Saturday, February 28, 2009

So its sunday... we are off out soon to do our photography course at Melbourne Uni. Thank God we bought a GPS to tell us where that is. However before we head out I wanted to grab a moment to pop up the links and the picture for my FREEBIE. I have never had one before so i am mega excited. This is my desktop.

The version I have to giveaway has a nice clear space behind the frame so you can put your own photo in it. This is a super easy project. Download the files from 4shared and unzip them. There are two sizes. widescreen and narrow screen. Pick which one you need. Open up the file in Elements or which ever program. Duplicate the background layer. Put your photo under the top layer. You just move it in the window. You probably have to shrink it to fit, hold on to the shift key as you do it so it doesnt distort. When everything is the way you want it. You can write some text on the top if you want. Or otherwise. Go flatten image. You now have a jpeg. Save it to somewhere. then in your control panel you can select this file as your desktop. Let me know if i am clear as mud. It is in a zip file so it should be easy to open. Now credit for the kit goes to Sara over at Sweet Blossom designs. This kit called Spring is in the Air will be available soon... so keep checking her blog.

Friday, February 27, 2009


It really has to be a simple title because I have just had a few wines while we watched a movie. Its a sad thing when you realise that you are a little worse for wear before 7pm. We got Taken on box office as they give us a free movie a month and we thought we should remember to use them. I have to admit that I really enjoyed it. I dont think it got rave reviews but it was certainly gripping for us. Have finished the Sara Donati book.... gosh that was a nice read. Chicky book definitely but i enjoy those. Now i have started Vanished by Karen Robards. So far so good. But there is a lot on, with new stuff due out from my CTs so i have been very busy scrapbooking. Now i have Never offered a freebie. But I am very much hoping that in the next day or two to have a March desktop for you. I am pretty thrilled with it. For us it features Greg, because he insisted that as his birthday is in March, he was entitled to be on the desktop.
There is lots of other things going on, exciting things afoot, but of course as usual if i tell you i have to kill you. I am not certain how I could achieve that over the internet of course, so i better be keeping my secrets. However keep checking back in and we will see what turns up.

I did wonder if anyone else had an interest in learning how to do digital scrapbooking? I was thinking i might put some links up to resources and freebies to help anyone interested to get started. First things first. You will need a program. This is unavoidable. I am currently using Adobe CS3, although if you have thousands to spend CS4 is out. However I started with Elements and I loved it. It is really nice to use and is very simple. I probably moved up to CS because I wanted to create text paths so if you don't know what that is, you probably don't need to worry. There is a free program called GIMP. I know little about this except it is free and that ppl do use it. PSP is another option. All these programs have free trials which you can download for usually 30 days, so it is a good way to give it a try. Buying the previous release is often a lot cheaper than the newest version and the upgrade can still save you money.
The next thing to think about is storage. Because this is a memory hungry hobby. The thing I did wrong at the start was to organise my stuff badly, and even now I have a reasonable mess where there is lots of stuff from who knows where. When I started digital scrapbooking I had no intention of putting my pages on the net so I never thought of the importance of keeping track of who made what. Wrong. Start right and it keeps it simple. I am now using ACDSee to organise my scrapbooking gear so that i can keyword search. You can also use ACDSee to organise your photos once again with keyword search. If you start organising it makes life easier. My biggest first mistake was to put all my downloaded papers into a directory called papers. That makes it impossible to work out where you got them from. Just leave them in their kits with the designer info with them so that when you make your magnificent layout you can put the credits up with it. I also make a notepad file with a list of what i used and give it the same file name and keep it in the same directory. It just keeps things simple.
Scrapbooking kits come in zip or rar files. I use a program called win rar to unzip the files. Unzipped files are all put into a back up file because if i use the lot i will need these. Obviously everything you have needs to be backed up so if disaster strikes you have it all in another place. I personally swear by external hard drives and they are getting so cheap. I have a gorgeous little portable EHD which cost me less than $100 and has all my backups on it.
Ok so we have a program. Storage is organised. What next?
So here are some links that I have found useful
two peas has lots of free kits, galleries to look through, kits to buy and a section with tutorials.
I am a big fan of the Shabby Princess stuff. Once again, tutorials, free kits, and more.. galleries, blog, shop. Lots of great stuff. Their free kits are absolutely gorgeous.
Once again more freebies, more tutorials.
I have to mention this site because i have used it so often. Once you start trying to make pages you need lots of new fonts. I save all the zip files in a folder (called font zips) so if i change computers or move my scrapbooking or format then i have them there already to reinstall).
Then there are the blogs... zillions of them with lovely little freebies.

I could go on for ever. But google search is way more efficient. Most of the blogs link to other blogs and other blogs and so on. There are so many templates out there that make it the easiest thing in the world to complete a layout. I forgot to mention scrapgirls. They also have great tutorials, i actually bought a series of video tutorials which were great.
If anyone finds this helpful, feel free to let me know...
So if you are ready to get going why don't you get your program, have a look at some tutorials and this week i will put up the desktop calendar which is one of the easiest things to personalise for yourself.
The only other thing i would say is the same thing we say about all computer stuff. Save. save. save. No point putting in heaps of work to lose it when the computer crashes.
Now.. just checking back.. yes.. i did make a new page to show off.

