Again! From the Bottom!

Reblogging because I found this a really interesting, well written account of a black man’s life in America, and why he needs to write and blog.

El Paso P.O.V.

Not too long ago, I suddenly stopped blogging (save your applause I’m not finished) after having hit another bottom in my life. A life still in recovery from the devastating effects of past legal troubles and a sudden but reluctant return to the ranks of El Paso’s unemployed which is code for getting pink-slipped, canned, axed, getting the boot.

I called it a permanent vacation but not in the suicidal sense because I have too much to live for–mainly for paying off my IRS and student loan debt. Making my odds as a black man still trying to find a place (preferably a lucrative one) in this southwest border town–an American city dominated by Mexican culture and delicious Mexican food that I’m pretty sure is solely responsible for El Paso’s obesity problem–seem far-fetched.

Besides, I don’t know what made me think my blog posts would go viral. My posts were…

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Christmas Baubles

I save cards that are sent to me by friends and family. I decided to make baubles out of some of them instead of leaving them sitting in my cupboard. I then return the bauble to the person who sent me the card – I figure they only buy or make what they like themselves, so I’m pretty sure they will like the baubles too. Last years baubles were well received. I love to recycle and re-purpose things.

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Hope you like them and are inspired to give them a try yourself.  I buy the bauble blanks which come in two halves with a hanging hook from an ebay store, you can click the link here  to see which sizes are on offer.  I buy the 10cm ones.

Happy Crafting Everyone.


It’s been a turbulent few weeks

And though I’ve been reading and commenting on blogs, I realise I haven’t written one for a while.

Melbourne has been experiencing some fairly heavy rain in the past week or so (thankfully it seems to have eased now).  We have sustained some damage, related to, but not caused by rain.  Our carport roof is fitted with plasterboard like a normal indoor ceiling – (I’m not sure this is good building practice but that’s the way it is round here). Last Friday, half of the carport roof collapsed (mid rainstorm), onto our cars, damaging the bonnets of both and leaving a large gaping hole in the carport (it would now make a perfect pigeon loft).

carport roof collapsed

Damage to both cars is fairly minimal in that they are both drivable, but they are no longer pristine as they were.  Insurance claims have been filed with us being told we won’t be covered for the damage to the carport roof as it is general wear and tear! There was no water in the roof.

roof on cars

So that is one thing, and the aftermath of having cars repaired and getting quotes for repairs to carport are underway.

Hospital visits and an unsuspected surgery for my better half have taken up the rest of the weeks events.  I am pleased to say that he is feeling a lot more chipper and results are good.

I love that line in the John Lennon song, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” or words to that effect.  Never a truer word was spoken.

There has been no decorating for Christmas or Christmas Shopping apart from online stuff.  Thankfully Christmas cards have been made and sent.  Hopefully, we will now be able to get back on the horse and begin ‘tentatively’ planning our way through the Christmas season.

Dinner out this evening with friends is a good start.

Bless this Day.



What to do when your dies are all joined together

Hi All,

I have recently bought some stamp sets with matching dies which have arrived with all the dies linked together.  Some of the pieces are tiny and I didn’t want to have them all rattling around in the storage bag so I thought I would show you how I use them without separating them.

This is how they arrive when you purchase them. You will note that there is a small metal link keeping the dies together.  You will also notice that the top two dies also have a tiny heart and a butterfly, now these do have to be removed otherwise when you cut out the flamingo stamps that match these dies, you would have a cut out in the middle of them.  I removed these tiny pieces and left the rest of the dies joined together. Hope that is clear!

Flamingo stamps and dies

Place the dies onto your MISTI if you have one, and lay the stamps into their corresponding die space as shown below.  Note: This photo is taken after the dies were picked up on the door of the MISTI, remove the dies and your stamps are all in position, ready to be inked.


If you don’t have a MISTI an acrylic block that is large enough to fit across all of the stamps will do the same job.

flam 5Place your stamping paper into the MISTI.

