Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bula Bula from Fiji

Here's where I've spent some of my time over the last few days. Except it isn't quite this peaceful. Picture instead lots of kids jumping, splashing and thrashing about. I'm not having much luck uploading pictures from my USB stick to the hotel computer so am making do with the picture perfect travel brochure.

We've kept busy, holidays with kids aren't the same as "bc" are they? But I've sampled my first cocktail ever (Flirtini) and found another favourite (Splice of Life). I also tried the local drink, Kava, which left my tongue numb (briefly).

We visited a local Fijian village yesterday and the children were very friendly and happy to receive gifts of school supplies, books, balls and sweets from us tourists. We've also been horse-riding on the beach and this morning, some of us went para-sailing (I declined - someone needed to mind the young children - and, I went about 20 years ago in Bali, once really was enough for me). Tonight we are going to treat ourselves to a fire-dancing show.

One of the reasons for the trip was to attend a beach ceremony where our friends, Tiffany and Chris, re-affirmed their wedding vows made ten years ago to the day. Their four kids were present, with their two daughters, dressed up beautifully, as their attendants. The beach setting, with waves lapping at our feet certainly made for a very relaxed time.

I visited Fiji last when I was 10 years old and so, not surprisingly, many things have changed but the sincere friendliness of the Fijians remain. Anyway, I need to go and enquire about a ride in a glass bottom boat so the littlies can experience the underwater experience while their fathers go diving. Must squeeze in my massage as well...the days go fast. I knew I should have booked us in for longer ;)

Hope to be back with some cards to show you if I can get my USB or email to work!

Love from Crafty Kim

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fiji on my mind


Just a quick note to let you know I am going to Fiji for a week. Leaving my beloved Beagle dogs and paper-craft behind for some fun in the sun with family and friends.

I don't know if I'll have access to the internet while I'm away so this might be it for a while. But please keep visiting as I'll be back with bells on next week if not before.

Have a great week (maybe get some Christmas cards done).

Love from Crafty Kim

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pink Ribbon Day 2009

Well it's a very significant day for me. This time six years ago, things were pretty ugly. Diagnosed with breast cancer, aged 34 years old, with a baby to care for. I think I cried to myself every day of 2003 after diagnosis on 27 February, I called it my shower therapy.

I am so very very happy to report that I am not just surviving, I'm thriving. As is my then baby, now 7 year old son. But I'm still in treatment and there are far too many doctors in my life (although I am grateful to them all). Breast cancer and its treatment is not a short journey.

I don't want this post to be sad though, I want to tell you about good things that have arisen from my breast cancer diagnosis. I found friends I never knew I had, and they will be my friends for life. There are many people who touched my life and I don't want to leave anyone out but today, one person in particular comes to mind. She shares my first name, I am KimT, she is KimM. She is also a breast cancer patient, diagnosed at a young age, with two daughters to raise. We met at a breast cancer support group in a treating hospital and have remained close ever since. I made the card above for her, I think I've used almost every piece of the Pretties Kit and it took me 2 hours of fussing to complete but I wanted it to be amongst my best work.

Diagnosis with a life threatening illness can be isolating. As much as family and friends want to help, they often can't relate to your turmoil. But KimM, she knows something of what it is like to be me. And her life, it continues to be a difficult path to tread too, hence the quote on the card:

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

But you know what else we share, we do craft together! She has taught me how to cross-stitch and I help her to learn paper-craft. I was so impressed when she won the third challenge from the Get Ready for Christmas Craft Day which was to use a non-Christmas stamp set to create a Christmas card. Here is her card:

This is a folding card which gives the images depth. It is called a stair-step-fold and you can learn how it is done here.

And I must not let the day pass without wishing my fellow patients, good health for the future. I am thinking of Louise Ryan in WA today, and her friend, Makeesha Byl who has done so much to raise awareness of and funds for the breast cancer cause. Thank you also to Beth Stewart and Jayne Mercer who held local Girls Night In functions to raise funds for breast cancer charities. And I know there are many more Stampin' Up! demonstrators who hosted "Pink" events. The parents at my son's school, Arden, held a morning tea fundraiser today as well. I really appreciate your efforts.

Before I sign off, can I please urge all women to self-examine their breasts on a regular basis? And if you find something of concern, make sure you get it checked out by mammogram AND ultrasound. Don't think you're overreacting and never let a doctor dismiss your concerns. I wish I had a dollar for every young woman who told me she found a lump but she didn't think it would be cancer or who told me their doctor didn't act straight-away. I'd have a sizeable collection of coins and there'd be more breast cancer survivors around today too. Plus your worst fears are unlikely to be realised. The survival rates from breast cancer are much improved according to new data reported in The Australian newspaper today (if you're interested to read, I was interviewed and photographed with my family for this article).

