Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Swimming ....

what a beautiful day and with it creating some "Matthews happiness" today is my little stars Hannah and Luke... today being their swimming lesson certificate and badge ceremony before their free play session, a sort of "season-end" party. As we head into Winter, and coach Kerry is taking a break for the colder months (although who would have guessed we are literally into Winter and having glorious 24 degree days, eat your hearts out England buddies).

How sweet Hannah and Luke sat and listened to the lovely things Kerry said to them and shyly looked into her eyes. Boy they are so proud of their gold award and novice swimming level awards, so cute how they gleamed. Luke says to me at dinner tonight " are you proud of us getting certificates today Mom?".... of course I am. Funny how they just love to soak up as much praise as they can possibly get... anyways some cutie photos today to share...

Hannah doing her little hand shake (sorry Kerry - got your b*tt in)

Luke's hand shake
Luke's big shake
(got to love the drawn up shoulders and smirk, and Hannah admiring her awards)

Kerry and Hannah
Kerry and Hannah....
I know, a scrapbookers dream swimming costume that only a scrapping friend would spot and buy (thanks Anne)

Kerry and Luke
mmm Luke's "out of focus" hug... sorry you two but it is all I got


and let's not forget that "bite-the-bottom-lip" smile (still gorgeous though)

Thanks for an awesome season Kerry... you are the best. Just love this lady, so glad we met.

Having "thank you" in mind here is some cards I did a while back for PaperCraft Inspirations using the Making Memories Grommit Tool. I am a bit of a tool junkie so always love trying new ones out, infact some fun examples of what you could do with this tool using it as a grommit setter... still need to explore it even more since I love the freedom of having two more larger sized anywhere hole punching tools (I just love effects with holes). Clara in my class on Tuesday was just asking about this gadget - the grommit setter, so some ideas that could easily be adapted on scrapbook pages or other paper crafting projects.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Tuesday ramblings

What a day - the usual though, just busy busy busy...

Created some happiness teaching two minibooks to some lovely ladies at Fantasia. I just love my new sweet friend Louise who has taken up all my classes since she first took a class with me. She is such a happy and friendly little soul and lovely to have in my class. I know what it is like for her since she is a foreigner living here in South Africa (and that for a man ... you know the things we do for this species :) ). Well hope this man holds onto this lovely girl. She is from England and doesn't have a work permit so cannot work or have a bank account here (not a bad thing if you have the man's bank account to use). Just going on a year since she has been here but I know - it never gets easier being away from family and she is real home sick. So Louise - hope scrapbooking in Africa helps you make new friends... we are pretty unique people us scrapbookers.

Oh and do go visit over at American Crafts Design Studio Blog to see this months' design team contributions.... always a treat to see the other girls' projects, AC has an incredible collection of talented ladies... my contribution this month can be seen here... can't wait to play with my new goodies that arrived yesterday either...

Creating happiness for South Africa today (and surely gleaming from cloud nine somewhere) is Sophia Allison.... you know the girl I recently met up with and realised we crossed paths when pigtails were fashion and going to the park was the main hangout... and now we live miles and miles and miles away from this hometown.... still in disbelief how this hobby of ours actually had us meeting up again some 25 years later... Well BACK TO THE POINT, Sophia is featured on Making Memories Blog as a VBlogger guest designer, so very cool : check it out here . Well done Sophia, so so happy for you.

Sharing an older AC layout I did a few months back as my blog contribution for them. My funny boy Luke who is obsessed with boxes (loves the recycle trash thing at school and always brings home other peoples trash - well clean trash). So this particular day he wanted to make this rocket from a huge box my hubby had thrown out - he has a wild imagination this kid, only wish I could have recorded the noises attached to these photos...
oh yesterday same sweet boy is crying about having to be Barney in the little show for grandparents day at school soon. He hates to be laughed at and thinks the other kids were laughing "at" him... because he is Barney (yes that purple dinosaur like creature every mom knows all the songs to). How do you explain to a self concious little 6 year old that the kids are laughing with him and that they are most likely more jealous about his role than teasing him about it. Where is that manual - the parenting one with all the answers in it? Oh well got to love the idea of what lies ahead of us with this precious boy, he is going to test out parenting skills that is for sure... here he is rocketing away