Ink up the stamps – you will now be able to stamp all of your images in one go.  I coloured my stamps at this stage while they were still all on the same page.

Flam 6

Once you have finished colouring take your images to the die cutting machine, lay the dies over the top of the images and run through.

Flam 7

All your images cut in one go (you can save those that you don’t want to use right away. And your dies are stored safely and will not easily become lost.

A quick and easy card made with this cute set of stamps and dies.



I hope you can follow these instructions and that they are useful to you, there is nothing more frustrating that loads of tiny pieces that can easily become misplaced.

Happy Stamping (and die cutting)






Angel Wings – Wall Hanging


I have a little obsession going on with wings at the moment.

After scouring the internet for a while I found a free template to make paper wings.  If you would like to try making some yourself here is the link Angel Wings

This frame was laying idle in my craft room, the glass had been broken some time ago, so I removed the back board and lined it with some thin batting, then covered the batting with hession.

It was a bit of a conundrum as to how I would attach the wings once they were made. The fiishes wings are approximately 6″ long and 2 1/2″ wide.   The solution was to add some strips of thick card to the back, which I built up to give a three dimensional effect. I added some metal elements from my stash (hearts always seem to go hand in hand with wings), this filigree heart was a junk shop find – part of a very unattractive necklace.

I wasn’t sure whether I had finished at this stage so I added some metal corners to the hession but I can’t decide whether they are required or not. What do you think?

Angel Wings

It’s Melbourne Cup Day tomorrow – AKA “the race that stops a nations”.  A public holiday for a horse race, I don’t know!  I’m not a fan of sports which include animals, so I won’t be placing a bet or watching the race.  Whatever you are doing, I hope you have a lovely day. May it also include some crafting time.


Christmas Cards

Three Robin Christmas cards

The cute robins are from a stamp set from Clearly Besotted, they come with matching dies which always makes things easier for those who do not enjoy fussy cutting.  I have added a list of products used at the end of this post.

The two smaller cards are just 4″ square. One is on a Kraft card base, the other is white patterned cardstock which I reinforced inside to make it a little more robust.

Two Robins Xmas card

The pretty background paper is from Stampin’ UP!  I coloured the robins with Polychromo colouring pencils (I am not the best at colouring).  The tiny Santa hat comes with the stamp set as does the tree stump.  I handcut the frame from a piece of gessoed canvas and the leaves are cut from a Memory Box Christmas tree die.  A few silver micro beads to represent the ground and a small greeting from Penny Black’s Snippets Stamp Set finish this card.

One robin card

The Branch Die from Memory Box was cut from glitter paper with leaves from the Memory Box Christmas Tree die.  Again I handcut a tiny frame from canvas and placed my robin in front of it.  A few sequins, a tiny greeting, and voila!

White card Christmas Tree

This card is 3 3/4′ x 7 3/4″  I cut two Memory Box dies from the Elyse Christmas Tree, one from silver cardstock and one in white.  I glued them together slightly off centre of each other so that a glimpse of the silver can be seen behind the white. Another handcut canvas frame and a tiny sentiment from Penny Black completes this card.

List of products used:

  • White Background Paper Stampin’ UP!
  • Kraft A4 Cardstock
  • Memory Box Dies: Elyse Christmas Tree and Woodland Branch
  • Stamp Sets:  Clearly Besotted “Red Robin” and Matching Dies
  • Penny Black “Snippets” greetings stamps

How are you going with your Christmas cards this year?   Do you send cards at all?  If it wasn’t for running my card making classes I would probably not have started mine yet.  I tend not to make multiples of the same card, but make individual cards as the mood or inspiration strikes. I do enjoy making Christmas cards but find myself steering clear more and more of the snowy scenes. Being mid summer in Australia when Christmas comes, it seems a little pointless, although I do really love the look of them.  I do send cards overseas to family, so I can indulge in the winter scenes with those.

I wish you all a lovely weekend whatever you are doing.  Have fun.

Happy Crafting All.