Monday, July 16, 2012

Handmade Heart Swap :: What I Sent

I've recently taken part in the Handmade Heart Swap hosted by Mary Poppins.
As Proby is a fan of purple I tried to incorporate purple into each of the items I made for her as well as the extra bits I popped into the parcel and the packaging.
I thought I'd share here what I sent in my parcel all the way over to the UK...

First up was a button and wire heart with purple buttons. I made a couple of these a few years back and it was the first thing I thought of to make when I decided to sign up for the swap...

Next up is an "I Love..." purple minibook - to be filled up with pictures and words of the things/people my swap partner loves...

Each double page features a blank page - with space for a photo, some patterned paper and a journalling tag. The book is held together with purple book-rings...

Next up is a set of 3 x heart themed notecards. Here they are in a little wallet I put together to send them in...

And here's a better look at each of them...

I also crocheted up some purple heart bunting using Lucy's Teeny Tiny Hearts pattern...

And here it is taped up to a door for photos (it was late and dark by this point so it's not a great photo - sorry!)

Finally I made a set of 5 x gift tags with scallop circles, heart buttons, washi tape and bakers twine...

And here they are in the packaging I put together for them...

So that's everything I made and here's how it looked all packaged up prettily...

I managed to find some chocolate hearts with purple packaging so added those in along with a note and one of my Moo cards...

I had so much fun putting this parcel together and it's great to hear that Proby likes everything in it. And I can't wait until the postie brings the return parcel :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Creative Space: Party bags for 2 year olds

We are coming up to Mr Mischief's 2nd birthday in August (I'll leave my wonderment over how quickly 2 years has passed for another day!) and this coming weekend we have a joint coffee group 2nd birthday party (for our antenatal class) as it's in the middle of all the toddler birthdays.

I'm on party bag duty again - totally by choice - I LOVE party bags and working out what to put in them.
I've been planning them for an embarrassingly long time and collected bits and pieces over the last month or so. Over the weekend I got the bags decorated and we put each of the items in each bag ready for the big day.

I found some fluorescent coloured paper bags at the Warehouse. They were 10 for $3.50 which I thought was reasonable (except I needed 11 so had to buy 2 packs but I am sure I will be able to use the other 9 for something!) I didn't want to use plastic as I thought paper was a little more classy plus removes the suffocation risk. 

The bags seemed a little plain so I wanted to add something to make them a little bit special. I punched out 11 silver circles and then 11 scallop circles in co-ordinating (with the bag) colours. I had some paper cut-out 2's so used those atop each silver circle and scallop circle to make a little embellishment for each bag. I stuck it all together and onto the bag with a gluestick.

For each bag I added:
  • a mini playdoh (which is suitable for 2 years and up). I got a set of 15 for $9.99 at the supermarket
  • a plastic cookie cutter (these were SO hard to find at a reasonable price, I tried heaps of places and in the end found sets of 8 at Toy World for $4.99)
  • a balloon
  • a Freddo chocolate bar
  • a lollipop
  • some stickers (I bought a book of them for a couple of dollars at Uncle Bills and cut them up - they are party/birthday themed)

So each bag has worked out to cost less than $3 to make up (that's not counting money for the leftover items as I am sure I will be able to use them for something else). Pretty good huh?

I've opened it up to the other parents as well in case they want to add something. One of the mum's is going to buy some little bags of chippies to add and I think another mum is going to get something too.

Here's one of the bags with all the items that it has inside. I hope the toddlers like them!

You can see ideas for 1st birthday party bags (and decorations) here and how last year's party turned out here.

Linking up with My Creative Space.

Monday, July 9, 2012

How I make monthly documenting work for me

(Wow, this has become quite a mammoth post - hope you find it useful if you are keen on scrapbooking/documenting your life on a regular basis! And if you have any other tips or advice to share or any questions feel free to leave a comment on this post!)

I've been documenting our life in scrapbook albums on a monthly basis throughout 2011 and now into 2012.
I admit to being slightly jealous of the Project Life layouts that are regularly shared online and people that manage to document their lives in such detail on a weekly basis but at the moment I just don't have the time to do this.