Just to give you an idea. This layout is made using a free kit from sweetblossom designs. too easy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I think you can tell when my inspiration is low. Somehow the snappy title just doesnt come to mind. I thought of i dont like Mondays, but since it was Wednesday that was out, similarly Thank God its Friday didnt make the cut either. I dont think there is anthing particular associated with Wednesday. Perhaps because it is midweek and no one is really thinking by that stage. Just head down bum up getting through the week. Just a thought...
Anyway today was Grandparents day which is always a bit of a treat for us. Of course it is usually our only day off as well, although in Mike's case, even that wasn't true as he has now gone off to do Night shift. I often leave the f out of night shift. It seems appropriate somehow. So here i am 1038 at night wondering why i am not asleep already. It was the scrapbooking of course. I have just been trying to get this darned page right and somehow it just hasnt been right. I think i will sleep on it now and if i like it in the morning then maybe it is ok. I dont know if my judgement is all that flash by this time.
i am trying to remember if i posted my newest layout and think.. not. So i will pop in my rendition of Lucus finding the perfect bedroom... at Ikea, well where else? I love Ikea. I love all those rooms they set up, doesnt it remind you of playing house when you were a kid. They do look ready to move in and Lucus was dead set on moving right on in. I didnt blame him, it was super cute. We may have to invest in some of the cute accessories for his birthday. We are trying to budget more effectively and not spoil him with new stuff quite so outrageously on ever visit. Today we only bought, gumboots, socks, knickers and a sweatshirt, so that is not much at all really (i know you are thinking, what no toys? but we did buy a whole bunch of bath toys at Aldi on Sunday) Aldi is another shop i like. You go in for groceries and if you are like us you come out with a new garden pump. I am a little vague about its purpose but i hope for $80 it does something useful.
I have had the day off today, but hopefully will get some work thursday/friday. I know i told you on Monday that the agency rang at 8pm and cancelled. Well i published my blog and was relishing a very large, extremely yummy gin and tonic and they rang me back at 9pm and said the hospital has changed its mind!! Jeepers i was just about ready to say me too, but I didnt and got myself out of bed, deserted the G&T and went off to work. it was ok.. i mean.. you go, you work and they pay you, what more can you ask?
My real job at the Birth Centre is so increasingly political that I am finding it exhausting. It seems highly possible that the birth centre may cease to exist. Not that they are threatening to close us, it is more subtle than that. The plans for the changes to Delivery Suite just dont really include us... I think we are in danger of being phased out. So of course every one is up in arms and writing letters... well except me who is just not quite energentic enough. I guess i am a bit pessimistic about it all. The powers that be, obstetricians and administrators will do what they want and i am not all that convinced we can do anything to change that. I just can't seem to raise the energy for jumping up and down.
So.. i think i will post the layout and leave it at that. i have taken dozens of photos today, poor Lucus with his paparazzi but havent got them off the camera yet. It is hard to remember all the stuff about getting the settings right when you have a fast moving target! Night all lots of love.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome to my new home

Well what do you think? I am pretty pleased with our new blog. Mike and i sat here together on our laptops editing different bits at the same time. i was a bit surprised that it would let us do that. He put the slideshows in, i put in the header and sidebars and voila.... new blog.
So here i sit at 8pm feeling a bit lost. The agency rang and booked me for a night shift in delivery suite at one of my favorite hospitals at about 2pm. So i went to bed, had a rest, got up had a coffee and then... about 10 minutes ago they rang and cancelled. There goes a very substantial amount of money. It is hard to be completely upset because i can tell you that at 8pm i have no desire to go to work for the night. In fact when they ring it is almost a relief which is silly coz the money would have been darned useful. We need to register Mike's car this week and we just paid the power bill so I really do have to work! Particularly after the shopping expedition with Ben yesterday. He is now the proud owner of two pairs of skinny jeans and thinks he is Christmas. there is nothing more amusing than when your teenage son discovers fashion. We have to go to the hairdresser this week. No short back and sides or clipper cut for this kid. Nope, we have to look through the magazines and find a 'style' (get that a style!) that we fancy. I mean the poor kid has hair that is straighter than mine but once he has his hair styled we stock up on product and once again... you guessed it - Christmas.
Greg isnt too stressed about fashion, so long as i dont make him wear shorts. Apparently shorts are a very bad look. But essentially he is just always thrilled if you buy him a new t shirt, whereas Ben would inspect it carefully to make sure he liked it before throwing it on the floor where he keeps the rest of his clothes.
Anyway the point of my post was to celebrate my new blog. yay isnt it cute? I got all the instructions and the pretty stuff from AllyBrown who whips this stuff up and gives it away. I must put her blinkie on the blog. hmmm next project.. find out how to put blinkies up.
So just for those of you who are interested in my dear and adorable family, here is the link to snapfish where i uploaded some photos (they print your first 25 for free so i decided to trial them) For those of you like me who find it difficult to find good photo processing and are fussy about your finished product, Snapfish were very satisfactory. They arrived quickly and look great. Here is the link to our album

Sunday, February 22, 2009

extra extra read all about it.

Couldnt resist the title. Here i am, saturday night, all dressed up and ready to go... to work.  Yeah a bit of a downer isnt it.  but these days Saturday night just respresents a better pay rate.  Mike scored a Sunday morning shift so that will help the bank balance.  Ben has been hilarious this week.  He is after these new green jeans and i told him he had to be good for a week if he wanted them.  So the week is up and tomorrow we have to head off to fountaingate to go shopping.  A bit worried about how much this could cost, but he is so excited and it is such a change for him not to be in trouble.  Greg of course is in trouble again.  Him and his mate took alcohol to the school swimming carnival.  Doh!  I mean i know i was not an angel as a teenager but i was never caught doing anything that dumb!  I think i used to skip school when i wanted to behave badly.  I guess he hasnt cottoned onto that notion yet.    3 days suspension.  Unfortunately he has a big hole to dig in the backyard which may well take him 3 days.  That is because he tried to dig the smaller hole with a pick and went right through the pipe!  Now we need a huge hole so we can repair the pipe and fix the greywater.  It just seems like the greywater is a job that will never finish!!!!