I also want to quickly pay tribute to Denise, Val and Kathy, all of whom live on in my memory but who lost their lives to this disease. I am thinking of your families today too, especially your children.

To all who support Pink Ribbon Day in whatever form,

*** THANK YOU***

Love from Crafty Kim

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Check This Out

(Creation and photo courtesy of Fiona's Web Site)

Hello AGAIN,

I'm quite chuffed at posting two times in one day. I won't be able to keep it up for more than a few minutes more as kidlet and his Dad are due back from swimming lessons any time now but I wanted to quickly introduce you to a new website.

My friend Fiona, who I met just over a year ago at the Stitches and Craft Show in Rosehill, recently created a site to share her card creations. Fiona is not a Stampin' Up! demonstrator so there's no agenda to promote except her love of paper crafting.

You can visit Fiona's web site here. Fiona is one of the nicest ladies you could meet and her father is very ill at present so if you have time, why not pop over and leave her a comment? I'm sure she would appreciate it.

Love from Crafty Kim

Lay-Out Challenge from Christmas Craft Day

The second challenge I gave the participants at the Christmas Craft Day was to make a Christmas card or page using the following sketch as a lay-out:

Sketches are a great way to start a card or scrap page. If you're like me, you've got so much in your stash that you could use that it's almost overwhelming. A sketch narrows the range down, not that you can't take some liberty when you interpret the sketch. If you're keen to try a sketch, head over to MojoMonday - there are some "Mojolicious" cards to spy as well.

The card at the top of this post is my response to the lay-out challenge. I've made those flowers using the Scribble This stamp set. I originally got the idea from Margaret Crawford (thanks Margaret). They are really easy to make, please visit Michelle Dyson's web site for instructions. I've used some paper that I disliked when I first saw it in the catalogue. I think the Poinsettia side of the paper put me off Holiday Treasures but having had a play, I found the paper really versatile and the colours rich and warm. I'll be posting some more cards using it soon so if you're feeling inclined to stock up on some Christmas paper, I've got plenty of ideas for you.

Anyway, back to the Christmas Craft Day challenge...would you believe the winner of the Colour Challenge, Suzanne, also won the layout challenge with this card:

And no, it wasn't rigged. The voting was anonymous so Suzanne took away two prizes, and I'm sure felt very happy to have her work recognised by so many like-minded individuals. That's half the fun isn't it, sharing our craft creations with others who get it?

Well done Suzanne.

Love from Crafty Kim

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Little Reindeer


Here's one of the make-and-takes from our recent Get Ready for Christmas Craft Day.

It's a 6 x 6 inch photo board decorated with Ski Slope paper from the current Spring Mini Catalogue. Teamed with some stripey red grosgrain ribbon.

The photo is from my son's first Christmas. He was a February baby so he's about 10 months old in the picture. He's 7 years old now and more excited about Christmas than ever. How time flies.

I thought this project would make an ideal Christmas gift for grandparents or other relatives. It proved popular at the Christmas Craft Day. If you would like the instructions, please email me. It's quite adaptable, I've used the format previously as shown here. And if you want to update the photo, it's a simple as squeezing the clip and replacing it with the new happy snap.

Love from Crafty Kim

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Colour Challenge from Get Ready Christmas Craft Day

On Saturday 10 October, we hosted our second Get Ready For Christmas Craft Day at the Epping Creative Centre. We welcomed 41 guests for a day of crafting which included morning tea of scones with home-made jam; three craft demonstrations from Carolyn Gibbs, Clare Mcilhatton (fondly known as Crafty Cow), and myself; lunch; four make-and-takes, three challenges; lucky draw with super prizes and afternoon tea. Guests were treated to hand-decorated coffee mugs, a goodie bag, lollies and a large wall of inspiration containing many cards and scrap page samples. Somewhere in amongst that, we managed to raise funds for the breast cancer cause (more on this in a future post).

I want to acknowledge the contribution of my Mum, Robyne Staples, both ahead and on the day. Mum is always there when I need her. My downline, Carolyn Gibbs was also an invaluable extra mind and pair of hands. Without the help of these key people, the day would not have happened! Of course, thanks must also go to all of the participants who came along and had a blast, especially those who helped us set-up and pack-up...thank you Nicky Adamson, Karen Fowler, Paula Perna and Cathy Howe. Needless to say, we were all exhausted afterwards...

Now one of my tasks for the day was to set the challenges. The first was a colour challenge:

My response to this challenge is shown at the beginning of this post. We had a great response to the challenges set and I was impressed with all of the entries. However, the winner of this challenge (as determined by vote) was my friend, Suzanne Leverton with this card:

Congratulations to Suzanne who won a Simply Sent Kit which had been kindly donated by Stampin' Up!