All products by American Crafts (minus the yummy pistachio and black Bazzill Basics Cardstock)... the green dots on the scallops: well I used some of the many full stops I never use from the (foam) thickers letter stickers sheets, love them now - so cute to use. (oh and any SATC girls out there - notice the paper from the range of your kits... deee-lish)

will end with just having my dad compliment Craig's photos he took yesterday, AND also had Ina the owner at Fantasia ask who the photographer is of these lovely photos just today too - HUH!!! he is positively gloating now... (thanks alot) but maybe just maybe I may have some photos in my kids scrapbooks someday now that he "thinks" he "has" it. Does he know the wonders of photoshop though... will leave him to gloat (it may work out better in my interests).

nitey nite

Monday, 26 May 2008

Monday..... monday... monday....

the end of a weekend and the start of yet another week... well I am sure glad Monday came along. Mr freight delivery man created my no. 1 happiness today, yeah a box FULL of American Crafts goodness. Boy am I sad that it is my last three months working on this design team, yip my two years are up soon. The design team boxes have been incredible... and I am never sure if it is pure excitement for new products, but I swear these guys design a better range each time (and that's twice a year too). I will always have my fav AC products, but gosh so much gorgeous products to see in this new box I don't know where to start. Making place in my scraproom would be a good starting I guess.

Doesn't help when my desk is in design turmoil either, stuff everywhere..... always the case when I am working on a project. And of course I am in grind mode this week with the run down to the event on Saturday, at Fantasia in Hillcrest. So my desk is extra laden with stuff.

Creating happiness no. 2 for me today (wow that is a good sign), I managed to get my hubby Craig to take some photos of me with my kiddies... got some lovely fun ones too, but these are the ones I selected for the current project I needed. My hubby never picks up the camera so I am just never in any photos with my kids. I guess I have to admit though that with the amount of photos I take I never give anyone else a chance to touch my camera. I love these photos, they are super cute and I even had a hard time choosing (always a better position to be in, right?).

These photos do make me smile... Hannah the natural loves to pose with her check glued to mine; Luke and his "biting-the-bottom-lip-is-a-smile-stage"; Ty actually smiling... but what is he doing in the little family shot??? he is such a little joker, you should see the other faces he did :).

Today my sweet Hannah had her very first Oral Presentation at school. So my Sunday was spent helping my seven year old put together her project on Water and Animals. I let Hannah do ask much of the cutting and sticking as she could, got to love that seven year made this look. A few little scrapbooking touches and presentation done. Well - not that easy, it took forever getting pictures together, deciding what to actually put in this project... boy I have no idea what a seven year old is able to do or what is expected. None-the-less, she is happy, teacher said brilliant and that is all I know (Hannah a girl of little words when it comes to school). So now I am left regreting not actually taking a photo of her before she parted with her project. The scrapbooker in me is so bummed by that.

So will leave you then with a layout I did of my sweet girl as seen in the latest ScrapBook Inspirations magazine. I love Making Memories, they have churned out release after release of gorgeous products and in the tools department certainly are a leader (in my books anyways). So lots of MM products on this layout. The postage stamp look I painstakingly punched away at the edge of the cardstock to mimic the MM paper available (just wanted the same look but in different colours) using my Basic Grey Notch Tool. Also machine stitched the franking marks.... The spiral notebooks by MM, yes I parted with one and had my daughter write a little note on it. She loves writing notes and is forever eyeballing my notebooks whenever I buy one. She just LOVES notebooks and writing little letters. Too sweet she is... so thanks for coming over :)

Venessa :)

Friday, 23 May 2008

Friday happiness....

Fridays.... generally always a happy day, isn't it? You know that lovely "I don't have to get up early in the morning tomorrow" feeling.... mmmm pure bliss.

I have been ever so tired lately.... infact I almost beat my kids to sleep last night, felt myself dropping off to sleep at the dinner table. Doesn't help when almost every night I need to escort Hannah to the toilet at some point (afraid of the dark situation) and most nights either Luke or Ty also need or want something. So sleep is precious time for me and eventually the lack thereof catches up and obviously this is where I am at right now... trying to catchup again.