We have found some solutions for it, since the builder stuffed up the installation, well the plumber really.  But first of all we need the hole.  So Greg knows what he will be doing.  Caitlin has been working hard out at Subway, someone is sick or on holiday so she has fulltime shifts.  I think she is finding it pretty tiring.  Not that i have seen much of her as she and i seem to be passing in the night a bit.

Had my Medical Review on Friday so hopefully Workcover will make up their mind about what they will and wont pay for.  It might relieve some of our stresses.  It did make Friday a long day as it was an hour away over in Richmond.  We have done a lot of travelling over the last month with the photo course and work and now the review.  You get to see lots of the pretty parts of Melbourne... certainly the parts we cant afford!

Mike starts uni this week.  He is busy swatting up acid base balance right now.  My favorite subject.  I hope everyone has read the bushfire kit stuff.  It is pretty exciting.  I am going to make my donation and download it tomorrow.  cant wait.

[caption id="attachment_79" align="alignnone" width="196" caption="Floodtide"]Floodtide[/caption]

I have just finished another good read, Judy Nunn Floodtide.  I really enjoy the way she writes about Australia, in this book she certainly made Western Australia and the Pilbara region come alive and made me really curious about going there.  It was a hard to put down book with great characters.  I'm afraid despite my voracious reading I don't represent  much income for the authors as I nearly always get my books from the library or second hand shops.  I figure if i advertise them on my widely read blog then at least there is a chance that someone could be inspired to buy.  I do wonder how you create a widely read blog.  Do I need to be vastly entertaining, or really really funny?  i personslly think it is a lot about free stuff and as i havent yet managed to make anything worthy of giving away that wont be happening for a while.  However i do regularly send the link to my family (waving to my brother and my daughter) in the hopes that they might read it and catch up on what we are up to.

Speaking of which, my brother is planning on coming over this year, so that is pretty exciting.  It wont be as nice as his trip to townsville, its not exactly tropical paradise here!  I hope we are still here.  On the news tonight there is new concern with the bush fires threatening Warburton.  we went camping there in December and I thought it was one of the most gorgeous towns i had ever been to.  i do hope it isnt destroyed!  The weather remains obstinately dry.  the forecast of showers over the weekend came to nothing.

So the weekend is over, not much of a weekend since we both worked through it.  I started this post last night and am finishing it Sunday night.  We have been and bought Ben bright green stretch drainpipe jeans.  Sort of like Kevin bacon in Footloose.  I think with a green t shirt and hat he could look like a leprachaun but he thinks he is the last word in cool.  Mike is calling him the founding member of the PLS (Pakenham Leprechaun Society), but Ben is so thrilled with his pants that he really doesnt care.

Caleb is off to hospital this week for his surgery so it will be a busy week.  We have offered to have Lucus for as long as she need us to.  Such a hardship for us!  I cant wait.

Now before i go I will pop in my newest layout.  this one is part of a challenge series over at  It is called My story matters.  So the first challenge was a layout about your birth.  The second one is about your name.  I am finding that a bit harder, but i thought that a series about me and my childhood might make a nice album for the kids.  So I will post this and then it is definitely sleepy time for this chicky.  BTW.. see i never stop the bushfire kit has raised over $2000 so far!!  isnt that so cool?

[caption id="attachment_80" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="My Story"]My Story[/caption]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Exciting news. Bush fires charity kit is out!

Spirit of Summer is a charity collab benefiting the Victorian bushfire Appeal. Not only has this effected Australians, but human beings the world over. 29 Australian and international designers have banded together to help support many Australians, animals and communities decimated by one Australia's worse national disasters.

What happened? On Saturday, Feb 7, the temperature in Melbourne was 33'c by 9am. By noon it was 40'c and by 2.50 pm soared to 47.9'c (a state record).Thousands of people were also about to start running from the inferno that would become one of Australia's worst peacetime disasters. Trees ignited in the blink of an eye. By the time people heard the roar, it was too late to flee ahead of the flames.Unfortunatly no one or thing could have stopped this inferno that wiped out communities, bushland, and lives within minutes. Many towns now cease to exist!.After watching interviews with survivors, many say that they cant put into words what they went through, saw or felt on that day.Here are just a few pictures(courtesy of google,The age,sbs &abc Aust.) of this horrible disaster:

Why is this charity kit different?No money will change hands at Snap N Tag (our host website). We are asking for your support by donating DIRECTLY to one of the following charities:
can be made
here: The salvation Army or here: Australian Red Cross

What do I get for my donation and where: You will be helping the people of Victoria, Australia most importantly, but you will also receive this amazing MEGA kit (see below).
There are 167 papers, 326 elements, 2 Alphas and a glitter syles pack as well.How amazingly fabulous is that and you can receive all of this for as little as a $5.00 donation.(**Vouchers will be emailed upon receipt of proof of Donation**)
But thats not all! For showing us how much you all really care, you not only get the MEGA kit but receive a Quickpage Album if you donate over $10.00...WOW how awsome is that!

To receive your Charity collab go here at Snap N Tag (** Don't forget your receipt of donation**)Donated! Wear your blinkie proadly: (made by Michelle Filo)

I want to personally thank those invloved in the creation of this MEGA kit? Dont we all! 29 ladies have done an amazing job planning, creating,collating and Advertising for this Charity appeal! Below is a list of blogs with the names of these 29 people. Please leave some love for them all to let them know how appreciated there efforts have been.