The original idea for "Document:Year" came from Shimelle in 2010 (here's a link to the information about it on UK Scrappers). I was suffering morning sickness, extreme tiredness and lack of creativity at the time so didn't join in back then but once baby was past the newborn stage and we got to the start of a new year (2011) I decided to give it a go.
I love this way of getting our lives down on paper ready to look back on in the future. I often sit down and flick through last years album or even the pages I have made so far for this year. Mr Mischief is taking an interest in pointing at the pictures within the albums too. We talk about the pictures which is always fun. It's also great for the grandparents and other family and friends to flick through when they visit to see what we've been up to!
I recently found myself wanting to share my process in one of the monthly page sharing posts but decided to write a specific post about what works for me. I hope you might find something useful within what I've written :-)


The way I manage to keep going with this project even when I am running late is by keeping a notes file on my phone during the month. I already have a "Document July" notes file set up this month and every few days/each week add notes of what we've been doing, what Mr Mischief is enjoying, doing and saying etc. 
At the end of the month I make any additional notes of what's been happening over the course of the month and keep the file saved on my phone. (I also have the option to email it to myself if I want).
The other way of keeping track is through the photos I've taken. I'm pretty good at taking at least a couple of photos each day so this is always a good record of what's happened when. Also jotting down appointments and things we are doing in my diary/on the calendar helps too.
I also try and keep any memorabilia as the month goes by. It used to get put in a clear plastic bag with the month marked on it but I seem to be less organised currently so ends up as a pile on my craft desk. This could be things like movie tickets or tickets for a trip somewhere, cards, notes that come with parcels, interesting stamps from mail we receive and other interesting stuff!

And here's an example of my rather muddled Document: June notes - it probably doesn't make much sense to anyone but me but really serves as a memory-jogger:

Document June notes:
Mr Mischief says cake, loves cake
Loves playing with popup toaster and saying toast. Pretends to eat and butter toast
Loves to help bake, puts sprinkled on, helps mix things together
Loves his new Thomas Wellies. Can get them on himself and wants to go "out"
Loves going in the garden swing and says "weee" when you push him
Queens birthday long weekend and jubilee. House decorated, watched flotilla and concert.
Busy making. A baby hat for Kelly (who paid $20!) and for the handmade heart swap
Citizenship ceremony 21st and party 24th.
G bday
50 shades
Mr Mischief eating dinner in high chair up table. Trying lots of foods.

Once the month is passed I make sure all the photos from my phone and camera are saved in my Photo folder for that month. 
(NOTE: I usually update my photo files at least once a week and often more if I am taking lots of photos. And I don't delete them from my SD card or phone until we have also run a back-up onto our external hard drive. So I always try to make sure I have our photos in 2 places at once). 
I then work my way through the photos and select the ones I want to use for the month. Once I have them all in their own folder I can see how many I have and work out what I want to use where within the 4 pages. If I've picked multiple photos from one event that will likely become my feature page. I usually pick heaps of Mr Mischief so some of these become the pictures for his very own page with a focus on what he's been up to that month.

I tend to draw out a plan like below to work out what's going to fit where...

It might be a bit tricky to see it but I basically draw diagrams of the space I have available (so 2 lots of 9 pocket pages and 2 12x12 pages) then label what will fit where. This doesn't always end up being the final version as once I have the photos printed I sometimes change my mind but it does help me work out if I have enough photos/topics to fill all the space and also to try and get some balance.

If photos have enough blank space for journalling I like to print them as 4x4 if they are instagram (most photo printing booths have a "Do not crop" button so the 4x4 prints on a 6x4 with white space each side) or 6x4 and trim them down to fit in the pockets.
If the photos are very busy I use PhotoSheet to make a mosaic of smaller images to print and trim down. I then back these photos onto paper for my journalling.

I decided in January this year to feature my photo-a-day mosaics which take up 2 of the 18 4x4 pockets I have available each month. Some of the tiny images end up being repeated larger when that photo gets it's own pocket but I still like to use the mosaics as a repeating feature each month as it helps summarise what happened during the course of the month.

  • This year I have been using a couple of products that help differentiate between the months in my album. Each month I use one of the 4x6 Monthly journal sections from Simple Stories Life Documented papers (each one has the month's name on it with a space for journalling). I also purchased a set of Ormolu flair buttons and use each monthly one somewhere on my pages - usually on the mosaic somewhere (and I've recently misplaced the October button so REALLY hoping it shows up somewhere before October!). Next year I might try and make my own monthly journal cards and titles but we'll see :-)
  • There have been several times when I have printed photos and then decided not to use them. I remember printing a photo of my Stickygram magnets when they arrived but then I found the packaging that came with them and decided to use that instead. In the end I cut up the tiny images on the photo and used them elsewhere for other projects. I suppose my advice here is don't be afraid to print photos and not use them all in your monthly pages.
  • At this time I am not doing much (if any) additional scrapbooking so I am not finding double ups between my monthly pages and what I want to scrap for Mr Mischief's album. Unless I am suddenly handed more hours in the day I probably won't have time to do scrapbooking independently of my document 2012 album so it suits me to capture everything in this album. Even if I was scrapbooking separate pages I think it would still be worth featuring the events/photos in this album too as they are independent albums and may end up in different places much further down the track!
  • These albums have been a great place to keep some memorabilia as well. For our UK trip most of the tickets, receipts etc went into my travel journal as we were going but in normal day to day life I don't have many places to store memorabilia other than in boxes so I like to feature some on my monthly layouts. For example - in May I used my Mothers Day card and the card that came with my bouquet of flowers directly on the page. It's great to have these kept somewhere safe that I can look back on in the future!
  • And that's all I can think of right now but will add anything else I think of later!
You can see all of my Document 2011 album here and all the pages so far for my Document 2012 album here.

