A Weekend of Painting and Bonding with Fabulous Women

Several months ago I booked myself into a painting retreat weekend to coincide with my birthday.  The venue was quite close to where I live so travelling to and fro’ each day Friday, Saturday and Sunday for full days of painting was easy.

Now I am no painter, in fact this is my first real foray into the art, so I booked in with some trepidation.  Two others had also booked the weekend, one with some experience and one, like me, without.  So I felt pretty comfortable.  Each morning started with a cup of your choice of tea and a general chat. We then had a morning meditation led by our tutor Shani.  This meditation brought forth all sorts of feelings for us all. Tears were shed, and feelings shared and a process of bonding with the other participants, which I hadn’t really expected, took place.  It set us up beautifully for the day ahead.

We set about learning Shani’s process for painting our “hero” painting.  Once started I couldn’t believe that I would be leaving with a completed canvas on Sunday.  The canvasses were 1 metre square, so somewhat daunting.

We enjoyed home cooked lunches and wine on the verandah (weather permitting) set high in beautiful Wonga Park/Warrandyte. Florence the standard poodle kept us company for the whole weekend too. (Florence told me she had had seventeen puppies in her younger days).  A few noisy magpies chortled away outside and stared at us through the windows whilst stealing sharing the cats food.

Back to the painting though.  It was hard work, much harder than I had anticipated. We worked through until 5pm each of the three days, and then stopped for another cuppa and a chat.  I can’t tell you how special the time was.  Four fabulous women being open and honest, sharing a wonderful experience together and supporting each other through the process. It is an experience that will stay with me for a long time to come.


Shani Geri Susan Barbara workshop


That’s me at the back, Florence at the front, Shani in the middle and the other lovely participants enjoying a glass of bubbles at the end of the weekend.

Here is my finished work. It’s not perfect by any means, however, I feel comfortable hanging it in my home and proud of my accomplishment.

Painting 5 (1)

So if there is something that you would like to try, my message to you is, find a way and go for it.  It’s very liberating.

Note to self:  Suggest a smaller signature and less conspicuous next time.  Doh! 


Happy Crafting




How do you approach your card making and what are your favourite tools to use

 For all my Crafty Card Making Friends and Fellow Bloggers

a short questionnaire and GIVEAWAY


Hi All,

I was recently  asked to assess a pack of pretty card making paper and to come up with a few designs using said papers.  Now I can pretty much create a card from anything, but this paper is pretty specific and once I started, I realised that for some people the task could be quite difficult. Further into the assignment I realised it was going to be quite difficult for me too.

It set me to wondering what is that essential element that I need to create a card.  I love co-ordinating products.  I love sturdy card bases, can’t be doing with flopsy mopsy cardstock. I also require a really crisp cutting guillotine or paper trimmer.  Stamps have become an essential element for me too, and if co-ordinating dies are available, I know I can create something really stunning.

Techniques available to cardmakers are varied and many.  I like to ink sponge the edges of my embellished or stamped piece before matting.  A modicum of fussy cutting doesn’t go astray if dies are not available. Matting is used to enhance colours in the design and inks I choose to work with. Greetings are important, sometimes I put the greeting inside the card sometimes on the front of the card.

Class samples 6.3.14  & Explosion box 001

Depending on the style of card I make – I may also create a one layer card sometimes allowing the design to speak for itself. The card below is simply a piece of pretty designer paper mounted straight onto the card front and embellished with a greeting, some diamontès and a 1/8″ ribbon bow.

Easter Card for Dad

When it comes to embellishment, I reach for diamontès, glitter paper, small sequins 3, 4 or 5mm, sometimes a glossing agent such as Glossy Accents, thin ribbons (my preference is something no wider  than 3/8″).  I also like to use Versamark and embossing powders with a heat tool.


Colouring is also high on my list for making my designs really come to life. My watercolouring skills are something I want to improve, but since a card is quite a small canvas, I can manage to create something pretty with the skills I currently have. No masterpieces yet, but I do enjoy it.  I also use copic markers and coloured pencils both watercolour and otherwise.