A work in Progress-designs by Vicki
Ambowife Designs
Carjazi Designs
Carolyn Kite- Co-Owner of Scrap N Tag
Chaos Lounge
Charlie's Digiscraps
Color with Caryn
Desert Designs
DigiLover's Addiction
Emcee Scraps
Gillian Foley- owner of Snap & Scrap
HoleyCow Designs
Jeanette Bollinger Designs
KimB's Designs
KylieM Designs
Lindsay Jane Designs
Mel_h Designs
Piggyscraps Designs
SKrapper Digitals
Scrap'it Designs
Scrappin happens/Julie C Designs
Shazbutt's Digi Scrapz
Sweet Blossom Designs
WenchdGrafix Designs
Zesty Digi Designs

Personally i would like to thank Vicki and Shaz for all the organing this wonderful collab and to Carolyn for hosting this at her website, collating and doing the previews.You have done an amazing job ladies. Also to my fellow designers, without your generosity this Charity Kit would never have happened...well done!

Monday, February 16, 2009


I did have a lot of plans for Monday.  Things I was going to do, but it all changed with one phone call.  Yep the ppl from my Nursing Agency caught up with me and offered me Work.  The trouble is that i just cant say no.  so i didnt.  So i spent my afternoon and evening supporting a woman and her partner having their first baby.  As always it is a special experience for me.  I really do enjoy my work and get so much satisfaction when i see them holding their baby.  i am always quick to point out the photo opportunities too so nothing gets missed.

I did whip up a layout last night.  Somehow it was one of those easy ones that just come together like magic.  I used Sara's Bohemia Kit again.  I guess by now everyone has been off and downloaded it from her blog.

[caption id="attachment_69" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Look Gramps"]Look Gramps[/caption]

I got a letter today from the Red Cross.  I registered online as a blood donor so that I had that part of the paperwork filled out.  So they sent me a letter of thanks explaining that 30 000 ppl have offered to donate blood!  Isnt that phenomenal? Particularly as all you get for your donation is tea and a biccy here.  Anyway they said they will get back to me but probably wont be for 3 weeks or so as they are so overwhelmed with offers.  It is nice to think that ppl are willing to give.

On the same note the charity collab kit is coming together very nicely.  It looks like everyone has worked quickly and I think it will be an amzing kit.  I hope everyone will buy it, even if only just to support the cause.  It has a  beautiful summery theme and will be really useful... i mean you always need a new summery kit right?

That freebie kit I downloaded yesterday Endless Love was absolutely enormous.  I think there were over 400 items in it.  I cant wait to have a play with that as well.  for the the moment tho, it is definitely good night as i notice that it is now tomorrow.  so good morning as well.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Quick note

It's now Sunday evening.  Somehow the weekend has gone again.  Highlights?  Well we did enjoy Valentines Day.  Mike worked an early shift, came home and we spent some time together.  Went and bought Berwick Thai, along with about a million other people.  i swear it was barely standing room in there when i went back to get my order.  Fantastic food though!  Ben wasnt impressed, so he had 2 minute noodles.  We had an early night because we had our Photography Course today.  Had to be in town at 9.30.  It was a bit of a struggle, but we were kind of on time.  Near the end they asked for models... a couple... yep us!  So we sat on a bank in the gardens while 40 odd people took photos of us.  it was incredibly unnerving.   We then went up to the cafe for a coffee.  Imagine our surprise when we discovered that we were at the cafe where Angelique works!!  There she was.. working.  How funny.

Now i have to admit that i have no new pages to put up today.  I have spent the last 24 days putting stuff on a page and taking it off again.  Finally i havew closed photoshop and given up!

Hey but head over to Sara's blog to pick up the elements of her Bohemia kit.  They are so gorgeous.

Then I spent hours today downloading  a huge free kit from this link

It is the most gorgeous freebie valentine kit.


Friday, February 13, 2009


Well, i guess my biggest excitment is that the Bushfire charity kit is going forward.  Stay posted but it is under creation as we speak.  It may not raise much compared with the telethon and the efforts by coles and safeway but it is a gift from the heart and i think that is precious.

Today Sara over at Sweet Blossom Designs released the first part of her new freebie kit.  I can't really believe she is giving it away.  It is a real winner, with lots of those reds and browns that i love.


Pretty cute huh?  today its the papers


and tomorrow... well just go and look for yourself coz you will be impressed.

Here are a couple of layouts I prepared earlier (i love saying that, it sounds like those cooking shows).

[caption id="attachment_61" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Charmer"]Charmer[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_62" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Mum's grubby boy"]Mum's grubby boy[/caption]

Poor old Mike is working a late early, so he will be tired this evening, he worked late early. late early.  exhausting stuff. But he wants to come home and brew.  About time he did so as we are all out of beer!  We have been having to buy it!  Ben has decided he urgently needs flourescent green tight drainpipe jeans.  Are these really making a fashion comeback?  I am worried he will look like a leprachaun.  However with his current attitude and lack of effort I have told him he will have to actually do his chores for a week before we go shopping.  I dont know whether it is hormonal, puberty kind of thing, or just how Ben is, but he has been fairly monstrous for the past month.  Every time you check whether he has finished the dishes, you will find a stash of stuff that he has thrown out of sight so he doesnt have to deal with it.  He has just been fighting so hard against doing anything helpful.  Then he gives you that cute cheeky grin and asks you to do something for him.  Right at the moment it just aint working.  Mike is threatening to turn off the dishwasher for 3 weeks and see if they like doing them by hand since they are managing to stack the dishwasher so badly that we have filthy plates.  I guess our children are just so spoilt.  I grew up doing the dishes, mostly on my own.  And it had to be done my parents way.  no cold water, only hot.  The bone handled knives couldnt be soaked in the sink.  The teapot had to be washed just so, then the benches wiped.  The table cleared and wiped.  Was i this dificult?  maybe i am lucky my mother is dead, so she cant comment.