Lots of happiness created downstairs infront of the television two nights ago... my husband is a HUGE Manchester United football fan. And I mean so HUGE that his woke up on Wendsay morning nervous... yes nervous for the game he would only watch after 9pm that night. Only woman out there with sporting madness partners will understand this bazaarness. Not sure how the kids slept through his cheering performance. Have you ever heard someone whispering excitement, fustration, joy, and then glory .... it is rather amusing. But Wednesday night there wasn't any of his usual whispering.. he couldn't help himself. I only now wish I actually sat down there with my camera and captured him on film (well digital... you know what I mean). I really need to try put that on my list of "photographs I need to capture to scrapbook". Having a massive sports fan in your house definately needs to be documented somehow. Craig is wondering why he hasn't heard from his friends back in England, especially the Chelsea supporting ones.... (hehe... Bev your hubby recovered yet?)

I know my husband cannot wait for our two boys (and perhaps even our daughter - who knows) to join in his passion for sports. At this stage our six year old only gets excited for that rather big trophy... now that is the only cool part of having to watch 90 minutes of men running around in his little world.

Back to paper happiness... Laurie and I have been hard at work getting our projects ready for next Saturday's event, Memoirs of a Mother at Fantasia in Hillcrest. Today we released some sneak peeks and I am having such fun with all my sparkly pretty papers. The image is merely a colour peek (not by any means the only product in the kit)... and Ina, the shop owner has lined up some lovely lucky draws and gifts... including some floral happiness. Flowers come a close second to yummy scrapbooking products - right? So if you all want to see what we are upto at the moment, I'll share the sneak peeks here:

for my class some delicious colours and gorgeous papers from Die Cuts With A View and "not all shown" but some custom made products especially cut for this kit. We will be creating a double page, the South African girls tend to mostly scrap double pages... with plenty of sparkle and blinging happiness.

and then the incredibly talented Laurie Glenny whips up this little number no-one is going to want to part with too quickly. Boy I hope only 39 seats sell of the 40 limited places.... I want one too.

it's late and I am all blogged out so will leave you with a card I created for this months' PaperCraft Inspirations magazine, a mens card supplement section for which I was asked to use a hot air balloon theme. That currently tops my unusual requests list, wonder if my editors will top this one at some point... (wink wink Jenny and Zoe), I do love a challenge (wonder if that is a good thing to proclaim to the world) - anyway this sure was a challenge (thanks Zoe)

off to bed, Venessa....

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Such a gorgeous day today in Africa....

and I spent it indoors mostly, teaching and designing. I had three lovely ladies in my morning scrapbooking class today and hopefully they left inspired to create some happiness with wide ribbon... Stacy was thrilled with her page and my lovely friend Louise (the unfortunate little English girl that hasn't got a work permit in South Africa... ahh poor thing has to scrapbook to stay busy, isn't that just terrible, just kidding - how lucky is she?).

I cannot believe how worn out I still feel since the weekend scrapping event, South Africas Top Crop. Hope my energy drinks start kicking in soon. It is not easy trying to prepare and get ready for the next fun scrapping day (Memoirs of a Mother) when you are struggling to stay awake. Today I saw Laurie Glenny's project she is teaching and it is to die for gorgeous. The ladies that have booked WILL not be disappointed with this little project, boy I hope I can get a kit but the limited seats are filling fast so I doubt I will beable to get one :(.

Well I have some photos to share from the weekend, just a couple but hoping to get more from the organisers they are:

I loved this ladies' interpretation of my class.... just beautiful:

enjoy the rest of your day...

Monday, 19 May 2008

A new week...

With the weekend behind us and a brand new week ahead, I need to quickly regain my "go-go" to get focusing on my next function, a day teaching with Laurie Glenny at Fantasia Crafts. Going to be a lovely day indeed. But seats are limited so don't waste time to book yours...The best part of my weekend was undoubtly making new friends. I was thrilled to finally meet Lara Cousins too, what a genuinely nice lady. We had some fun laughs and know I have certainly made a good friend. Thanks Lara. And of course Candice Greenway... haven't seen her in ages since she is all the way down (well up actually) from Cape Town. It is so lovely to have some time chatting face to face for a change. Candice has this incredibly nice manner and her funny play on words had Lara, Candice and I talking in morse code half the time - so funny.