There's so much more I could share from the day but I must sign off for now (promise to return with more).

For those who placed orders with me on the day, thanks again for these and deliveries will be made in the next few days.

Thanks for your interest.

Love from Crafty Kim

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Celebrate World Card-Making Month

Where has the month of October gone? It seems like only yesterday we were enjoying the L O N G weekend and yawning as we welcomed the start of daylight savings. Most of the month has gone and I haven't even mentioned that October is world card-making month or that Stampin' Up! is offering 20% off this stamp set, Starring You ($19.96):

and this one, Wow Flowers ($19.96):

when you purchase a Simply Sent card elements kit for $30.95. These kits contain everything you need to make at least 12 cards so they're a great introduction to card-making for beginners or an fast, easy option for established card-makers. A good gift idea too say for someone recovering from an illness or surgery. Here are a couple cards made with Flower Power Card Elements and Wow Flowers:

For more information, please click here or contact me.

Love from Crafty Kim

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cards for Beagle Rescue (Attention Animal Lovers)

A couple of months ago, I was asked if I would consider making Christmas cards to raise funds for an animal welfare group known as Beagle Rescue. You can learn more about this cause here.

My association with this organisation has been as a foster carer for Beagle dogs in need of a new home. These dogs are generally rescued from death row at council pounds or other animal welfare facilities. I've fostered several dogs and it is very satisfying to see them find their forever homes in happy and safe places, especially the older dogs like Ellie who had a mammary tumour when we took her into care. It made for some very interesting times like when I cared for a 4 month old puppy so thin that he could walk right through my fencing. I still help Beagle Rescue when I can, however, I'm no longer fostering dogs. But I kept a souvenir:

Pictured with my son Ashley and his cousin Ciaran, this is our adopted (versus fostered) tan-and-white boy Beagle, Toby, or as he is frequently referred to, NORTY DOG. I did try to re-home him to a lovely couple with a very pretty girl Beagle but he busted out and tried to come back to me so he was obviously meant to be part of our family.

Sadly, there are too many people out there who don't consider the responsibilities of pet ownership before taking the plunge and the casualties are the animals. So I set out to make some cards to help this organisation. It was quite a challenge since they asked for cards with a distinctly Beagle character. Alas, a too-busy life intervened and I didn't make anywhere near what I had hoped but here's what I have managed:

I've never been one to be able to make cards on mass so these took me some time to complete (I made a few of each design). And you know my motto, never-a-naked-envelope, so each card has a co-ordinating envelope. I had a "light-bulb moment" while stamping and decided to make use of a cute Beagle photo as the main image as an alternative to stamping. I'm happiest with the first card shown, with the blue background. I'm still struggling to like the Glorious Green card (shown last), but I think it's the colour, it's never been to my liking.

I'm hoping if I start earlier, I might be able to make more next year, perhaps with the help of some other animal-loving paper-crafters. As I've said many times before, you can never start your Christmas cards too early.

Thanks for your attention to yet another worthy cause. So many worthy things to fill the day with...

Love Crafty Kim

Join Stampin' Up! to Receive Extra Goodies & Help the Breast Cancer Cause

(Please click on the image to enlarge it)
If you've been thinking about joining Stampin' Up!, October is a great month to join Stampin' Up! for these reasons:
  • It's the start of a quarter, you don't have to meet your first sales quota until the end of March 2010.
  • Customers are purchasing for Christmas, so it's easy to make your quota, and in the New Year, there's the Sale-a-Bration promotion, which again helps you to generate sales.
  • The new Summer Mini Catalogue will be mailed directly to you this month, and you'll be able to pre-order in November.
  • The Sale-a-Bration Catalogue is mailed directly to you in November, and you'll be able to pre-order in December.
  • You'll be invited to attend the fantastic Stampin' Up! Convention in Sydney in April 2010.
  • Stampin' Up! has a program called Stampin' Start, and you can earn up to 15 free stamp sets in your first 6 months as a Demonstrator. Signing up in October gives you the best 6 months to take advantage of this program. Plus, you will earn extra free stamp sets during Sale-a bration.
This year it's an even better time to join because for every person who joins the Stampin' Up! family between 1 October and 31 December 2009, Stampin' Up! will donate $5 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. As you know, this is a cause I am passionate about, so I'm going to raise this donation to $50 for each person who joins my SU! team before the end of the year.

Plus, until 31 December 2009, you'll also receive a FREE pack of Raspberry Tart Designer Series paper and a Pretty in Pink Classic Stampin' Pad to help you get started!

This is on top of the already great value starter kit. There's nothing to lose, please telephone 0402 347 010 or email me for your no-obligation information pack about joining Stampin' Up!

Love from Crafty Kim