Trying to think if there is anyother excitement in my life.  But no, not really.  It is valentines day, so hopefully we can have a nice evening together.  I am all for heading for the bedroom and locking the door.  maybe watch a romantic movie... bottle of wine and whatever.....  I wont go into detail.  The kids dont think that is very romantic.  They think we should be buying flowers and chocolates and going out.  But sometimes a night in is just as good.

Then tomorrow we have to be up for our Photography course outing.  That should be fun.  I must make sure my battery is charged and my card is empty.  maybe read through the instructions again.   With luck tomorrow or Monday I will be able to post some photos...

So thats it for Valentines Day.  Happy Valentines Day all.  Hope you have a nice one.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bush fires havent gone away!

I keep hoping to wake up to heavy rain and the news that the bush fires are out or under control.  But it isnt happening.  I keep waking to sunshine and winds.  both of which seem the wrong type of weather to be helpful.   Washing is drying well but I would be happy to put it in the dryer if the fires could get dealt to!  Healesville is still under threat.  I keep thinking that we havent yet been to the animal sanctuary up there... i keep meaning to go and now I may never have the chance.  i wonder what they are doing to protect all their animals??  I took the kids along to give blood the other day, but apparently they have been so flooded with donations that they really dont need it now.  I have registered as a donor and in a few weeks, it seems they will need more.  Its amazing though to think of how many people must have responded!!  I have offered the caravan as temporary accommodation if needed.  And finally the idea for the collab charity kit seems to be getting off the ground.  i had done quite a bit of work trying to put the idea out there and then bumped into someone else working on the same idea!  So we combined forces and it actually might happen.  I guess our proceeds wont be impressive by comparison with the $20 million from the telethon last night but every bit counts.

Working hard on my new blog... wish i was more technically minded coz i do so much swearing trying to make things work.  I mean do i look like someone who can edit HTML?  In fact code always looks like something that I should leave well alone.  I mean it is on par with changing the bios settings on your computer... Not for dummies!!  but apparently i am going to have to do some editing to get what i want, so you understand why i am trying to get it right first.

Now yesterday I found this incredible bargain

Check out this link for a 6 month online subscription to craft mags.  How cool is that?  Unfortunately they have canned the Digital Scrapbooking mag that i subscribed to.  I really liked it but it is gone.  The beauty of online subscription is you are not destroying any rainforests!!

So what did i do yesterday?  I made a page of course.

[caption id="attachment_50" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Feed me"]Feed me[/caption]

I tried to finish my book, but i kept falling asleep.  I read the label on my new medication and discovered that 'it may cauuse drowsiness'.  boy they werent kidding.  I had a lunchtime nap and was asleep at 10 with my book in hand.  We did fit in pizza and a movie for dinner.  We watched Wanted with Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.  Very shoot shoot bang bang.  But kind of entertaining too.  I enjoyed it and i am not really big on violent movies.  Having said that i am thinking that I might check out the newish Liam Neeson one, Taken i think it is called.  I figure i can deal with violence while I listen to that voice.

Greg is very disappointed not to be giving blood right now.  He is so funny and mature and .. let me tell you the story.  When he was about 13 he had a seizure.  We called an ambulance, he was taken to hospital and they decided to put an iv cannula in his hand.  I asked for Emla first (nurse mother) but they said he was big and they didnt have time.  Honestly they were awful to him.  I think there were at least 5 staff holding this poor boy down while they forced this iv into him.  I was torn between trying to ensure he got the iv because it was important and horror at the way they were doing it.   Later on the ED dr came back and told Greg off.  Told him he was a big sook and that he needed to grow up.  It was awful.  I nearly complained but felt a bit torn as Mike worked in that department at the time.  Well they started him on Epilim and he had to go back for a blood test to check  the levels.  Honestly he was shaking he was so frightened.  The phlebotomist did a fantastic job and he came out kind of ok.  Said it hadnt been too bad.  He then neglected to take his Epilim because he didnt like it. (big kids - honestly!) So he has been unmedicated since.  Now Greg is 16 and he wants to join the army and is talking about getting his car licence.  Sorry I said but you have seizures, you cant do either.  He doesnt have them often, maybe 4-5 times a year, absence seizures, so in a way they dont seem like a big deal.  But they will prevent him from doing what he wants.

So I told him that if we started back on the meds, that he is young enough, that if we can have 2 seizure free years they will call it juvenile epilepsy and he can then go and do what he wants.  I put it all into his hands.  So suddenly Greg is nagging to go to the Dr.  And we went the other day and the Dr ordered a number of blood tests.  I cringed a bit thinking of Greg's previous trauma.  Well, get this.  Greg says, I could get them done on the way to school.  I said, dont you want me there.  Nope.. he can do it fine.  And he did.  No big deal he told me.  do you realise how amazing that is?? And now he wants to give blood. wow!  I am pretty blown away by that big step up.

