scrapbook papers from blowing away! 

in lieu of birthday cake, I made a blueberry cheesecake for tea
Despite the terrible heat-wave in Johannesburg on Saturday, we had such an awesome weekend of scrapbooking, great food, lots of water, and hilarious discussions about retirement ('s on the horizon for a few of us!).  I am deeply grateful for this group of special friends.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Around here

I'm working in hot and sunny Cape Town for a few days...

 This is the view from my bedroom

...and a view of the mountains from the bathroom
(this is the start of the 12 Apostles range of mountains)

and this was sunset at 8.30pm last night!

I'm grateful for enduring friendships.  I had brunch today with a friend that I've known since primary school.  She has a home in Cape Town, but spends most of her time in Ghana where her husband works.  We both still look the same as we did in school, just with added wrinkles and some extra weight.  Today we picked up easy conversation as though we see each other often, even though we don't
I'm so grateful that I have a broad range of friends who support and encourage  and cheer me on.  I hope that I do the same for other people.  I really do try and be an 'encourager and giver of hope' for my family and friends, and the people that I work with
I absolutely do believe that friends are the family that you choose for yourself

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Creative space

During the past month, I've been focusing on uncluttering and reorganizing my craft supplies.  I still have a long way to go, but making good progress. 
I've had this beautiful desk for years; it has a pull-out worktop, originally designed for a computer keyboard.  The desk is on wheels, so I can move it around to wherever suits me best - playing with art supplies while watching tv or near a window where the natural light is good. 
I've removed all my mixed media craft supplies out of my craft room, and organized them into the storage space in the desk.  Being organized encourages me to be creative, as I don't have to hunt in various boxes for supplies. 
One of my goals for 2014 is to explore mixed media a lot more.  I want to play with supplies and see what happens.  I find that I'm often nervous to mess up a page, so I sometimes don't actually start anything.  Silly I know, and gotta stop!  Just begin...


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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Botanical Gardens

It has become a tradition to go for a walk at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Johannesburg on New Years' day with my friend Lynn and her family. 
This is one of my favourite outdoor spaces in Johannesburg, and there is always something interesting to see. 
After our walk, we have breakfast under the trees at the restaurant, and talk about our plans for the new year.  I love the ritual of ushering in the new year in a gentle, thoughtful way each year.


I've been coming to the Gardens for years, and this is the first time that I've seen a tortoise here 



Friday, January 10, 2014

Around here...

Working at keeping things in perspective during 2014 - work commitments, time with friends and family, creative time, faith, and just generally making time for what's really important to me
Keeping all my 'to do' lists in one note book, instead of having bits of paper all over the place
Focused on moving more - my pedometer has a new battery, and I'm getting out onto the road for more regular walks; I already have minor shin splints!
Determined to eat more real food and less crap this year (I'm loving this website - 100 days of real food)
Thinking more and more about how I can unclutter, downsize, and live with less
Pondering some great opportunities for overseas travel in 2014 and 2015, and hoping that the ZAR / U$D exchange rate improves significantly
Making progress in my garden - I have completely overhauled the bones of my garden since moving in 18 months ago.  There is still a long way to go, but I'm already seeing how some plants are taking root and thriving






This is a lemon drop aloe - such a beautiful name!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Scrapbooking : mini travel album

During the December holidays, I've been slowly uncluttering my craft room.  I become very unproductive when there is a lot of 'stuff' lying around, and I found that I was avoiding my craft room, because it was so cluttered.  I've been scrapbooking since 1998, so I have a lot of craft supplies, quite a lot of which I will simply never use.   I also have a fair bit of supplies and paper that is simply out of date. I've been brave and put everything that I don't love into a 'donate' pile for my niece's nursery school.  My 'previously loved' supplies can now go and bless the children at the nursery school.  I still have a long way to go in the quest to unclutter, but my craft room is already feeling lighter, organised and more inviting.  The big challenge for me will be to organize my embellishments - it feels like I have lots of little bits everywhere!
Here is a mini travel album that I finally finished; it was part of the Ali Edwards 'on the road' class when I visited Italy in 2011.  I put  a lot of personal observations and thoughts into this little album, things that wouldn't normally end up on a traditional scrapbooking layout.  I also included several photos which I wouldn't normally put onto a scrap page, like photos of me taking photos!  I decorated the album covers with maps from our trip, and then covered the outside of the album with clear plastic.