I'm certainly not an expert on scrapbooking or documenting life but hopefully some of these tips might help other people keen to give it a go. And why not go visit Ali Edwards, Becky Higgins Project Life and Elise Blaha who are very inspiring and manage to document life much more frequently than I do!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Scrapbooking: Document 2012: May

Well after all that talk last month of being nearly up to date I didn't get around to making my May pages for my Document 2012 scrapbook album until the end of June/early July! This month I will attempt to get my June pages made sooner!
I'm also going to be running out of the 9 4x4 pocket pages soon (I got a set of 10 at the start of the year) so need to work out where to get some more from. I couldn't find any in New Zealand last time I looked so ordered them from a UK store and got my Mum to post them to me! If you know where I might find them please let me know :-)

Here's how my May pages turned out...

1st pocket page: my usual monthly mosaic across 2 pockets, some craft fair purchases, my mothers-day-present-to-myself hycainths, a wintery looking photo, boys baking, a RAK I gave to someone, my new role as Editor for Parents Centre PN and Whittakers Peanut Butter block.

Mr Mischief's page for the month sharing what he was doing, saying and loving in May.

My feature page for the month was all about Mothers Day and I included the card I got and also the card that came with the flowers my Mum sent me.

2nd pocket page: crochet baby hat and talk of a baby shower I attended, more crochet baby hats, an Autumn rainbow, the dog who doesn't get featured much poor thing, Mr Mischief eating his dinner up the table, first fluffy, my rainbow ripple and it's reveal, Mr Mischief and a friend playing, Mr Mischiefs face painted as a Cheetah!

There's not much scrapbook technique and skill going into these pages but that's okay. My focus at the moment is to use my photos and write words so that in a few years time we can look back at these pages and get a snapshot of our lives now.

I'm still enjoying this project and hope to continue until the end of the year at least.

I'm also in the process of trying to put together a post on how monthly documenting works for me in case it would be helpful for anyone who wants to give it a go. Hopefully that will be posted next week.

You can see all of my Document 2012 pages here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Kiwiana Themed Afternoon Tea

To celebrate becoming NZ citizens we decided to hold a Kiwiana themed, family friendly afternoon tea. It was lots of fun.

Mr Mischief was on decorating committee - we had black balloons and NZ flags practically everywhere the eye could see!

We made fairy bread...

And had pineapple lumps, jet planes, jaffas, cheezels, twisties (all healthy food huh? I promise there was some carrot and celery with hummus!) with black napkins...

There were cheezels and we asked everyone to bring a plate. A lady that G works with brought these awesome hedgehogs with pineapple, cheese and pickled onions on cocktail sticks stuck into half an orange!

We even kiwi-fied the Keep Calm and Carry On art with some black balloons and a cut-out kiwi shape...

We dressed up for the occasion - hubby in his All Blacks top and me in black with a Silver Fern pin (interesting fact about the pin - hubby wore it on his kilt at our wedding as his kilt pin as a nod to our NZ wedding!)

And it wouldn't be a Kiwi party without pavlova. This was a kiwifruit pav. We forgot all about it in the fridge though and only remembered when everyone had gone home - ooops!

We had the Great NZ Songbook playing in the background and the food people brought was great - we had mince pies, kiwi fruits, chocolate fudge, crispy cakes, chips and dip, mallow puffs and a trillion pineapple lumps!
It was a fantastic way to celebrate our new Kiwi status!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Photo a day :: June

Half the year gone in what feels like the blink of an eye! Craziness. Maybe I should set myself some mid year resolutions :-)
I'm pleased I've managed to stick with the photo a day project since mid January when I got my phone. It's a great record of what we've been up to - big and small - in 2012. Here's how my June mosaics look...

You can see all of my photo a day posts here.


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