So now we have to see a Neurologist.  Guess which silly family hasnt organised their private health insurance yet?  Every year at tax time they sting us and the financial advisor says.. get medical insurance.  So i am off work for 4 days, so i might make that a priority.  And my calendar.  I made it in December and just plain ran out of time and energy to print it, so now it is February.  So what I thought is this... how bout I make it a march to march calendar?  Then it isnt wasted.  I have put a lot of effort into it.  The trouble is that it takes quite a while to print it ( like on my home printer) and then i have to take it to Office works where they put that cute metal spiral binding and a cover on it for $5 per calendar and a hole to hang it by.  Honestly it is so gorgeous.  If you are a member of my family you should be emailing me asking where it is.

Now i have a few family pics to share.  These were taken on a recent trip to Ikea.  Lucus loved Ikea.  From the awesome breakfast to the toys, and then he found his dream bedroom (which he had to be dragged out of kicking and screaming).  then we went over the road and walked along by the river and I grabbed a few photos.

[caption id="attachment_51" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Greg and Lucus (our ginga ninjas)"]Greg and Lucus (our ginga ninjas)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_52" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Lucus"]Lucus[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_54" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Lucus's ikea bedroom"]Lucus's ikea bedroom[/caption]

I finally downloaded the pics off my camera yesterday... do you know that some of the photos date back to my trip in sept/oct last year.  Our Ikea trip was back in January!

so thats enough for today.. . off to look for Medical Insurance.  I wonder if they will waive the waiting period?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Still here!

Well for all the family and friends that have rung txted and emailed... the bush fires are not currently headed our way.  I still dont feel safe.. they are way too close for comfort.  Today i have decided to pack a box of 'this would have to be saved stuff'',  So i guess that tells you where we are at.  We shouldnt be affected.  But if the wind changes direction....  The odd thing is that when we moved to Melbourne the bush fire smoke was really bad, it hung over the city like a blanket.  right through Canberra, through Albury Wodonga and then down into Melbourne, we drove through this heavy dark haze.  I guess it is the wind direction but we have none of that.  The wind is obviously sending it the other way, it does mean that we have nice clear blue skies, but in the distance we can see the smoke.

I guess everyone has seen the footage on the TV, it is certainly more than anyone can believe.  I tend to cry through the news, feeling so awful for the ppl who have lost so much, including their lives.  With the speed of the fires you obviously needed to be able to make an instant decision if u wanted to go and even then that wasnt always enough.

On a more personal note, Sara over at Sweet blossom Designs has released her Sweet Valentine Kit.  It is pretty cool, absolutely beautiful reds and whites, with wonderful elements.  I am always so blown away by her kits, and she prices them so cheap... they are a real bargain.


Also available for nothing.. like free.. is the Sweet Valentine Add on... incredible value!

[caption id="attachment_44" align="alignnone" width="390" caption="sweet valentine kit add on."]sweet valentine kit add on.[/caption]

So head on over to Sara

Here are my layouts with the kit.


[caption id="attachment_42" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="This is Caitlin a few years ago now"]This is Caitlin a few years ago now[/caption]

I have done a bit of scrapbooking lately as my back has been disgusting.  May 22 is the 2 year anniversary of my back injury which apparently was minor and should get better quickly.  Now i feel like i am facing permenant disability.  I have been through a few weeks of really feeling depressed.  whats the point of getting out of bed to deal with pain?  I am trying to get myself more motivated... have a new physio plan, back to the pilates and determined to try and be as good as i can be.  But I still have to battle with workcover who think i should be better and are arguing about paying for time off work and the mri and... anyway upshot is a Medical Review.  I go and see an independent doctor and he says how good i am... or not.  I was a bit concerned when I read the letter as the appointment is for December 30th.  1899.  No i didnt type it wrong.  I think maybe they did!  So i rang and the appt is 20 February.. this year.  Makes more sense.

So Sarah has some more new kits and stuff coming out so I have been a busy little scrapper even if nothing else is working well!  The photography course is going well.  We did lighting last tuesday and have a practical day on Sunday at the Treasury Gardens.  It is a huge travel committment as it is about an hour each way for each session.  But I am learning!  I took a whole bunch of photos of Lucus the other day which look pretty good.  Now i need to download them and have a look.  I have aperture priority sort of working, but i am not too good with shutter priority.  maybe i will just practice them one at a time.  Looked into a tripod, apparently what i really need is a carbon fibre job, which are around $1000.  Damn.  There is one on ebaby for about $300 from China.  you just dont know do you.  It might be a piece of crap... but it could be the bargain of the century.  but at $90 postage you cant really be affording to post it back.  However the same place has camera hoods which I need and they also have polarising filters, once again, at a tenth of the price... worth the risk... I just dont know.  I figure the lens hood is a piece of plastic so it cant affect my photo.  But the filter is going over my lens... it could affect my photo.  but.. risking $14 is perhaps not such a bad idea.  I mean.. in real terms that is just two big mac combos right?

Ok.. you can tell that i have nothing to do right now coz i am waffling.  However i will finish with my other bit of news.  I am currently working on a new blog over at blogspot as it is far more customisable.  I want to get it all set up before i move, but hopefully soon i can have a much more interesting blog with slideshows and stuff.

Finally books.  i wanted to put books in here coz i read so much and I have to say that Stephanie Meyers books were an absolutely wonderful read.  wow!  I was so hooked.  Right from the first page.  i was so lucky and they were lent to me by one of Caitlin's friends so i didnt have to buy them or wait for them.  Brilliant.  What a great read! I have not yet seen the movie, but am prepared for disappointment.  Then I had a week of magic with Terry Brooks.  I have read a few of his before, some of the Elfstones books were quite good.  Then i saw a series called Genesis of Shannara with the first book titled Armageddons Children.  As a lover of post apocalyptic stories i was hooked.