Ribbon on duct tape binding album K's card 004

I wonder if you would spare a few minutes of your time to answer some questions. I am trying to get a better understanding of what the quintessential card maker requires for his/her crafting needs especially card makers.   N.B.  Comments close on July 7th.

  1. Apart from the obvious things like cardstock and pretty designer papers, what are your top 5 that you couldn’t do without in your card making process?
  2. Are your cards generally one layer or do you prefer to add many layers and lots of embellishment?
  3. Do you use stamps, how important are they to your cards?
  4. Do you use Dies, how important are they to your cards?
  5. Do you use a die cutting machine?
  6. What is your favourite embellishment, the thing you always reach for?
  7. Glue or double sided tape? What is your preference?
  8. Do you fussy cut elements from other papers to make layers for your cards or to embellish them?
  9. What size cards do you usually make, do you make your own envelopes or buy them in packs with scored cards all ready to go?
  10. What type of inks do you prefer to use? Why are they your favourites?

Anyone who takes the time to answer my questionnaire will go in a draw to win a selection of beautiful 6″ x 6″ designer papers and cardstock scored and ready to make beautiful cards.

I thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions.  I know that the card making field is mega huge and we all have different ideas, budgets and requirements.

Happy Crafting


Tiny decorated/altered box

I recently purchased a pair of earrings and they arrived in this really cute box.

The box had a magnetic closure hidden in the lid and I didn’t want to change that.  box. I first covered the box in green cardstock, then I overlaid that with some Pion papers. I chose Pion because it has a tiny design which suited the dimensions of the box.

I added some die cuts to the sides of the box and decided to make it look like a garden with gates and flowers.  The dies I have used were purchased recently from an ebay shop for a few dollars each.  I was a little sceptical about them but for a few dollars I had nothing to lose.  I have been so pleased with the dozen or so dies I have purchased. I will leave a link at the bottom of this post if you are interested in having a look for yourself.

Some photo’s of the box after decorating with die cuts and ribbon flowers. Metal corner filigree element and sequins.  The earrings turned out to be a little too long for me. I’m like a child who enjoys the wrapping more than the contents.


Thanks for visiting my website.



Here is the site on ebay where I purchased some of my dies at really reasonable prices.
or simply look up metal die cutting and a whole bunch of sellers will come up



Album Using Wire Binding System

This album has been created with the latest paper collection from the Meg’s Garden Range. The collection is called “Lavende.”


I have long coveted the Cinch Binding Machine by We r memory keepers and was lucky enough to be offered the loan of one recently.  This is my very first album using this binding system and I have learned that you can’t be frugal with the binding wire size.  I thought a 1 1/4″ binding wire would be sufficient for my needs but I really could have gone with a larger size. I didn’t realise this until I started to embellish my album. So I have learned a lot.


The Front cover of this album is embellished with papers from the  Lavende collection, I fashioned the scrolls from seperate sheets of the paper and adhered them to the first layer. The papers in the Lavende collection come in various sizes, I chose the book papers to make my album. These come on an 8″ x 11″ sheet and each sheet contains two book pages measuring 5″ x 7″.  So that is the size that I made my album. The front covers are made from 12″ x 12″ medium weight bookboard which I cut to size.

This album was so easy to decorate, using the cut apart sheets that come with the collection, once I had chosen the pages I would use.  All of the detail comes from the collection itself.  I used some La Blanche stamps (also available from Meg’s Garden) to add interest to the pages.

I made tiny pockets by fussy cutting some pieces, as in the bowl of lavender above. My lady in the hat sits nicely behind the flowerpot and doesn’t move when I turn the pages.  N.B. if you want to do this, always use a wet glue to adhere the pocket piece leaving room for your photo to slot in behind it. Double sided tape will not work in the same way and you will find things move about and fall out with that method.

I added some pages of varying sizes in vellum and window sheet  I also used some die cuts from my own stash .

Lavende 11

And I couldn’t leave out these gentlemen from the Gentleman’s Ephemera cut aparts. The clock is another of the La Blanche stamps.

Lavende 12


Above – A little bit French

Lavende 13

She likes to travel – suitcase and clock by La Blanche stamps.

She’s no wallflower.

Lavende 19

She’s very sweet.