The delegates this weekend seemed to love all the classes, and it was interesting to learn from them too. Especially since I haven't taught too many South African ladies yet, it was interesting to quiz them about their interests in the hobby and what they want and like about it all. Thanks ladies for the information, for the INCREDIBLY lovely feedback you gave me and for making my class an absolute success.

Some ladies asked about recommended shops in the UK, well this is some of the ones I used and loved. Obviously there is so many now and probably some incredible ones too, but I do not know them. Join UK Scrappers forum, an incredible forum with loads of links to the best shops in the UK. But my favs from my friend Amy, Willow Tree Crafts (she is online and an actual shop in Watford); my friend Debbie at ScrapMagic (the best supply of Bazzill you can find) and then the lovely ladies at Artbase (again online and an actual shop East (ish) of London).

Well hoping to find sometime today to upload a few photos from the weekend, if not I soon will.

Ooh I nearly forgot, gosh that has to be a first for me.... a bunch of the sweetest girls in my last class of the weekend ask to have me write my name on the FRONT of their completed layouts from my class, wow - I was amazed. How sweet is that? A definate top of the list for the day for creating happiness.

I returned home last night with a headache from..... well you know where, and feeling physically drained. So I cannot tell you hard it was focusing on the kids bedtime story last night. My kids haven't seen me for two days, even though I did travel home to stay overnight. But I returned and left again while they were asleep, so it was so lovely to get kids jumping in your arms with excitement. Just love my little brats... have to thank my husband Craig, who never complains when I need to be away. And then happily sits the weeks before my class, and drills 600 holes into perspex blocks without a complaint. I owe him big time and the ladies in class sent a big thank you too - so they were really sweet.

Thanks to the organisers Tracy Schimper and Andrea Robertson for a lovely event and an awesome dinner out on Saturday night.
Off to get ready for another week of Matthews Mayhem....

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Phew what a long day...

So day one of South Africa's Top Crop and what an awesome one. With only a few minutes really to contain myself after arriving and getting ready, for my class... the two classes I taught today went down brilliantly. What great ladies I have met and I cannot believe how different the pages turned out. Some incredible photos too... hoping the ladies let me see their finished layouts by emailing me or uploading to this facebook group. It is a nice feeling when you leave a class of happy inspired ladies.
Top of the list of creating happiness today has to be meeting Meryl, dear sweet lady who is 73 years old and an absolute darling. And she came to the event alone, even drove herself down to Durban beach front. It is wonderful to see this hobby being enjoyed by all ages and I get so excited to hear especially when her scrapbooking is also used to JOURNAL... yeah. Wish I still had my grannies around to hear stories from them. Meryl also tells me (boy I hope she stays in touch) that for her husband's birthday she suggested that their kids (of which they have some 15 grandchildren from) buy him a dictafone. SO he sits and tells his stories, recording them ... that really blew me away. How incredible. Imagine having stories from your grandparent in his voice... and apparently he has incredible stories from his life... WOW, is all I say.

I am knackered, going out to dinner with the other awesome teachers just now. So my day has left me feeling so inspired (and bouncing some great ideas from the ladies in the classes that think up great and easy ways you never thought of) - just tired. Oh and lesson two I learnt today... there are left handed people in the world :)...

Off for a bubble bath - hopefully I don't fall asleep in there. More tomorrow (if I have the energy)

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Finally I am blogging....

and I cannot believe how long this has taken me to finally see this through. I have been wanting to set this up and get going for way to long now. Still need to find my way around a few more things and figure out how to do a few bits but yeah.... I finally did it. So as I no doubt am talking to myself right now... may we have a happy and long blogging together, blogspot. (* cheers with my peppermint crisp and glass of milk in hand - sad I know ).

Hopefully my blog will create loads of happiness. So looking forward to sharing with family, friends and fellow crafters all over the world and letting you all know what the little matthews are upto and where my crafting adventures takes me.

Which reminds me that I need to get some sleep as my clock runs down to South Africa's Top Crop ... only one more day to get all my bits together for two days of *hopefully* inspiring 120 odd ladies with my worshop. Chat soon...