[caption id="attachment_45" align="alignnone" width="240" caption="Armageddons children"]Armageddons children[/caption]

So i managed to get all 3 of these from the library and loved them.  Easy to read, plot doesnt drag.  Characters are interesting.  Have passed them on to Mike who is on book 3. (that means they are quite a quick read as he does read quite slowly)  I believe we may now own book one as Mike dropped it in the river when we were camping and I dont think it will ever look the same.

And then with that series finished Caitlin brought me some more Jacqueline Carey. Kushiel's Justice. This is the second book of the second trilogy.  I do not recommend these to the prudish.  They are at times a little explicit and perhaps not mainstream.  Brilliant read though.  I loved her first series and own them and am really enjoying series number two.

[caption id="attachment_46" align="alignnone" width="100" caption="Kushiel's Justice"]Kushiel's Justice[/caption]

So.. that is me.  Frustrated by my ongoing back problems.  enjoying my photography but wish I understood it a whole lot better. ( i dont want to learn, i want to know) Scrapbooking is going well.  Angelique, Caleb and Lucus have moved to a 2 bedroom unit about 10 minutes away and seem relatively happy.  We are a bit torn.  It is nice to have some peace back but we miss Lucus like crazy.  Will post some of my new photos tomorrow... or when i get to it.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Australian Bush Fires!!!!

Here in Australia it is hard to escape the awful images of ppl who have lost everything in the bushfires.  Townships have been wiped out, lives lost, the death toll continues to rise.  I watched the news last night and watched a woman sobbing as she described how she had lost everything to a fire that just came out of nowhere.  Scenes of farmers walking through paddocks euthanasing their stock who were so badly burnt but still alive.

It makes me want to do something!!  The first thing on my list is giving blood this afternoon, there are so many people injured, apparently they are desperate for donors.  Then i am planning on going through my house to see what we can take to the donation centre.  But the other thing i would like to do would need a huge amount of help.  I would like to see if i can find enough digital scrapbook designers who would be prepared to donate some time and effort into creating a charity kit with the proceeds going to the relief fund for victims.  At the moment it is a concept, I am still working on a theme, I havent figured out where it would sell, or anything.  But if you are a designer, or a scrapper then maybe you could help.  I know that there are disasters happening all over the world, but this one is happening on my doorstep.  It is happening in townships that I drove through a week ago.

Bush fires.

Well if anyone has seen the news then they will know that victoria and Melbourne itself has been through a really tough weekend. Things arent over yet, but they know that there are at least 70 dead in these huge fires that have swept through rural victoria. But some of it has been really close to home. In fact there were even fires in Narre Warren and 6 homes were lost there.

For us it was just lots of scary news, days of incredible heat and the knowledge that incredible tragedies were occurring rather too close for comfort.  However we are all ok, but glad that the temperature has come down a bit.  Early night tonight as we had to be up early for our Photo course which was 9.30 in town.  that meant leaving home at 8.30.  not my thing at all.  No excitement to report.  too tired anyway.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Today they have forecast that we will have the hottest day in Melbourne's record. 47 degrees has been estimated!  At the moment I can tell you that we have incredible hot winds, dust flying everywhere.  The sun... yep could be 47, I know its hot.  And in the background the huge plume of smoke which is the fires in Bunyip National Park.  Thats about half an hour away driving.  i dont know how long it would take a fire to travel that distance, but i am a wee bit nervous.  I admit that i have made a mental checklist of what we should save if we had to leave.... Hard drives, laptops, quilts... and i guess Ben's school books which i bought this morning.  They are also forecasting a cool change later.  Here's hoping that it comes with rain.  There they are up north with floods and here we are so dry... just ready for the fires.

On the creative scene... I have knocked off another layout.  Funny this is one I love and Mike says... its ok. (that means he doesnt like it much)


Tomorrow is the 2nd day of our photo course, the practical session where we hopefully come to grip with the fancy settings.  I have been meaning to get my camera out and try and work it all out, but that would mean trying to read the manual again and I just cant face it.  I mean this manual has 2 pages devoted to inserting the battery correctly.  and i think i have that part down pat, so i dont want to push myself to hard by trying to get through the section on aperture and shutter speed.

I have just finished trying out my new state of the art cleaning product.  I mean for some years now i have been certain that the cleaning product industry is just one big con.  How do we become so dependent on so many different products?  Then i was reading on a forum the other day about using dilute white vinegar in a spray bottle for cleaning... and i thought... well why not.  Funny thing is that it cleaned just as well as my fancy stuff although it didnt leave a scent of pineforest behind.  The toilet, basin and bath and mirror all look great.  But the glass shower screens arent quite there.  i will have to see what the greeen ppl say about that.  Maybe they will say clean them more often, every 3 months may not be enough.  but i dont want to wear them away by over cleaning either.

well i am doing what any sane person would do in this heat.  I am running a cool bath.  I figure that will be the best way of cooling off.  Cold beer, cool bath, good book.... works for me

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Its not working

project 365 that is. It is February and so far although i have taken the photos, i havent managed to blog them.  There are no scrapbook pages.  Most of it is still sitting on the camera.  And I realised that we take photos ALL the time... i mean ask the kids.  And i am not going to put more guilt on  myself for not achieving this.  I have a goal... it is photographing our life.  creating a rich and full history for the children to enjoy.  To document them at each age and stage, to have a record of their achievments.  And we are already doing that so I officialy quite before i start.  I will just stick with what i have always done.  taking photos.