Lavende front cover 24

I hope you enjoyed this look at my Lavende Album.  Do check out what is available at Meg’s Garden. You will not be disappointed with her range of papers and embellishments. Many of Meg’s paper collections are available as digital downloads saving on postage.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Welcome To June. Let’s Meet and Mingle. Party Time

Join Jacqueline’s party – meet some new bloggers.

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Welcome, Party Time

Hello lovely, welcome to June. It’s a blazing hot month over here – UAE – and I wonder how your ends doing?

I would like to thank all the recent follows to my blog. It’s a pleasure to connect and share this space with you. I host monthly blog parties where you get to network with other bloggers.

Do make yourself comfortable. Refreshments are nicely arranged down the page: Drinks, Chocolates, Cakes, Donuts, freshly squeezed juice, Coffee, Tea and so much more. :-)

The little party rules.

  • Be friendly. Mix and mingle with others. Don’t be a wallflower. Blog parties offer the opportunity to meet many other bloggers in one place. Use the opportunity effectively.
  •  Please leave your blog link or post link in the comment box below along with an introduction.
  • It’s one link per comment, but come back as often as you’d like, that way it’s easier for others…

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Put on your SPF!

Important message. Just because it is winter here in Australia remember to slip, slop slap.

Watching the Daisies


It is such a joy to spend time in the mighty outdoors after a long winter. However, I am re-posting “Put on your SPF” which originates from May 2016, as a reminder to use a sunscreen.

Yesterday, I drove around 30 miles, parked my car then climbed two long flights of stairs to a large waiting room. I felt quite anxious.  I was back for a six month review after having a 2 cm wide basal cell carcinoma removed from the bridge of my nose.

I did not want a recurrence.

I have always been respectful of the sun’s rays and applied a good SPF when needed; I now wear a hat for extra protection.

Two red spots had joined my fading scar for a couple of weeks then disappeared.  This morning I looked in the mirror and a new red mark had appeared!

Thankfully, the news was good.

“It is just scar tissue,” the efficient Dermatologist announced.

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This past week

Hi Everyone,

It’s been quite a week for me.  Busy busy, but still with some time to do what I love.

Last Sunday, at very short notice – let’s say none – I attended an Album Making Class at a craft supply shop nearby.  Honestly I hadn’t even seen the album, but I had heard that is was quite something, so off I went, keeping everyone else in the class waiting I thought. Luckily for me, crafty/arty people don’t seem to mind waiting for a fellow crafter to arrive, and I was greeted with smiles and cheerful hello’s.

As promised this album was quite special. I would describe it as a “Pocket Album”.  The binding style is one I have used before, but with a twist.   I’m still working on it, but here is the finished cover design which is my own and not the same as the class project.

Botanicals album front


Papers used are from Graphic 45 Botanicals collection.  I finished my album slightly differently from the class project.  The class spine was finished with three ‘quarter inch’ pieces of ribbon in green and red.  As I had used a lot of black on my album front I changed this to some black cord that I had on hand.

As you can see from the photographs this is a very colourful album, the papers are quite exquisite and need no further embellishment.  However there are sixteen pockets to create tags for, so more work to be done.

I really enjoyed this class where everything was supplied.  If you’ve never taken a class at one of your local crafting places I really urge you to see what is on offer.

So carrying on my busy week, I decided to walk a marathon – yes I know, what madness is this?  Have no fear I shall not be attempting this feat all in one go.

Anyway, to get myself moving I have joined my local Dance Dynamics studio and so far have completed two exercise classes (loosely) incorporating dance moves. I am feeling the effects with some stiffness, but the classes were enjoyable. Things have changed at the gym in the last few years, classes are shorter with more breaks between sets, there were things I couldn’t attempt but always alternatives.  The accumulated kilometres/miles between the classes and my walks are to be added together until I have completed a marathon. Possibly the only way I will ever do so, but I like the idea. If you like the idea too, you can visit the post here

Well that was a lot for me this past week.  Enjoyed adding some more exercise to my week and playing with the Botanicals album.  I also made some birthday cards and did a little more work on an album for some friends who recently visited us here in Australia from UK.

I hope you all enjoy the coming week and please wish me luck keeping up the exercise momentum.


Thanks for stopping by today.