First night of our photography course last night, and we have our practical day on Sunday so i am hoping that i am going to learn more about not only using my camera but composing my photos better.

I am off tonight to do a night shift... my favorite, although i do really appreciate the $$.  Then in the morning i need to zoom down to Frankston for my MRI at 8.45 am.  I am not sure how I am going go make it home, but it is going to take some effort.  Of course today was a bit emotional, it appears that Workcover, the insurance company who handle work injuries may not pay for my MRI, but certainly i cant get them to pay for it until they have thought about it.  So I have to pay tomorrow and put in the receipt in the hope that they pay.  Once again back to that cleft stick... do i want them to find something, proving that my back is damaged and then hopefully treatable, or am i better off with a soft tissue injury which doesnt really show up but hurts like hell, but can be managed with physio, massage and medication.    Right at the moment it is hinging on whether or not I have reinjured myself, which would be a second claim and require new paperwork and approval or if i have exacerbated the previous injury in which case it is all covered.  Either way they have to pay for the MRI, it is just a question of when really.  I am just finding it a bit much, not just the financial pressure, but the emotional games.  Anyway better get myself organised so i can get up and go to work.  What a delightful thought.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

two days of school... loving it

Second day of school.  I like it.  Mike and I had the day off together, usually this is our Lucus day but Angelique had made other plans today.  So we got over our disappointment and basically lazed in bed most of the day.  Scrapbooked read, played with our cameras as tonight was the first night of our camera class.  It was.......a bit overwhelming.  Aperture, shutter speed, ISO.. ummm was there another thing.  Anyway then it is about light and exposure and if you put it on auto it will probably be fine but if u try to do it manually you could end up with a magnificent photo or a complete dud.  I think that is the summary of the content.  1hr drive to the class, but we nipped into the pub and had a beer and some dinner so that made it worthwhile.

As you may know i have some back issues after a workplace injury in 2007 (april 2007) so it is a while ago now.  Basically it is not improving and i am taking increasing amounts of pills so my doc has given me a referral for an MRI.  I rang up today to book with my calendar open thinking about the next month or two and got a cancellation spot for Thursday.  So I dont know whether I hope they find something so they can potentially fix it, or dont find anything so we keep going with physio, massage and drugs.  I have to admit that this last few days i have been having a bit of a pity party.  Just generally feeling a bit sorry for myself and frustrated by how limited I feel.  The constant tiredness from the pills, best not to mention the other side effects of the meds, you dont want to know about that part.  I was pleased that I managed to make a couple of layouts because my inspiration is a bit low.    Here is todays effort.


Here is the link for her blog if you want to grab the kit

And i can now tell you that I have a place on her Creative Team.  yay.  I just know I am going to have fun working with such great kits!.

And on that note I will take my nightly medications and go to sleep.  Night all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

So now I know

Well that was a title to grab your curiosity wasnt it?  What do i know.  That does not allow plugins, so i cant put up my slideshow etc.  Now I have to decide whether to move this riveting bulletin to another site or just work with what i have.  Right now, working with what I have seems a better option than starting off again.  Besides probably no one reads this.... feel free to comment.  So today, back to school day.  Greg doing year 12 vcal, Ben doing year 9.  Caitlin job hunting.... well not really.  Right now she needs a small bomb under her.  She makes enough from her part time job to keep her supplied with the basics... books, dvds and junk food.  So today i put the hard word on about board.  We'll see how that goes.  I am going to try and post our February desktop, showcasing of course Lucus.  And if that works I will slip in the page I made today about Caitlin.  Fingers crossed.

[caption id="attachment_17" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Each month I make a new desktop.. this is February"]Each month I make a new desktop.. this is February[/caption]

Ok.. that went well.  Lets try for the scrapbook page...


well it kind of works.  Not the blog i envision, but given time I might get there.  Today the weather was 'sultry' - well that was what the radio guy said.  That means humid.. 31 degrees, down from the 35 yesterday.  I got a shift at a private hospital in town this afternoon.  It takes me an hour to drive there.  5 hrs into the shift they tell me they dont need me any more.  I was reasonably annoyed.. but came home and spent the evening with my family so i guess that was nice.  Still gotta work to make money... and that really does help with the paying of the bills etc.

Apparently the bush fires are almost out.  29 homes lost and all because of an arsonist.  It really does make you question what kind of a world we live in doesnt it?  We were just lucky no lives were lost.  And what about the little girl thrown off the Westgate bridge a couple of days ago by her father.  Custody dispute.  Now she's dead.  Makes you feel so confused.  what is happening in these people's heads?

But I guess my problem is a bit closer to home.  My boys have really rocked my world with their behaviour.  I thought Benjamin being picked up for shoplifting in September was bad enough, but now they are both charged with burglary.  I feel like i am the most honest person in the world.  I take the extra change back to the shop when they give me too much.  And I know our children have so much stuff.  There was I happily choosing them cell phones for christmas when they decided they would steal someone else's.  I just dont get it.  It really hurts.  Ben has to go to court this time.  i cry just thinking about it.  I keep wondering where I have failed them.  How can they be so bored that burglary seems like a good idea.... that was their reason.  They were bored.  big sigh.

On a happy note, Libby has sent me a couple of pics from Christmas, so this is the twins as of december.

Libby and Mike December 2008

Kind of cute... although i was hoping for a whole bunch of them... maybe she is drip feeding them to me.

anyway getting late and I am going to do some sleeping.

Suddenly realised that I did have something that rated a mention today.  Today was my mothers birthday.  She would have been 80.    I was going to pop up a photo of her, but none on this computer.  So good night, sleep tight.